© Paul Hutchings
Deer Lake council will take part in a meeting to address the issue of ATV riders driving on Deer Lake streets. Residents have long complained about noises and disturbances in the town because of ATVs and motorbike riders making noises at all hours of the day and night.
DEER LAKE — Although the press has been invited, a meeting early next month about the continuing problem of all-terrain vehicle riders operating their vehicles at all hours of the day and night in Deer Lake is not open to the public.
Residents have been complaining for at least a year about people driving quads, motor bikes and snowmobiles in areas they feel should not permit such action. Residents in areas like Lakeside Drive and Main Street have complained about being awakened at all hours of the night by what one resident called “irresponsible ATV operation.” Many have also reported close calls between riders and pedestrians.
Council members said they have also heard of near misses between riders and vehicles on the highway and roadways in the town. The meeting is the result of discussions between council and the Deer Lake RCMP, who have been looking into the matter.
“It’s time we look into this, it’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed,” said Mayor Dean Ball during Monday’s public council meeting. “We can’t just have a (complaint) session, we need people involved who have some good ideas as to what can be done about this.”
The meeting’s date will depend on participants’ schedules, but it could be held sometime around Nov. 4. It will involve council members, local and federal police and members of local all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile groups, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation.
One councillor said with winter on the way, this could very well turn into a snowmobile issue, as there have been some snowmobile riders in the past riding on trails around the beach.
The Deer Lake RCMP had been keeping a close eye on the situation in the recent past, but told The Western Star last year that any riders on local trails are subject the jurisdiction of the town. Crossing highways and roads, however, does fall under the Highway Traffic Act and leaves riders subject to charges.
Residents on Lakeside Drive said as early as last summer the problem keeps getting worse, as they live around the trails where riders like to, in the residents’ words, “drive as fast as they can with no regard to anyone in nearby houses.”
Some seniors in the area also complained of being awakened at in the middle of the night.
Next month’s meeting could be the first of a series, according to council. Sgt. Terry Foster of the Deer Lake RCMP, said last week the Mounties would be looking into the situation.