ATV's On Rural Roads Up For Debate In Amherstburg

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The Town of Amherstburg wants to know what residents think about ATV's on rural roads.

The Essex County ATV Club is hoping to expand the local trail network in hopes of attracting more riders and more tourism to the area.

Dozens of people attended a public meeting Tuesday night including newly elected town councillor Don McArthur.

He believes there's a lot of potential.

"You could use old rail corridors. The Chrysler Greenway was brought up. Imagine Amherstburg gets a hotel, people come out here, they go for an ATV ride, they spend the night and who knows where it could go," says McArthur. "More and more municipalities appear to be moving this way."

McArthur also points out that some neighbouring communities have already made the change.

"They're allowed in Chatham-Kent. They're allowed in Lakeshore in the winter," he says. "One of the guys stood up and he said, 'Look, driving on roads in actually bad for the wheels on our ATV's and wheels are expensive. So we're going to keep that to a minimum. We just want to drive on roads that connect to our trail system.'"

While there are several positives McArthur notes there are several drawbacks.

"The insurance for the town could potentially go up. There might be more work to groom roadways because, where possible, the ATV's, according to the Highway Traffic Act, they're supposed to go on the gravel shoulder as opposed to the road itself. So the town just wants to dot the I's and cross the T's as they examine it from all sides," he says.

Residents who couldn't make it to the public meeting are encouraged to head to the town's 'Talk the Burg' website to fill out a survey before November 30.

A final report is expected to come to council for a decision early next year.