Lawsuit filed in response to ATV motion
Creemore resident Elise Beauregard has filed a lawsuit against Clearview council member John Broderick, claiming he had a conflict of interest in championing ATV access on all township roads.
Broderick is the council member who, on July 27, brought forward a motion to allow all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-sides access to all township roads. 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 concern is related to the fact that Broderick is the owner of J&R Cycle in Stayner, which sells off-road vehicles.
The Echo could not reach Broderick for comment this week.
When asked what she hoped for as an outcome, Beauregard said, “Best case scenario everything would be put on hold for some time and hopefully on top of that we’re not going to revisit the ATV access to everything.”
“To know that our councillors have to think about what they’re promoting and if they’re going to be making money. They should be focused on the right thing and not their bank accounts,” she said.
“People need to be aware that there are citizens that care about this and we just don’t want [council] to be passing things they shouldn’t be passing. It shouldn’t happen. It should be fair, it should be democratic.”
Beauregard said she launched the lawsuit on her own but has since accepted financial assistance from Clearview Township United, a group of residents “vigorously opposed to greater ATV access and outraged by the abuse of power and conflict of interest” by Broderick.
Although she has concerns with ATVs, Beauregard said she was more bothered by the perceived pecuniary interest on Broderick’s part.
“ATVs, yes I have a position about that, but at the end of the day that’s not what my issue is,” said Beauregard.
She said she is not against the status quo of allowing ATVs limited access to roads, but is against increased access. She said she is against going against the law, including those ATVers who are not respecting the current laws by coming into town.
Beauregard said she has already felt push back from pro-ATVers but she said this lawsuit is not meant as a widespread attack, it is to hold accountable the integrity commissioner and Councillor Broderick’s decision at the council table.
“I want to clear up a misconception about an Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner is paid to provide advice to councillors. They do not uphold law, or decide law. Just like your accountant may suggest a deduction on your tax return, the CRA can still tell you that your accountant was wrong,” said Beauregard in a statement. “I think the Integrity Commissioner’s advice is wrong. And there is an Ontario statute that allows any resident to ask a judge to review these exact types of situations. Anyone can do it. I grew up around lawyers. I’m comfortable with this and decided to be that person. We have great rights and freedoms in Canada, but the system requires ordinary people to demand good government.”
– With files from Bonnie MacPherson