ATV and snowmobile clubs work hand in hand - Plans to share bridge and corridor lease

Added: Wed, 04/26/2017 - 10:43pm
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Construction on the interprovincial bridge shortly before it was opened for
snowmobilers in February.

Allyson Beauregard

PORTAGE-DU-FORT – During the Council of Mayors meeting, held April 18 (see page 15), the mayors passed a resolution supporting the Pontiac's snowmobile and ATV clubs having shared access to the recently refurbished interprovincial bridge, near Portage.
According to Patrick Amyotte, President of the Pontiac Quad Club, the agreement will also include ATV access to the 21 kilometres of CN rail corridor leading from the bridge to Norway Bay.
The Pontiac Snowmobile Drivers' Association, headed by Alain Goulet, was awarded the lease for the corridor late last year.
The change would see the bridge and corridor used three seasons rather than one, and according to Goulet, it would also ensure the area is patrolled during the summer and fall to prevent illegal use and destruction of the trails.
Although the local clubs were responsible for initiating the process, the final decision to move forward is now in the hands of the snowmobile and ATV federations. “They are now doing the negotiating, making the arrangements, and figuring out the costs for the ATV club, but the local clubs will have the last say,” explained Amyotte, noting the initial agreement had the Quad Club contributing $50,000 to buy into the bridge and corridor. Goulet said the terms of the agreement are currently private.
While the renovation of the bridge received federal funding, the snowmobile federation contributed about $100,000 to the project.
According to Amyotte, investments will be needed to bring the corridor
 up to standard for ATV use. “We walked the trail. Work is needed ... there are still railroad ties in some areas,” he elaborated.
Amyotte is in favour of the partnership because it involves expanding the Quad Club’s trail network, creating a direct line between Norway Bay and Portage-du-Fort and possibly attracting Ontario riders to visit the Pontiac and support some of its businesses; it also gives club members the option of travelling outside the province.
Warden Raymond Durocher applauded the clubs for working together toward a common goal.
The clubs do not know when a decision will be made, but hope it will be soon. (See photo above)