The Village of Clinton is exploring the possibility of allowing all-terrain vehicle users on local streets to access downtown services and businesses.
Council on Wednesday directed staff to explore the feasibility of creating a bylaw to allow ATVers to ride from the Gold Rush Snowmobile trailhead on Station Road into town for food, gas and lodgings. At the moment, unlicensed, off-road vehicles cannot be operated on any municipal streets in Clinton.
The decision followed a pitch earlier this month by the Clinton Outdoor Sportsmen Association, who highlighted the economic benefits of having ATVs stop in town.
Association member Rolly Higginbottom said his group is willing to kick in $1,000 toward signage on the proposed routes, which include Engelmann Lane, Dewdney Avenue and Carson Street and Cariboo Crescent, which lead straight to the Nomad Motel, Cariboo Lodge and the Round-Up Motel.
“It’s kind of exciting,” he said. “The town should be pleased with it.”
CAO Murray Daly said staff plans to have more discussions with the RCMP and other places like Sicamous, Tahsis, Valemount and Wells that have similar policies in place.
He noted those jurisdictions don’t have a highway running through town like Clinton, which makes it problematic for the village. ATVers are not be allowed to cross the highway unless they have an operations permit from the RCMP, as well as additional insurance from ICBC. Without a permit, Daly said, the move could be unfair to those businesses on the other side of the street.
“We want to ensure fairness. If the reason behind it is to provide economic benefits for businesses, are you only going to benefit the businesses on the one side of the highway?”
However, Higginbottom said this is an opportunity to keep people in the community rather than them packing up at the trail end and driving south.
Originating in the 1850s, the Gold Rush Trail is the route along which many people travelled in the hopes of striking gold. Today, it is a popular route for those who like to ATV, hike, bike or dirt bike and stretches through 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache, Horsefly, Likely and Wells.