Carbonear council wants crack down on illegal ATV use

RCMP request public’s help by reporting incidents to police

Melissa Jenkins
Published on June 17, 2014
Trinity Conception RCMP Sgt. Greg Hicks (left) and Staff Sgt. Bud Bennett attended the Carbonear council meet June 16 to make a presentation.
Photo by Melissa Jenkins

The Town of Carbonear council meeting June 16 gave some insight into some issues that town is facing, including the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on public streets and parking at the Carbonear Swimming Pool.

The Trinity Conception RCMP made a stop at the meeting for a presentation on some of the top issues reported in the region.

Staff Sgt. Bud Bennett and Sgt. Greg Hicks were in attendance after Mayor George Butt contacted the detachment to set up a program similar to that of Bay Roberts.

Bay Roberts has a memorandum of understanding between its municipal enforcement officer (MEO) and the RCMP, and have been working together with a liasion. Butt requested the RCMP attend the meeting to discuss local issues, and the role of Carbonear’s MEO.

RCMP agreed to work with the town any way it can.

ATV issues

One of the main issues discussed by both the council and RCMP was the use of ATVs on main roadways in the town, as well as the unsafe operation of these vehicles.

Hicks explained there were only six reports of ATV use on the roads in Carbonear in the past 30 days, most of them anonymous. But councillors said they were hearing about many more incidents taking place that have not been reported.

Coun. Bill Bowman told the RCMP he regularly sees a “parade” of ATVs and dirt bikes travelling on Crowdy Street in the evenings. He said he, along with many others, are also guilty of not reporting the incidents.

Those who report the incidents to councillors have been told to contact the RCMP. Butt said if there are only six incidents reported, they didn’t follow that advice.

 For those who don’t want to leave their name when reporting an incident, the issue can only go so far, Hicks said.

“(The complainant) will have to be willing to give a statement and go to court,” he said, adding the witness statement would likely be the only way to get a conviction.

Coun. Brenda Trickett was quick to explain why many are afraid speak out.

“People don’t want to give their name because they don’t want to get their windows beat out,” she said.

Other councillors nodded in agreement.

Bennett and Hicks explained if more complaints come in, they will be documented and followed up on.

“We can’t do anything if the incident isn’t reported,” Bennett said.

“We need people to call,” Hicks added.

The number to the Harbour Grace detachment is 596-5014.

Safety an issue

Another concern with ATVs on the road is the safety of the rider.

“We are trying to find a safe way to deal with (ATVs on the roads),” Hicks said, explaining that preventing an injury or fatality would be the utmost priority.

Bowman said an incident in 2007 that saw a 14-year-old girl killed on Columbus Drive while crossing the road on an ATV could happen again.

A forum between the RCMP and residents of the town met at that time, and the incidents of ATVs on the road appeared to be declining.

“But this is a new generation of kids,” Bennett said. “The ones who were doing it before are likely not the ones doing it now.”

The officers said as long as the resources are available, they will do their best to follow up on detailed reports. License plate numbers that are reported will result in an officer visiting the home of the bike owner, said Hicks.

Congested parking

Meanwhile, another issue brought to council’s attention deals with parking at the Carbonear Swimming Pool.

A petition with some 90 names was handed to council this week to show discontent with the overcrowded parking lot in the mid-afternoons from parents of swimmers.

The parking lot, which is directly across the street from Carbonear Academy on Valley Road, has signs that say for pool patrons only.

The pavement extends from the former Summer Games sign at the end of the walking track to the end of the pool building. There is additional parking available outside the paved section, from the sign down to Paddy’s Garden, and on the other side from the building to the skatepark.

The reason being given for the congestion is school dismissal. Just before 3 p.m., there’s heavy traffic for students being picked up.

But the school has a pick-up and drop-off zone that Coun. Ray Noel, who has a grandchild who attends the school, said hasn’t been utilized correctly.

Parents are said to be parking in the pool’s parking lot and walking across the street at the crosswalk to pick up their children, instead of waiting in a lineup to get them at the door..

Although it isn’t expected to be an issue when school is out in a couple weeks, Kennedy, who has two kids in the school and is also the chair of the school council, confirmed it’s something the school council and school board were looking to address.

Kennedy also noted the extended parking lot is also not being used to its potential.

“If people were parking correctly, you could fit 100 cars in the lot,” he said, but added people aren’t parking with courtesy of other vehicles, and much fewer are able to park.

The council said they would look into the issue, and hopefully come up with a solution between them and the school board on how to handle the matter.