Last April the province announced a series of pilot projects to boost off-highway trail connections. These pilots were supposed to offer increased opportunities for all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and snowmobile users to operate within the right-of-way on select sections of provincial roads.
Amherst, Cumberland County was one of nine communities being considered for the pilot project. The local MLA today asked the Minister of Transportation for an update.
“The Liberals claim to support ATV riders, but we’ve seen no action on this important pilot project for Cumberland County,” says Smith-McCrossin. “ATV and snowmobile riders need to access trails and cross highways, safely. Hollow announcements add risks for users.”
Smith-McCrossin says ATV enthusiasts in her community are growing frustrated with the delays. Cumberland County resident and ATV rider Glen Hudson says Nova Scotians are being left behind.
“Nova Scotia and PEI are the only two provinces in Canada that do not allow some roadway access,” he says. “It’s time the government supported the sport they claimed they would.”
Smith-McCrossin says this isn’t just about ATV users having increased, safe access to roadways. This pilot project could be an economic boost.
“Access to roadways provide a gateway to services like accommodations, fuel and food for the ATV community,” she says. “This could be an economic driver. Why are the Liberals shutting the door on tourism and business opportunities?”
The Safety Minded ATV Association in St. Margaret’s Bay is also waiting on this pilot project. They are one of the biggest associations in the province. Association Director Jeff Knee says this isn’t just a matter of economics or sport, it’s a matter of safety.
“It’s important that the government follow through on this important commitment,” says Knee. “Creating safe and legal access to fuel and amenities, along with trail connectivity is a big step in forward thinking on this great family activity.”
ATV use is the fastest growing power sport in Nova Scotia with approximately 36,000 all terrain vehicles registered in the province. Currently this sport contributes over $160,000,000 to the Nova Scotia economy. That could be more. By comparison, New Brunswick realizes $360,000,000.