It’s unanimous: Sackville councillors say yes to ATVs on town streets

Councillor Allison Butcher moved motion to support ATVers

The New Brunswick All-Terrain Vehicle Federation won a decisive victory tonight as Sackville Town Council voted in favour of allowing ATVs to mix with regular traffic on Mallard Drive, Wright Street and the busy McDonald’s intersection at Main Street.

At their meeting last week, several councillors expressed strong safety concerns about adding more traffic to the already congested commercial strip near TransCanada Exit 504, but tonight they voted unanimously to support the ATV Federation’s request for access to town streets in the area.

Council authorized the mayor to write a letter supporting the ATV Federation’s application to the provincial government asking for an exemption from the law that prohibits all-terrain vehicles from operating on public roadways. In doing so, Sackville joined more than a dozen other New Brunswick municipalities that support allowing ATVs on local streets.

ATV culture

“We have a culture in this area,” said Councillor Allison Butcher, “of people who use off-road, motorized vehicles.”

Butcher, who moved the motion authorizing the mayor’s letter of support, pointed out that Sergeant Paul Gagné, head of the local RCMP detachment, had given his approval while the ATV Federation has put time and thought into ways of making it safe.

“It means that it will be bringing revenue into our community and they’re going about it in a way that’s making sure that they’re making it as safe for everyone as they can,” Butcher said.

“I’ve been conflicted about this,” said Councillor Megan Mitton, “and concerned about safety at that intersection by the McDonald’s.”

But she added that she got good answers to the questions she asked over the past week.

“We’re not expecting there to be much of an increase in traffic there,” Mitton said, noting that signs will be put up to guide ATV riders.


Councillor Bill Evans said that if the provincial Departments of Transportation, Justice and Public Safety give their approval, the town will still maintain control by passing its own traffic bylaw.

“If it turns out this is a really bad idea, we’ll be able to change our own local bylaw,” Evans said.

He predicted, however, that the ATV Federation will police itself because it has an interest in making the arrangement work.

“As someone who regularly uses their trails to walk on, I think a little reciprocity will be a good thing,” Evans added.

ATV Federation relieved

After the unanimous vote of support, Paul Branscombe of the ATV Federation seemed relieved that councillors who expressed safety concerns last week had now voted in favour.

“I’m very pleased that the federation was able to provide information along with the RCMP to persuade those people…to change their opinion and support that motion,” he said.

“I think if it had gone to a vote last week, it wouldn’t have passed,” he added.

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13 Responses to It’s unanimous: Sackville councillors say yes to ATVs on town streets

  1. Doug Key says:

    – is this the same council that denied the Robin’s application because of ‘congestion’ concerns – seems to suggest that there concern’s were elsewhere – these are poorly designed intersections that are ill suited to cars let alone adding ATVs

  2. Edward Parker says:

    Great to see this huge part of the public being granted the same rights as cyclists, motorized wheelchairs, and motorbikes.

  3. Are the ATV’s going to be safety inspected and required to have turn signals and horns etc. operating in order to keep other drivers and pedestrians safe? If so, it’s no different than driving a motorcycle through town. If not, expect casualties.

  4. Wendy Alder (tried to get a Tibins drive thru) says:

    I support ATVs but don’t understand the difference between congestion from drive thrus in a congested intersection vs congestion from ATVs at the SAME congested intersection, certain councillors that supported this motion didn’t support more drive thrus at that exit because they felt it was unsafe and already too congested. As well as no blinkerson ATVs, hopefully there will be a requirement for insurance and that’s enforced! We will see how it goes. At this point it is a letter of support to the Province from Town council and if the province supports it, it has to come back to Town council to set a bylaw with stipulations. But I would add, if ATV owners can unload on Mallard and travel up Mallard and Wright to the trails, then the ATV Federation should also ask to be able to unload on Robson where there is a Motel and go to Cattail where we have gas as well. I’m pretty sure the trail goes out that way. We do have home made sandwiches and treats at our store, although no sit down restaurant. Hopefully that will come once the exit 506 study is complete and the consultants have their recommendations. Onward and upward! Let’s just make it fair, if they can have ATVs on roads at 504, it only seems fair that we can have them at 506 without a study to support it!

    • Rima Azar says:

      I totally support Ms. Alder’s suggestion!!
      It would be a great idea for business for Exit 506!
      It would help even things between thé two exits.
      Actually, is there a hidden reason behind this imbalance?

  5. tom leblanc says:

    good for u and you’er town ..hope everything workes out find

  6. Dave Oakes says:

    Great to see this happening and hopefully all goes well and that the users appreciate and respect the privilege they have been given.
    By setting a good example more and more towns, villages,and communities will see the benefits and they too will allow ATV / SxS access.
    Who knows – someday, somewhere in NS we may also enjoy the same privilege as you in NB.
    All the best and set a good example for everyone.

  7. Jack Wright says:

    Congratulations,Sackville…it’s long overdue….
    In NS, we’re required to pay registration and insurance but are highly restricted over where we can ride..not even on a lot of rails to trails !

    Added comment from Bruce Wark: Thanks for the comment Jack. I should point out that the town of Sackville is supporting the ATV federation’s request for access to certain streets so that they can park at the Visitor Information Centre and then travel to trails that are for ATV use at the end of Wright Street. ATVs are not allowed on the rails to trails that runs through Sackville and across Canada, just on the extensive network of trails that are for ATV use.

  8. john le blanc says:

    That’s great for your town live in Yarmouth Nova Scotia wish council would get their act together and let atv use water St. From one trail to another.

  9. Marika says:

    I find it fascinating how the same councillors that were so worried about the “pollution” from idling cars at 506 have no concerns about the same (+noise) from ATVs at 504.

    Personally, I’m in favour of BOTH the drive-through *and* ATVs, as they both bring business to the town – a consistent position – even if I find a slight annoyance from ATVs at the major intersection.

    I wonder what interests cause these “inconsistencies”.

  10. Rima Azar says:

    Dear Marika:
    You have raised a good point. Food for thought for sure. I am happy to read that another citizen is also raising the same question about possible interests that may perhaps explain the imbalance or inconsistencies. Maybe yes, maybe no….but one can only wonder. If this is not the case, will our councillors consider applying their decision to Exit 506 too?

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