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Improper OHV use impacting slope stability in Waterways

PHOTO. Temporary fencing along Cliff Ave in Waterways on Oct. 6, 2020. The Municipality said engineers are at work addressing land subsidence issues in the Waterways area. MYMCMURRAY/Phil Wood.

The Municipality said it does not permit the use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) in Fort McMurray’s urban service area.

This includes major roadways, residential streets, and green spaces.

Keith Smith, Director for Public Works, said the urban service area includes Waterways and Abasand.

“With thousands of acres of public land to explore and extensive trail networks, the Wood Buffalo region creates ample opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors while using their OHVs responsibly.”

Ongoing OHV use in the urban service area poses a serious safety risk for motorists, children, and other residents.

Engineers noted OHVs damages public and private property, underground infrastructure, and land stability.

Land subsidence

Smith said motorists cannot use OHVs on Cliff Ave. in Waterways.

Engineers in the area said elevated levels of rainwater during the year and unauthorized OHV use impact slope stability.

“We recognize how popular this recreation activity is and are committed to supporting OHV use on designated trails and crown land outside of Fort McMurray. Going off-roading through a park, green space and areas that have been designed for other purposes can easily damage property and with wet conditions outside, there is a higher likelihood of this occurring.”

Smith said motorists should refrain from driving OHVs and trucks in the area, which leads to more safety concerns.

Crews continue to stabilize the slope in Waterways.

READ MORE: Municipality addressing land subsidence issues in Waterways

Residents interested in trails and staging areas for OHVs can find them on the McMurray Sno-Drifters website.

The Snye, the Abasand Drive parking lot, Tower Road in Timberlea, and Waterways’ Raphael Cree Park are all designated staging areas.

Motorists also cannot drive OHVs towards these staging areas.

Motorists using OHV in the urban service area are subject to fines under the OHV bylaw and Traffic Safety Act.

To report unauthorized OHV use, call the Pulse line at (780) 743-7000 or Wood Buffalo RCMP at (780) 788-4040.

A guide to Provincial Crown Land is also available on the Government of Alberta website.