Not in my town, says Perth mayor about ATVs

Posted on: March 14, 2017

Sally Smith

On crisp, blue winter days the lure of driving all-terrain vehicles along country roads, with wind and snow in your face is enticing. And on almost all of the roads in Lanark County, recreationalists can do this.

But not in Perth.

Perth doesnt allow it at all,says Councillor Jim Boldt, and this is something hed like to change. Under the current bylaw, you have to trailer your ATV outside the town limits before climbing on to drive.

Boldt wants staff to bring a recommendation to council to look at a peripheral network of roads on the outskirts of town allowing ATV drivers to go out their back door, hop on their vehicles, and go. Hes hoping this might morph into an even more relaxed position where ATVs would be allowed in the more central part of Perth as well.

ATVs and side-by-sides contribute billions to local economies,Boldt says, commenting on a recent Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council paper released in November 201. The paper reported that in 2015, Canadians spent $6.9 billion on activities directly involving ATVs and recreational off- highway vehicles (ROVs), also known as side-by-sides.

Boldt suggests, By loosening the rules a little, theres potential for financial spin-offs to the town.” This is as long as, he qualifies, drivers dont go off the possible agreed upon peripheral roads.

Most highways in Lanark County permit ATVs under the Highway Traffic Act, except Rideau Ferry Road (County Road 1) from Wild Life Road to Scotch Line Road in Perth, and Scotch Line Road (County Road 10) from Conlon Drive to Rideau Ferry Road in Perth. There are other exceptions in Carleton Place and Almonte.

Mayor John Fenik, on the other hand, doesnt want ATVs or snowmobiles transversing town streets. [The streets are] too narrow. It wouldnt work,” he says.The [staff] recommendation will be to look at external roads and how they hook up out of town, he confirmes.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, an off-road vehicle shall be driven on the shoulder of the highway in the same direction as the traffic using the same side of the highway (with some exceptions). Under the County of Lanark bylaw, there is a curfew in effect for ATV drivers from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week when driving on highways is not permitted. The local municipalities in Lanark County include Beckwith, Carleton Place, Drummond/North Elmsley, Lanark Highlands, Mississippi Mills, Montague, and Tay Valley as well as Perth in an area of 2,979 sq. km.

Eric Cosens, director of development and protective services, says in an email staff will be asked to prepare a report on the movement of ATVs between the surrounding Townships that may involve travelling through Perth.His understanding is this most likely involves vehicles travelling along Rideau Ferry Road or the Scotch Line Road and potentially accessing the Shell station for fuel. It may also involve similar connections along the Highway 7 corridor.  Since there needs to be a bylaw permitting ATVs to use town roads, the town may need to pass such a bylaw for those periphery road networks but [the town] will need to complete the technical investigation before the need for a By-law can be determined.

First published in March edition of Hometown News.

25 thoughts on “Not in my town, says Perth mayor about ATVs

  1. Pingback: ATV group seeks Smiths Falls’ help in linking trails - Hometown News

  2. Heather Burt

    Every time I try to vote “no way”, it splits it with “I sure do”. I do not think these vehicles should be on the town streets. As Mayor Fenik says they are too narrow and crowded with snow banks already.

  3. Jim Boldt

    As the councilor who has spearheaded this request for a staff report on the peripheral road usage by ATV’s in the Town of Perth I would like to reiterate that I do not support the use of these vehicles any where else than the designated roads. To suggest that if passed this would morph into usage in the central part of town is not what I would envisage or hope for. Another article written recently suggested that I support the same rules for snowmobiles. I do not support the snowmobiles using the same roads as I feel they are more difficult to control and harder to see and as such I feel they would be a hazard to other motorists. I look forward to the staff report and hope that my proposal will be looked at from a common sense approach by whom ever prepares it.

    1. Rick Gillis


      I completely agree with your opinion. The 5 minute drive to the trailhead from home is a nuance. I spend alot of money in Sharbot Lake because the trail is right there. Every ride we spend money on food and fuel, if Perth was made a start point or destination on the trail network the money would be spent here. The natural beauty (specially in the fall) is something I’d recommend to everyone. This was my first year on the trails and I didn’t know the beauty that exists in our own backyards.

  4. Sue Doran

    Perhaps the mayor of OUR town should recall his “idea” to raise Craig Street bridge, to the tune of MILLIONS of dollars, to allow A FEW large boats to travel to the Tay Basin by Crystal Palace, in order to boost the economy! Surely allowing a few roads on the outskirts of OUR town, to be accessed by ATVs to get from Trail A to Trail B, would do no harm to anyone, & cost next to nothing! There are HUNDREDS of responsible ATV riders, who not only enjoy the great outdoors but would boost the economy of OUR town by travelling the amazing network of trails that surround OUR town of Perth!

  5. Sue Doran

    I agree with Councillor Boldt. If a few external roads were linked up to the existing trails, it would certainly boost the economy of Perth. The proposed bylaws are not asking for ATV’s zipping up & down all the streets in town, but rather A FEW streets on the outskirts, for the sole purpose of getting from Trail A to Trail B. Anyone driving an ATV should have a valid license, be plated & insured, & should be required to follow the rules of the road, just as drivers of other vehicles do. If they abuse those rules, then they should be charged, just as they are when driving other types of vehicles. We mustn’t let a few “spoiled apples” spoil it for the responsible, law-abiding drivers. It’s a great outdoor activity enjoyed by many!

  6. Germaine Chamberlain

    My personal opinion is that they should be allowed, a lot of people use these machines and I agree that they should be allowed, Madoc allows it, Perth should follow suit !

  7. Jamie

    The Perth mayor needs to stop and think of businesses before himself. This town needs the business, oh wait he refuses to let loblaws build on property they bought with promises and then the mayor refuses to honor his promises because of a few business owners.

  8. Mike

    All who oppose the use of atvs and snowmobiles dont and have probably never owned one. This is always the same story. We live in a free country folks. Let us enjoy the time we have on earth. People need to relax and let others live their own lives. If people want to ride their expensive investments on the streets then let them. I dont see any issues with tractors that drive around town with NO license plates or insurance….at least atvs contribute to the MTO.

  9. Mike

    I love how peoples concern is how narrow the streets are. Well if everyone drove the speed limit in town instead of drivng like maniacs then sharing the streets with ATV ( all terrain vehicle) which mean ALL terrain as in grass, soil, pavement…etc……is not an issue.
    I lived in Northern Ontario and it was common to see atvs riding the streets. I always through how facinating it was to be able to enjoy such a leisure. There was hardly any problems in fact very little. Atv drivers are more cautious like motorcycle riders against the standard daily vehicle. We have no phones or distracted opportunities in our hands. We are safer and more importantly more observant than the average vehicle operator.
    I fully support the use of atvs as part of our community.

  10. Mark Pohl

    I think if done responsibly it is fine. By responsibly I mean at a safe speed like 60 km tops or at posted speed limit if under 60km and must have rear view mirrors. There should also be hefty fines associated in order to change perceptions and attitudes. I also believe the driver should have a full valid drivers licence.

  11. Matt Schutt

    Your telling me that snowmobiles and atv’s are to hard to see and there is t enough room and that they would be a danger to other drivers? What about motorcycles and bicycles? My atv is 10x more safe than riding a motorcycle and or a bicycle. The atv’s of today are far superior than when this was originally put into action. Headlights, taillights, 4 wheel disc brakes and reflectors. I agree it must be licensed, insured, and safe but there’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be allowed on the roads.

  12. Terry

    The roads are to narrow really? How stupid are you. Atv can drive just as fast as a car, let them drive right behind the cars just like people on bikes do only they can’t go over 10 creating traffic jams all through town but that’s okay cause roads were built for bicycles right? No they were made for motor vehicle’s and honestly you people wonder why kids do nothing but drugs it Cuz you people won’t let anything fun in this town so they have no choice but to break the law and do drugs how about you get things for kids/teens to do so they don’t turn to drugs to have fun

  13. Terry

    You would also make a lot more money for the town and community and maybe be able to fix our roads and beside your the ones that took the 4 Lanes out of perth to make it narrower

  14. barry m lanthier

    all the people not in favor of this are old school and trying to protect old ways. Give it a rest and bring the future into the present before it bursts in itself….Get rid of these old school wannabes an d put some fresh meat in the chair…

  15. Brian white

    well the trails for these atvs are closed for the winter so they would not be used untill spring

  16. Gord Erickson

    I would encourage the council and mayor look at the incredible success of Hatfield & McCoy trails in West Virginia. Streets are more narrow than in Perth and yet it is a huge success to the economy and tourism!

  17. Ilse Vink

    My husband and I have ridden thousands of miles on our ATV, since we bought it January of 2016. Last summer he and I, along with two other couples, were ATVing along the trail south of Highway 7 just west of Perth, when one of us got a flat tire. We spent 3 hours hitching rides into Perth, trying to get the tire repaired, or the parts to do it, but were unsuccesful. Local Perth residents were more than helpful, local businesses were definitely not, and town rules forbidding us to ride our ATV’s even into the outskirts of Perth were offputting. We’ll be spending our hard-earned dollars elsewhere, and we’ve not been shy warning other ATVers about our negative experiences in Perth.

  18. Trevor Pewtner

    Mayor John Fenik said “Streets are too narrow”
    I would ask him to measure a car and then an ATV

  19. Mike Litoris

    I enjoy my ATV riding in many areas in both Ontario and Quebec, most places now allow ATV’s to drive on marked routes through towns. I live in the Osgoode area and they have done a great job allowing riders on the local roads, with access to small businesses. I suggest council talk with other municipalities that have been allowing ATV’s on their roads for feedback rather than making a decision based on a “feeling” that it isn’t a good idea to share the road.

  20. ShaunW

    Atv’s should have reasonable access to the town. It’s a vastly growing activity and will bring more people into the town. Perth also needs to consider that there are 2 major atv retailers in town that could benifit from ATV access. Obviously areas that they shouldn’t be allowed however marked access’s allowing access to adjoining trails, fuel, and some restaurants should be considered.

  21. Clayton Hyland

    I’m sure this same debate filled the papers back in the day when motorized carriages challenged horses and buggies for space on the streets of Perth.
    BTW, this is NOT the mayor’s town. This OUR town and we don’t like bullies.

  22. Pingback: Carleton Place hears argument for recreational use of Ottawa Valley rail trail - Hometown News

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