ATV restrictions don’t make sense for the village of Port Sydney say some area residents, and they’re hoping the Town and the District will consider lifting them.
“I believe we have lost sight that Port Sydney is a tourist community and always has been. It is not an urban centre,” Leon Braithwaite told Huntsville’s General Committee on January 24. He was there with Mike Fedorowich to appeal to councillors to reconsider the restrictions which leave local ATV users unable to access services and restaurants in the small community, and said they also believe it has an impact on tourism.
“We need to promote the retail sector in our area. Tourism is all that we seem to have left as a revenue generator,” said Braithwaite. “Please support our village and our struggling businesses.”
The pair also noted that where the ATV restrictions begin in the area, there is no parking and it’s unsafe to load and unload ATVs at those locations.
Director of Operations and Protective Services, Steve Hernen, said he looked back in town records and found that the council of the day directed staff to draft a bylaw permitting ATVs on municipal roads but not in urban areas which included Hidden Valley, Port Sydney, and downtown Huntsville. The District of Muskoka followed suit when they passed an ATV bylaw for District roads.
But Braithwaite called the restricted zone in Port Sydney “a dead area,” and noted that businesses like The Pine Lodge, which is under new ownership, that would like to attract ATV users can’t because of the bylaw.
Braithwaite and Fedorowich collected 164 signatures in support of having the restriction lifted and said that in going door-to-door to talk with neighbours in the community found that even some of those who weren’t ATV users supported the move.
Councillor Det Schumacher voiced support for the idea, saying, “Let’s give Port Sydney the opportunity to be rural again.”
Councillor Jason FitzGerald concurred: “To use (an ATV) to get to work or recreationally, to move from a residence to outside the area, or to use services, I think is a reasonable request.”
Others on committee weren’t so sure. “I’m not opposed to this, but I’d like to see some public consultation,” said Counciller Dan Armour, while Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano wondered if there would be more opposed than the 164 who signed in favour of the move.
Committee decided to seek public input on the matter, and directed staff to hold a public meeting during the next regular General Committee meeting.
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