Sackville town staff recommend against supporting ATVs on the Trans Canada Trail

Town manager Jamie Burke

It appears highly unlikely that the Town of Sackville will support all-terrain vehicle users riding legally on the Trans Canada Trail that runs between Sackville and Cape Tormentine.

During last Monday’s council meeting, manager Jamie Burke said town staff were recommending against writing a letter to provincial officials asking them to lift restrictions on ATVs using the old rail bed that forms the Trans Canada Trail.

“Permitting motorized vehicles on the trail could displace some users,” Burke told council, adding that the southeast regional trail co-ordinator has research showing that could happen.

Poul Jorgensen, executive director of the NB Trails Council that has been overseeing the Trans Canada Trail, told Warktimes last month that ATVs would pose a safety hazard for other users including hikers and horseback riders.

“They also tear up the surface of a trail that we’ve invested a lot of money in,” Jorgensen said.

ATV Club requests

In making the recommendation against supporting ATVers using the Trans Canada Trail, Burke was following up on the local club’s request to council.

Paul Branscombe, President Tantramar ATV Club

Tantramar ATV Club President Paul Branscombe wrote a letter to the mayor and council in July explaining that ATVers were seeking to extend their trail network in southeastern New Brunswick.

Branscombe also appeared before council last month to explain his request for a formal letter of support from the town.

At the time, he acknowledged that he had met with Mayor Higham who told him “there would be zero support” from council for the Club’s request.

Judging from their discussion on Monday, it appears likely that at their meeting next week, Sackville councillors will reject supporting the ATV Club’s request.

Search for a new CAO

Also during its meeting on Monday, council authorized the town clerk to begin the process of finding a professional recruiter to search for a new chief administrative officer.

The present CAO, Phil Handrahan, has submitted his resignation effective at the end of February.

Mayor Higham said town council will act as the committee to hire his replacement, but will need help from a professional recruiter to draft hiring criteria, advertise the position, conduct screening and come up with a short list.

Councillor Bill Evans suggested that Handrahan be asked to advise the hiring committee, although he would not vote on the final decision.

“By all means, let’s get on with it,” Evans added.

The most recent information on salary scales posted on the town’s website shows that the CAO’s salary ranges between $96,367 and $128,489.

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4 Responses to Sackville town staff recommend against supporting ATVs on the Trans Canada Trail

  1. Paul says:

    Just so you know, NS share their railway trails with all user’s. Walkers, horseback riders, ATVs and snowmobiles in the winter months. It works very well. Trail council in NB has just gone bankrupt. They didn’t have the funds to maintain the trails.

    Comment from Bruce Wark: Thanks for your comment Paul. Here is a link to a CBC story expanding upon your reference to the trails council https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/new-brunswick-trails-council-shutting-down-1.5315904

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  2. grothomas says:

    I would agree that the rail trail should remain an active transport venue. It is our only rural sidewalk and like it’s urban counterparts needs to exclude motorized traffic for safety and aesthetic reasons. Also ATV use leads to degradation and potholing of the surface. It would make far more sense for the ATV lobbyists to push to use motorized vehicles on the roadways with other motorized vehicles than to be allowed on sidewalks, be they rural or urban.
    In fact this would be a great opportunity for the town to take steps to prevent the ongoing illegal use of the railtrail by ATVs by erecting functioning gates and in so doing reinforce it’s prior commitment to keeping the railtrail within town limits non motorized. There is already an extensive network of ATV trails in our area.
    Although ATVs share some railtrails with pedestrians in Nova Scotia this is certainly not the case on the more heavily used routes. And since the local ATV group has no power nor ability to regulate the minority of ATV users who drive recklessly,and since most no motorized users don’t want ATVs on the trail, such a shared model should be avoided.

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  3. marilyn lerch says:

    ATV’s got Wright Street and Mallard Drive, now they want the NB trails, so thank you Town Council for keeping them off and keeping some space without motorized vehicles.

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  4. Sally Cunliffe says:

    Trails belong to everyone… all our citizens deserve to use them safely and enjoy them .. I am so very sorry Paul that the mayor is taking such a hard line and blocking their use .. did anyone ever stop to think that its possible the ATV people are doing us a favour being out there .. what if you are a person out hiking alone or riding your bike alone and you run into problems and need help? Along comes an ATV is like a mobile recon squad out there.. usually I wouldn’t bother saying too much since I don’t have an ATV but I don’t like to think we are missing out on a great opportunity to improve recreation opportunities and not be killjoys to people who operate ATVs for fun and for exploration of the wild spaces — we have so much to offer visitors.. why would we be mean spirited about their choice of recreation vehicle? The people who put the stickers on their cars that say SHARE THE ROAD are inclusive; why are trails not seen in the same light?

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