No need to consider allowing more ATV access

 In Letters, Opinion

Editor:

My principal residence since September 1996 has been on Concession 8 Nottawasaga Road. The so-called ‘unopened road allowance’ appears on township maps (from County Road 9 at the south near Dunedin and goes north to Sideroad 9 & 10 Nottawasaga. I have several reasons for continuing to exclude this so called ‘unopened road allowance’ from any public traffic (i.e. ATVs and the like) from County Road 9 north to Sideroad 9 & 10 Nottawasaga.

First, my property survey indicates that the so called ‘unopened road allowance’ that runs north/south along my property has likely been ceded to my property in lieu of the deviation road (i.e. Concession 8) when the deviation road was initially established. Further, most properties along the so- called ‘unopened road allowance’ in question have long standing fences that run east/west across the ‘unopened road allowance’ in several places including my property. My property at purchase was completely and fully fenced including the ‘unopened road allowance’ and continues to be maintained. I have engaged legal council to research the disposition of the ‘unopened road allowance’ that is adjacent to my property. Litigation is a very real possibility should council approve ATV travel on the ‘unopened road allowance’ to which I refer. I would argue there is no need to consider allowing access to the lands in question because ATVs and the like use the existing Concession 8 deviation road regularly to get to trails and services.

Second, the terrain is very steep and fragile. The ‘unopened road allowance’ that runs along my property is subject to Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) and Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) oversight. My property including the ‘unopened road allowance’ is some of the most protected land on the escarpment. There are endangered tree species on the ‘unopened road allowance’ and wetlands that must be protected. Giving access to ATVs, etc. to such a sensitive area of the escarpment makes no sense whatsoever. I encourage Council to re-read the NEC Staff Report of Sept. 17, 2020 wherein its first recommendation says, the Commission “endorses the NEC Staff position that the recreational use of motorized-trails is not a Permitted Use within the Escarpment Natural Area or Escarpment Protection Area land use designation of the NEP (2017); and the second recommendation directs staff to circulate the report to all municipalities within the Niagara Escarpment Plan area.” Even the NEC seems to agree with me.

Third, there is a pre-existing water feature (rural pond) fed by a year round spring that crosses the entire ‘unopened road allowance’. A 14-foot deep pond that is approximately 120 feet across extends from my property across the entire ‘unopened road allowance’, which makes journey impassible – such that travel & trespass on private property is required to go north/south. I don’t think it makes common sense to give approval to use the ‘unopened road allowance’ knowing that it is impassable due to the long standing existence of a deep rural pond.

I wish council nothing but the best, and I thank my councillor for doing the work to actually visit my property and understand my concerns first hand.

I am willing to give a personal tour to any councillor that intends to approve access to the ‘unopened road allowance’ that abuts my residence to see first hand the dilemma council will create if ATV access to the land in question is sanctioned.

Greg Ashbee,

Dunedin.

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