Hot debate: ATVs allowed on the PPJ?

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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – During the Council of Mayors meeting held April 19 (see page 7),
Bill Stewart, Mayor of Campbell’s Bay, suggested forming a committee to study the possibility of allowing ATVs to use the shoulder of the PPJ trail, to create a direct link between various communities.

Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – During the Council of Mayors meeting held April 19 (see page 7),
Bill Stewart, Mayor of Campbell’s Bay, suggested forming a committee to study the possibility of allowing ATVs to use the shoulder of the PPJ trail, to create a direct link between various communities.
“In order to reach Campbell’s Bay from Mansfield and the Upper Pontiac, ATVs must go around by Leslie Park, a route that bypasses many businesses,” said Stewart; he was backed by Thorne Mayor Terry Murdock who suggested also allowing ATVs to travel on back roads. “The economic potential is huge and it would improve tourism in the area immensely. It would be like having
people taking a vacation here every weekend,” added Murdock.
According to Durocher, allowing ATVs to travel back roads and alongside the PPJ would not be an easy task. “Every road used by the ATVs would first have to be approved by the Ministry of Transport and in many areas there is no space alongside the PPJ trail so roads would have to be built. Who is going to pay for the construction and maintenance?” he asked, noting the added worry that some ATVs may use the actual PPJ instead, jeopardizing the safety of those using the trail.  
“If they’re travelling beside the trail, there will be some on the trail,”
stated Sandra Murray, Mayor of Shawville.
The issue has received a lot of response from the public, with about 20,000 views, over 200 shares, and over 75 comments on the Journal’s Facebook page. The responses were mixed, with some in favour of the idea, and others not.
“If we can share Highway 148 with pedal bikes and pedestrians, we can share the PPJ with ATVs. We have to start somewhere, so why not start here. It’s a great idea and would create a few jobs in the area. I would ride more often,” posted Phillippe Paquette, a Campbell’s Bay resident.
“Having four-wheelers on the PPJ defeats the purpose of a bike trail. The ATVs will constantly be chewing up the surface. As a user of this path, I can say that allowing ATVs on the trail will destroy it. The shoulder is grass. How long before it turns to mud and destroys the integrity of the trail? … What we really need is to finish the trail along the old rail lines all the way to Aylmer; a vital link is missing. If
we want to draw tourists to the Pontiac, they will also need places to stay,” posted Lee Bourdon.
A five-mayor committee was formed and they will meet with the Sûreté du Quebec, the Pontiac Quad Club, the Ministry of Transport, and others in the coming weeks to discuss the idea further.