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Residents voice their opinions on off-highway vehicle bylaw

Last Updated Mar 6, 2019 at 10:33 am MDT

Residents gathered to speak with city representatives about the off-highway vehicle bylaws and staging areas. Photo taken by Phil Wood, news anchor, MyMcMurray.com.

Education and enforcement was the common feedback from residents at the off-highway vehicle (OHV) forum at the Syncrude clubhouse Tuesday.

Most if not all were against fencing the trails in Timberlea extending potentially to Abasand, and parts of Gregoire.

In response, the RMWB motioned not to go ahead with the fencing.

One such resident from Gregoire, who attended the session but did not wish to be named, kept her response to the fencing proposal plain and simple.

“A dog park is what needs to be fenced in. Humans should never be fenced in for easy access to get in and get out.”

She also mentioned how fences would pose a serious safety risk in the event of an emergency, similar to the 2016 wildfire.

On hand speaking with residents and answering questions was RMWB Strategist in Stakeholder Relations, Adam Hardiman.

Hardiman said the Municipality fielded 3100 responses from their online survey, which motivated the city to act so swiftly.

“Obviously, we know that last week we looked at community feedback, we listened to residents, [and] we chose to remove that option from the proposed fence idea, so it’s been really great to talk to residents because it really is a multi-faceted thing within our community.”

The city is still pouring over the numbers, nevertheless, Hardiman says collaboration with stakeholders will produce an amicable solution.

Those who attended believe the current bylaws are adequate, but educating the public and enforcing the bylaws are crucial.

“Another thing we’re really hearing is public safety has to be key,” Hardiman said. “It needs to be an approach that balances how do you have recreational use while being mindful and respectful of your neighbours.”

Facts and figures

  • These are the staging areas within the Fort McMurray urban service area: Abasand, Snye Park, and Sitskaw Park (Horse Pasture).
  • The next public information session to discuss OHVs is scheduled for Thursday, March 7, from 5-8 p.m. at Mac Island.
  • You can also call the PULSE hotline at (780) 743-7000 with your questions.