© File photo
An all-terrain vehicle makes its way along the side of the road in this 2010 file photo.
CORNER BROOK — The Deer Lake council and its partners are taking an educational approach to combating the longtime issue of ATV and snowmobile misuse in the town.
The western Newfoundland town is recognized as a snowmobile hub and wants to remain that way, according to Mayor Dean Ball. However, reckless and inappropriate use of these machines throughout neighbourhoods could jeopardize that.
Proposing additional laws or bans are the last thing the mayor and council want to see happen, so there is an effort afoot to educate the public in order to resolve the escalating problem.
Residents have been complaining about people driving quads, motor bikes and snowmobiles in areas they feel they should not. People in areas like Lakeside Drive and Main Street have reported being awakened at all hours of the night. Many have also cited close calls between riders and pedestrians.
Council called a private meeting Monday night, discussing the situation with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation representatives.
During the meeting it was determined education and awareness was the best approach at this time.
“We are a snowmobile- and ATV-friendly community, and if we keep abusing it we are going to have to take strong action on what we doing going forward,” Ball said.
Sometime in November, there will be a public town hall meeting to help inform youth, parents and everybody else of their responsibilities pertaining to all terrain vehicle and snowmobile use in and around the town.
Ball said it is not primarily a youth matter, recognizing there is misuse among adults too, but the younger riders have been identified as the primary culprits. Council also plans to work in conjunction with police and the snowmobile federation to do presentations in the schools.
Meanwhile, police will continue to enforce the appropriate laws, and people can still be charged, said the mayor.
“You will never fix it 100 per cent, but we are determined to get this down as a lot smaller issue than it is today,” Ball said. “We can’t tolerate it as it is.”
Details of the public meeting, which is hoped to be held at Elwood Regional High School, will