TOYA RESPONSE to the SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT
1. Thank you to the members of the Select Committee, the other groups who took the time to present to the committee, and the citizens who participated in the meetings and through the survey.
2. It is clear that the majority of Yukon people want the issue of ATV use and mis-use addressed through legislation, education, and effective enforcement, and so do we.
3. We appreciate that the Select Committee acknowledged “... we have a duty to address this issue, today ...”.
4. We also appreciate that the Select Committee acknowledged “...strong arguments had been made for further restrictions on off- road vehicle access to some areas...”
5. We agree with the Select Committee when it acknowledged its own lack of expertise in terms of determining which areas should be restricted, and we appreciate the candor of the committee on this issue.
6. We agree with the Select Committee when it acknowledged “... this responsibility becomes even more urgent when the potential population growth over the next ten years is considered” and “... conflicts between user groups will continue to escalate”.
7. In terms of the actual recommendations, we believe that recommendation # 14 is the most important of them all, and we support the Select Committee’s clear decision that legislative changes need to be made in order to protect our Yukon environment, habitat, and wildlife. TOYA continues to support a designated trails option as the best way to do this, but we also believe that kind of decision is best left to a technical committee. (See below)
8. TOYA acknowledges that the recommendations on education are a starting point, but we point out that education by itself has not worked in a single other jurisdiction, and in fact going that route has led to increased damage in the interim and a larger problem when those jurisdictions got down to the difficult task of actually dealing with the problem.
9. We are very concerned that no recommendation was made in terms of registration/plating of these vehicles. This is an essential component for effective enforcement. We continue to recommend that ATV’s be registered and required to display a license plate. We continue to be opposed to mandatory insurance for vehicles that are not being used on public highways.
10.We are concerned that a process for moving forward was not recommended by the Select Committee. To this end, TOYA is proposing that an inter-departmental committee be struck by the government to study the issue of ORV’s in the Yukon and to make specific recommendations for changes based on the initial work of the Select Committee. This inter-departmental committee should have representation from TOYA, YORRA, and YCS to provide the committee with a balanced perspective on this very public issue.
11.TOYA is very disappointed that the committee did not recommend a moratorium on the creation of new trails. Three key groups in this process – those being TOYA, YORRA, and YCS, supported this. We will continue to lobby and advocate for a moratorium.
12.We would like to have seen a recommendation that research be done by government to identify two things. The first is the extent of damage that has been done to the Yukon environment. The second is an analysis of the various pieces of legislation that need to be considered in terms of making effective changes. This is essential to making informed and intelligent decisions about legislation. Staff at the Department of Environment should do this.
13.TOYA sees the Select Committee Report as a limited first step, with a lot of work left remaining, and the clock ticking on the Yukon’s environment, habitat, and wildlife. The Yukon is a lawless land with regard to ATV’s and that needs to be changed.
TOYA Steering Committee:
Vern Peters, Ken Taylor, Peter Harms, Tony Grabowski, Manfred Hoefs, Dennis Peters