At Tuesday, Sept 7th, meeting of Carleton Place council’s committee of the whole, the topic of ATVs on town streets was on the table. Staff reported that users of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) and local off-road vehicle clubs have brought forward concerns about being able to refuel vehicles and have access to refreshments etc. along the Carleton Place section of the OVRT. They added that local owners of ORVs (Off Road Vehicles) are required to trailer their vehicle from their home to the ORVT in order to use the trail which can be difficult and onerous. For this reason, they suggested council may want to consider where ORVs could be permitted to facilitate these matters.
In January 2021, new legislation regulating the use of Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) came into effect which expanded the on-road opportunities for ORVs. This list however did not include the Town of Carleton Place which continues to fall into the category of municipalities which require a permitting by-law for OVR use. This means that for ORVs to travel on municipal roads, the Town would have to pass a By-law stating where ORVs are permitted to travel. The municipalities of Beckwith, Drummond/North Elmsley, Montague and Lanark Highlands have the reverse situation. In these municipalities ORVs are permitted by default unless a by-law is passed to regulate or prohibit them. The municipality of Mississippi Mills permits the use of ORVs on some roads but not within the urban boundaries of Almonte or Pakenham.
There was also a discussion on safety and liability as the town might be held accountable in the case of an accident where it could be shown that the design of the streets, curbs, or intersections pose risks to ORV operators. Noise was also mentioned as a potential problem as well as how many resources might be required for enforcement and public education. The consensus at the table was that OVRs shouldn’t be permitted on Bridge Street in the downtown sector, but Deputy Mayor Sean Redmond suggested they could be allowed on up to 80% of town streets.
At the end of the discussion, the committee passed a motion to allow ORVs on Townline Road between the OVRT and the McEwan’s gas station as a start. This motion will require a full council ratification as well as county approval.