Yukoners polled on ATV use

The legislative committee charged with investigating whether to curb the use of offroad vehicles wants to hear from you.

The legislative committee charged with investigating whether to curb the use of offroad vehicles wants to hear from you.

The committee started an online questionnaire to suss out where Yukoners stand on the simmering controversies of whether to restrict ATV and snowmobile use in sensitive wilderness areas, whether helmets should be required to use these vehicles, and more.

And it wants to know whether the committee ought to hold a public meeting in your community. It will only come if you ask.

“We think that Whitehorse will probably have one,” said Don Inverarity, Liberal MLA for Porter Creek South, who sits on the committee. “But whether we go to Beaver Creek depends on the interest.

“I personally, truly believe we should do a community tour. But we just don’t have time, with the late appointment of the Yukon Party member to the committee.”

Environment Minister John Edzerza was appointed to chair the committee in late May, six months after the committee was formed in November.

“All through the spring, we sat and waited,” said Inverarity. “We kept asking, when are you going to appoint somebody? Because these committees are driven by government.”

The committee must report back to the legislature by the end of the autumn sitting.

A similar committee is already planning public meetings on changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act. And late summer is usually when Premier Dennis Fentie launches his annual community tour. This makes it a particularly difficult time for government members to embark on a full tour, said Inverarity.

Pamphlets to inform residents about the survey are being mailed out across the Yukon.

The select committee was formed at the urging of the NDP’s Steve Cardiff, who has long campaigned for a mandatory helmet law for offroad vehicles. But it has since become swept up in a public debate between conservationists who worry that ATVs are quickly chewing up Yukon’s hinterland, and riders who bristle at proposed restrictions.

Two pressure groups formed this spring: the Trails Only Yukon Association, which is calling for restrictions on where ATVs may roam, and the Yukon Off-Road Riders Association, which is pushing back. Expect both groups to urge their members to vote online.

Requests for public meetings must be made by September 30. To make one, call the legislative assembly office at 867-667-5494 or toll-free: 1-800-661-0408 (ask for extension 5494).

Residents have until October 31 to complete the survey, which may be found online at www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/offroad_survey.html.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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