Offroad recreational drivers left in the dirt

Joan Butler
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With the T’Railway finally being developed into an official walking and bicycling trail, ATV and other motorized vehicle owners have lost their right to use the former railbed.

The ban is creating another problem, as this group of recreational vehicle owners has no official trail even though the town is supposed to develop a backcountry trail for motorized vehicle users.

The Town of Conception Bay South is regularly reminding residents that the 20-kilometre T’Railway from Topsail to Seal Cove is off limits for motorized vehicles.

Unfortunately, the reminders are being ignored by some motorized vehicle owners, especially those on dirt bikes.

These dirt bikes are not permitted on town or other roads, but they continue to be a common sight here in C.B.S. as they are popular recreational activity for many youth and adults. Owners have used the T’Railway for years and used our roads and highways to get to the former railbed.

We heard several weeks ago about how workers on the T’Railway were confronted by a dirt bike operator who apparently is not too happy about the ban.

The driver allegedly told workers that he has a right to be there and drove away erratically.

As an occasional walker of the T’Railway, I’ve seen dirt bikes — usually operated by youths — heading out local roads to get to the T’Railway and then speeding along the former track.  

Driving on the Foxtrap Access Road several weeks ago, two dirt bikes were barrelling along in front of me with their drivers performing wheelies at close to the speed limit. With no licence plates, it is difficult to report these drivers.

Some bike owners are obeying the ban, and instead of heading to the T’Railway they are using town roads to get to the back country near the Trans-Canada Highway or other areas.

The backcountry is where these motorized vehicles are supposed to be now that the T’Railway is being developed.

They are supposed to have access to the trail at various staging areas along a proposed ATV bypass route.

The town committed to the bypass route in 2012 as part of the plan to develop the T’Railway.

ATV and other motorized users maintained that they had a right to use the T’Railway so they were successful in getting the town to agree to an alternate route.

The town partnered with the Grand Concourse Authority — which has developed a network of trails in the region — to develop the T’Railway and work started earlier this year in the west end and will continue eastward. The redevelopment plans also include a series of storyboards along the trail featuring the history of our communities.  

According to the town’s website, the alternative bypass trail work is progressing, but not very fast, so motorized vehicles are left with no trail.

The town has much work to do on the route, such as negotiate with neighbouring municipalities — primarily St. John’s and Holyrood — for permission to develop the trail through their boundaries.

Proposals for funding are in the works to complete the detailed design and engineering work.

Once (or if) funding is obtained, that work has to be completed and then there will be more proposals for funding for construction.

Despite years of planning to redevelop and get motorized vehicles off the T’Railway, there is still no trail for these motorized vehicles, which are a fixture here in C.B.S. and other parts of the province.

The ATV bypass route is likely several years away, so our town will continue to have a problem with motorized vehicles on the T’Railway and local roads.    

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of Kelligrews, Conception Bay South. She can be reached

by email at joanbutler@ymail.com.

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, Grand Concourse Authority

Geographic location: C.B.S., Seal Cove, Foxtrap Access Road Kelligrews

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Recent comments

  • jason
    June 12, 2014 - 16:42

    Listen I am an ATV rider myself and would love to be able to ride a nice trail across the whole island. The issue is the bad apples in the bunch spoiling it for everyone. I walked the CBS trail daily years ago but gave it up as people would be flying on dirt bikes and atvs. Cant imagine the noise to residents in the area with dirt bikes and atvs with loud exhausts flying back and forth at all hours. Its beautiful trail and the only ones to blame for the ban is the minority group of atv users

  • Kevin
    June 12, 2014 - 12:59

    I agree with Max, 100%. The trailway for ATV's should have been done first! Who contributes the most to the economy, walkers going a kilometer or two or people paying thousands of dollars for machines, fuel, lunches when travelling, etc. Not saying the walking trail is not a nice addition, it is beautiful and has its place, but it could have been done after the atv trail. CBS is so short-sighted on this and yet they think they are a progressive town, really! Never mind the occasional few idiots making everyone look bad, there are those type in every lot. I am referring to the honest hard working, respectful individuals that like to get on their machine and go for a relaxing ride.

  • Max
    June 12, 2014 - 05:29

    This will be just like Corner Brook. When the new highway cut off the T'railway in Corner Brook, a new trail was suppose to be put in. This didn't happen and if you want to get past that city now on a ATV it has to be towed. The same will happen here in CBS. I think the bypass trail should have been put in first. But it wasn't and now it won't be put in at all. The problems that are occurring with dirt bikes and ATV's in CBS have been brought on by the CBS council by closing the T'railway to ATV's and dirt bikes to early.