Sackville Town Council approves ATVs on busy streets

Coun. Andrew Black moved motion to approve ATV bylaw

In a 6-1 vote, Sackville Town Council passed a bylaw on Tuesday authorizing all-terrain vehicles to mix with regular traffic, including inter-provincial buses as well as fuel and transport trucks, on Mallard Drive and most of Wright Street.

Bylaw 258 also allows ATV riders as young as 14 to cross the busy intersection at Main Street on their way into and out of the McDonald’s/Esso parking lot.

If as expected, the bylaw gets final approval from the provincial minister of public safety, ATVs will be able to operate legally in an already congested area where there are five restaurants, two fast food drive-thrus, two gas stations with convenience stores, liquor and cannabis outlets, a grocery store, the Coastal Inn, a Home Hardware and the town’s Visitor Information Centre.

Six councillors, Andrew Black, Joyce O’Neil, Bruce Phinney, Allison Butcher, Bill Evans and Michael Tower voted in favour of  the bylaw with only Councillor Shawn Mesheau voting against. Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken, who has spoken and voted against the ATV bylaw in the past, was filling in for an absent Mayor Higham and therefore, could not vote except to break a tie.

Mesheau said that since council gave preliminary approval to the ATV bylaw last month, he’s received feedback both for and against.

Coun. Shawn Mesheau

“It’s kind of been split down the middle,” Mesheau said, adding however, that even those in favour have questioned whether all-terrain vehicles are designed to operate on paved streets.

He said he’s also heard concerns about the lack of law enforcement with ATVs already operating illegally in the area as well as in more remote parts of town such as on Walker Road and King Street.

“I know the RCMP kind of signed off on this [bylaw],” Mesheau said, “but I’m not sure the RCMP provided us with any kind of detail as to how they plan on approaching that in the Mallard Drive area and how they plan on enforcing it.”

Age restrictions

Later, during the public question period, both the town’s chief administrator, Phil Handrahan and Councillor Bill Evans said that as far as they knew, only licensed drivers over age 16, would be allowed to operate ATVs on the designated streets.

However, Warktimes has confirmed that under the provincial Off-Road Vehicle Act, 14-year-olds who have completed an approved safety training course and who are accompanied and supervised by an adult who has also completed such a course, would be allowed to ride smaller ATVs in the designated area.

Fourteen-year-olds can already ride a motorized scooter or moped on New Brunswick streets or highways if they hold a class 9 driver’s licence.

For the results of a CBC investigation in which New Brunswick recorded the highest number of ATV and snowmobile deaths in Atlantic Canada, click here.

For earlier coverage, click here.

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15 Responses to Sackville Town Council approves ATVs on busy streets

  1. Harold says:

    “unintended consequences” are seldom discussed and often overlooked in our community and society —

    Liked by 3 people

  2. patricia leblanc says:

    Thank You Shawn for your good judgement.


  3. Phyllis Wheaton says:

    i’m just waiting for accidents to happen, seen congestion at the lights already just last month!


  4. Rima Azar says:

    I am personally all for parental responsibility for their own children and/or individual freedom and own sense of responsibility in life. Thus, I do not mind driving behind an ATV in Sackville for s short period of time and just being more careful to keep them as safe as possible. Ultimately, if they want to take such risk in life (+ pleasure too), it is their choice.

    As for the congestion, I do not mind it. OK, perhaps it is easier on me to think so as we do not live near the Main Exit. By Bridge street Exit, I welcome more traffic (it would be exotic for us 😊).

    Despite this, I also salute Councillor Shawn Mesheau’s and Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken’s wisdom on the matter. This being said, I also trust that our other Councillors and, especially our RCMP safety experts, know what they are doing too. They must have taken their time thinking about this issue before voting for it. Yes, accidents could happen (but they can happen even whilst walking or running stairs). With some luck, everyone will remain safe on our roads, human beings and dogs too.

    This being said, what worries me more is learning from this article (thank you Mr. Wark) that 14 year-old folks may ride “a motorized scooter or moped on New Brunswick streets or highways if they hold a class 9 driver’s licence”. Of course, each 14-year old is unique and may be quite mature (sometimes more than narcissistic adults 😊– of course provided there is no chemical substance is in their system whilst driving). I had a 13-year-old friend (ok a first boyfriend 😊) who had a scooter in dangerous times in Beirut…We survived scooters and shelling. Still, it remains risky to ride scooters on highways, especially that the danger often comes from others around us when we drive or ride a vehicle. Let’s also keep in mind the following data (2017) from the Canadian Pediatric Society ( They tell us that about 34% of ATV-related mortality (= deaths) involve Canadian children youth under 16 years of age, even if “they represent a small portion of all ATV drivers or passengers”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beirut, the Paris of the middle east … a far cry from this sleepy town where the youth look for their own recreational pursuits in a town that has conveniently forgotten their simple request for a concrete skate park in 2013 .. so what if they are rural minded youth make their own fun with ATVs and challenge themselves with motorized machinery.. I like that they are enjoying themselves and its just laughable to hear people talking about them like they are coddled babies when they’re not…… I’d even wager to say they are more tuned in and physically fit and aware than a lot of zombie boomer/elders driving cars around here.. plenty of old people cause accidents! People riding around religiously on bicycles who think they own the roads can be really arrogant when it comes to ‘sharing’ the road huh? 14 is the new 30 .. these kids are savvy in more ways than just the internet… don’t overlook their abilities.


      • Rima Azar says:

        “Beirut, the Paris of the middle east …”. Always moving to hear, thank you Sally (OK, I may be homesick today :)). You can see the beauty of Beirut in this short video called *Rise above Lebanon*, if I may share here: .

        It is very well done, although a bit odd that the Ministry of Tourism that produced it did not include scenes of some snow that we see on the highest peaks of mountains all year long (unless I miss it). I do not know if you know that the name of the country means *yogurt* in Arabic (“Mount Lebanon” comes from *lbn* = “white” in old Phoenician root, in reference to the country’s snow peaks).

        Now, if you suspect that I may be paid by their government to promote tourism, just know that every spring, I search the net for our newest NB or (Atlantic) Canadian promotional videos. I share with my relatives there or elsewhere to convince them to visit Canada. Perhaps I am paid by both countries. Who knows :)? I am joking. It is called patriotic love and it is free.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Shawn Bowes says:

    I would suggest a trial period, to ensure all laws would be followed. Also, insurance and registrations, be somehow monitored. If for example, after 30 days, things are not working out, council would have an out.


  6. Sharon Hicks says:

    I just read through the CBC article which Bruce linked to this story. The article reports on the number of deaths related to ATV incidents over the past number of years, as well as a lot of other ATV-related statistics.

    The numbers alone are interesting, for sure, but I found this portion of the report to be the most enlightening. According to trails advocate David Peterson, who was part of a 2001 task force calling for enhanced enforcement of the ATV federation’s regulations, the provincial government didn’t act on most of the task force’s recommendations because of a “lack of political will”, citing unwillingness on the part of politicians to risk losing votes from ATV federation members.

    There are a lot of interesting numbers arising from this report …

    5.6 = average number of ATV related DEATHS in NB, per year
    the majority of deaths were males
    25% = percentage of ATV fatalities who were NOT wearing helmets

    284 = average number of ATV related INJURIES in NB, per year
    (injuries ranged from sprains, to fractures, to more serious events such as brain bleeds)
    $12,994,082 = total cost of ATV-related injuries in NB, PER YEAR
    $15,215 = average cost per ATV-related injury in NB

    770,633 = total population of NB
    65,000 = total number of registered ATVs in NB (an average of 1 machine for every 12 residents)
    22,500 = total number of registered members of NB ATV Federation (= 2.9 % of population)
    (this indicates there are a lot of ATVs registered to people who are not members of the ATV

    10 = number of off-road vehicle enforcement officers in NB – for the entire province
    (= 1 enforcement officer for every 2,250 registered members of ATV federaton)
    10 = number of instructors with the ATV Federation – also for the entire province.
    (= average of 1 instructor for every 2,250 registered members of ATV federation)

    Numbers speak volumes.


  7. Patrick says:

    The people spouting ATV Doom and Gloom need to get a grip. They remind me of the type of people in the 50’s that said Rock n’ Roll and Elvis Presley would be the end of our youth. ATV’s and Side by Side vehicles are safer than motorcycles and bicycles for God sake. People aren’t asking to ride them around like cars to get groceries or go to work. They simply want to be able to access trails, gas stations, restaurants etc. ATV’s generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the province every year.

    Are people hurt or killed riding them each year? Sadly, yes. Yet thousands of people are killed in cars and motorcycles every year and we don’t ban them. Most ATV owners are responsible and the ones breaking the laws and driving like Kamikaze pilots will do so regardless of the law, it’s the same with cars. Harsh laws only hurt the law-abiding.


    • Kelly Alder says:

      They can already access all the fuel they need and it might do some people good to walk across the street from the Esso/McDonald’s parking area to get to Tims or other places. It’s a short walk, maybe 50 yards or so. They can already unload at the end of Wright street and drive to that parking lot to get fuel and food. Not sure how this new amendment changes access to these services?


  8. Angela Varner says:

    Wow the high nose is strong with this one folks! First of all we live in a farming, hunting, fishing, trail driving community. We don’t live in Moncton or Toronto or Halifax. Part of that community is all-terrain vehicles. TRACTORS cause more of a disruption on the roads than 4 wheelers and they will drive from middle of Sackville out to Midgic. They just want to get up to the gas station grab a snack, fuel up, get some lunch and head back out on the trails. No surprise coming from Mesheau though! He’s already made it clear on how inconvenient it is for him to hear the bikes going up his street.
    Not to mention the ATV club in Sackville does a heck of a lot of good keeping trails taken care of helping in the community and bringing awareness to the importance of getting out and enjoying the wildlife. Why on Earth would people even begin to argue the congestion at the intersection. There isn’t congestion. We have 2 traffic lights in this town. The intersection in question is not an issue for an ATV or side by side to pass through with vehicles.
    Some of our high and mighty counsillors and deputy mayoe need to take a few steps forward and stop living in the past. This town isn’t just pretty flowers in window boxes and ducks.


  9. Rob Poirier says:

    This is excellent news! Congratulations to the Councillors who voted in favour! There is no downside. A little research will show you that it has been working in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and many other states I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s about time. Now, can you help us get something similar happening in Nova Scotia? Well done!

    By the way, this story is clearly written from a negative viewpoint-typical.. Was the CBC link really necessary?


    • brucewark says:

      Hi Rob:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I try to write my stories from as factually neutral a point of view as I can manage. In this case, I agree there is a negative tinge to my coverage because I’m not sure why, as Kelly Alder points out, ATVs need to travel the length of Mallard Drive, through that busy McDonald’s intersection and then over most of Wright Street when they could be unloaded at the end of Wright where the trails begin. As far as I can tell, there is no need for ATVers, some as young as 14, to be traversing that route. I link to CBC stories when they provide a wider context. In this case, the CBC link shows safety concerns and a lack of law enforcement. To put it bluntly, I’m wondering why off-road vehicles are suddenly considered on-road vehicles in so many New Brunswick towns.

      On the other hand, I do worry that readers might think I’m using my reporting to advance my own point of view. I guess I’m trying to figure this highly controversial issue out.

      Thanks again.


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