ATV group seeks Smiths Falls’ help in linking trails

Posted on: March 14, 2017

Chris Must

The Rideau Lakes ATV (RLATV) Club has asked for permission to use some Smiths Falls streets to help connect two ATV trails.

At a March 13 Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting, RLATV Club president and trail coordinator Rick Gilfillen made a pitch for town council to approve a land use agreement allowing ATVs to pass through Smiths Falls to connect the club’s 22-km trail system to the 296-km Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail (OVRT).

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The portion of the OVRT that is closest to Smiths Falls ends in Montague Township at Sturgess Road. “We would like to connect our trail system through Smiths Falls, allowing ATV riders to access local amenities and attractions,” said Gilfillen.

The club’s proposal would see the town pass a bylaw agreeing to let ATVs use about 1.5 km of town streets, including Ferrara Drive, Abbott Street, and William Street West. The proposed route would cross the Abbott Street bridge.

Councillors John Maloney and Lorraine Allen expressed concern that ATVs might impede traffic on the bridge.

“We probably will rely on a staff report to advise us about traffic patterns,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow.

Gilfillen said ATVs using the trails must be licensed and insured, and are allowed to travel no slower than 20 km less than posted speed limits.

Councillor Dawn Quinn said the prospect of having more people travelling through town could provide an economic boost. “I see this as a good thing,” she said.

Smiths Falls Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris commented that several trails converge on Smiths Falls, “so we think there’s a tremendous tourism opportunity there.”

The ATV club’s request will receive further discussion after town staff complete a report.

12 thoughts on “ATV group seeks Smiths Falls’ help in linking trails

    1. Joe

      Don’t be afraid of something new . It’s an amazing sport that allows families to explore Ontario at it finest .

  1. Ron W Ferguson

    I would welcome being allowed to use the limited streets in Smiths Falls to link the ATV trails.

    I would pass right by several Smiths Falls restaurants to bring them revenue

  2. ShaunW

    ATV tourism continues to grow. I currently travel away from the area to ride … spending money else where. Smiths Falls could certainly use the economic growth and most certainly should support the atv community as they have the snowmobile clubs. Very disappointing to hear Mayor Feniks comments in Perth. I have much respect for mayor Fenik however I feel that this comments are personal and do not necessarily reflect his constituents. ATV enthusiasts deserve within reason… reasonable access in all communities to enjoy amenities and connections to trails. I hope Smiths Falls makes the right decision setting a good example for our neighbours in Perth.

  3. Nelson

    The key is responsible use. If they’re licensed and incsured and following the rules then this is a win for ATVs to connect them to the trails as well as providing economic benefit to the town.

  4. Jeff

    I, among other recreational riders john clubs for just this reason. it’s great to go on a ride where you can start, end or just stop at a place where dining is available. tourism always will draw revenue, you bet. the town will need to survey other towns or districts where legal licensed atv!s are allowed passage.

  5. Tracy

    I ride an Enduro motorcycle so that I can link to trails. I do not see any issue with ATV’s driving a small stretch of road to access trails. I have a cottage in Elgin and I ride my own ATV on the road all the time in the areas allowed in the new bylaw. I am insured and ride responsibility. You will always get idiots – so deal with them like you deal with cars…law enforcement.

  6. Norm

    Absolutely yes!!! This is always good news for any municipalities. Take example of small villages on the Quebec side, in the summer they have a lot of tourists because of different attractions and campgrounds, racetracks, etc, and in the winter they have the same amount of tourists because of atv’s and snowmobiles. The economy is the same all year round.

  7. Mike Macgregor

    In support of atvs in town should be treated
    The same as any other vehicle that require
    Insurance and plates , we have trails for transportation
    For snowmobiles , boats ,train why not add
    Atvs , all your sightseeing ventures covered
    In one town ! How many towns can add to that
    This is an excellent for economy !
    These are not cheep vehicles and should be
    Respected as a legal vehicle ! No difference
    Then group of motor bikes entering town
    ( Bet there louder ) we allow ebikes and bicycles
    To ride with insured vehicles on insured highways
    which they are not covered ,
    But yet atvs need insurance but yet we are doubting
    Them ?

  8. Pingback: Town hears argument for recreational use of Ottawa Valley rail trail - Hometown News

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