Talk of ATV conflict of interest off the table

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Clearview Township staff has been instructed to draft a bylaw that will give greater access to township roads for All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) and Side by Sides (SxS).
The original motion, calling for access to all Clearview roads, was proposed by Councillor John Broderick, who owns a business which sells ATVs. Broderick said while it is not certain that the change will have an impact on his business, it will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Clearview restaurants, gas stations and other businesses; it will be a good thing for tourism and branding which will ultimately benefit everyone. He advised council that he has corresponded with the township’s Integrity Commissioner and is satisfied that he can deal with this issue in a manner separate form his business interests.

Mayor Doug Measures confirmed that he spoke to the Integrity Commissioner in response to a question from the media. He was advised that each member of council is responsible for their own decisions on conflict of interest questions, in line with the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and council’s own Code of Conduct. Measures told the meeting that the Code of Conduct precludes sitting council members from asking conflict questions of other councillors.

Councillor Doug McKechnie described Broderick’s motion as nuclear option – all or nothing. As council’s representative on the Creemore BIA, McKechnie expressed concern that the BIA has worked hard to create a charming small town feel that is not consistent with the presence of ATVs on Mill Street.

Councillors Robert Walker and Connie Leishman both suggested that some restrictions are appropriate, and they are interested in seeing what township staff recommends. CAO Steve Sage pointed out that the motion before council left no room for staff input. The motion was eventually amended to call for “greater access” to township roads versus access to all township roads, road allowances, undeveloped roads and trail systems. The initial 30-day deadline was amended to allow staff to seek input from Wasaga Beach and the Township of Springwater where ATVs are already permitted on local roads.

Deputy Mayor Barry Burton challenged Broderick’s assertion that the majority of Clearview residents are in support of road access for ATVs and SxSs. Burton recently placed an ad in the Echo advising that the motion would be debated at the July 27 council meeting and received 124 e-mails with roughly two thirds opposing road access.
Councillor Thom Paterson expressed concern about the lack of evidence being presented in support of the motion. He suggested that the ATV community should be providing data to validate their claims of potential benefits to the township.

After much debate, the amended motion passed by a vote of 6 to 3. Council is expected to make a final decision at their September 28 meeting.
Here’s how the voting broke out: In favour – Mayor Doug Measures; John Broderick, Ward 3; Robert Walker, Ward 4; John Lamers, Ward 7; Phyllis Dineen, Ward 1; Connie Leishman, Ward 6
Opposed – Deputy Mayor Barry Burton; Thom Paterson, Ward 5; Doug McKechnie, Ward 2

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Showing 2 comments
  • Deirdre Pringle
    Reply

    Who is this elusive Integrity Commissioner?

  • Tony Rodrigues
    Reply

    Truly baffling that this is not viewed as a clear conflict of interest. A Councillor, who owns an ATV retailer, is promoting a measure that will grow the local ATV market! If this is not a conflict of interest, what is?

    Furthermore, whose interests is he representing? It seems that he has been very active in promoting views/interests of the ATV community (including himself) – how about all the other tax paying property owners? These property owners who contribute vastly more to the local tax revenue base and economic activity than ATV riders. Statements are tossed around that expanding ATV access to roads will be beneficial to local business. Where is the quantification of this benefit? How does this compare to the safety issues, noise pollution and nuisance of having young, unlicensed riders on the roads?

    I do hope that the Councillors take a second look at this matter and step up and do the job they were elected to do – represent local residents’ best interest. Failure to do so will not be forgotten come the next election

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