MRC continues to discuss ATVs on Cycloparc PPJ

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As Statistics Canada indicates, our communities in the Pontiac and surrounding area are aging and dwindling.  Many local seniors use the Pontiac’s PPJ trail to walk, bike, and enjoy nature while increasing their mental and physical health.

As Statistics Canada indicates, our communities in the Pontiac and surrounding area are aging and dwindling.  Many local seniors use the Pontiac’s PPJ trail to walk, bike, and enjoy nature while increasing their mental and physical health.
The Municipality of Waltham initiated a motion asking the MRC to allow ATVs use of the Cycloparc PPJ in March 2018, stating ATVs will increase business in their town and that the trail is underused by cyclists. How short sighted this is!  Many local businesses are using direct marketing strategies or social media to attract cyclists and other tourists from Ontario and Quebec, to enjoy the less crowded trails and beautiful nature in the Pontiac.
There are many tools and creative means to inject tourism dollars into our region.  According to a CBC article published in 2014, Twin Bridges, a town of 400 in Montana that markets itself as a fly-fishing destination, decided to welcome cyclists.  A resident convinced the town to donate $9,000 to construct a basic shelter for cyclists and they asked visitors to make donations for its maintenance. Word quickly spread and local businesses benefited from the rise in cycling visitors.
The MRC and Waltham should be looking at other solutions to extend ATV trails.  Let people peacefully and safely enjoy the one trail that is available to everyone who wants to walk, cycle, ride an electric scooter or other non-motorized vehicle.  This trail has been designated to help the physical fitness of the citizens of the Pontiac.
It’s time to update community strategies to drive tourism!

Catherine Caouette
MANSFIELD