Access will be granted for a gravel road with a gated entrance but only on a restricted basis.
A resident previously wrote Bay Roberts council regarding a gate installed in front of a gravel road that would link Shearstown to the Cat Hills area; it intersects with Shearstown Road. Boulders had also been placed beside the gate by the town. A petition was presented with more than 200 signatures of local residents.
The matter was referred to the town's public works committee and raised again at council's May 28 meeting. Deputy-Mayor Walter Yetman said the committee suggested the gate should remain in place but with boulders removed from one side to permit ATV access.
"RCMP were contacted and they said they would support whatever decision council made," Yetman said, noting the gate and boulders were initially set up at the request of town enforcement.
According to Yetman, there were farmers in Shearstown looking to use the road to access the Cat Hills area. He said the town could provide keys to those farmers to open the gate when needed.
As for ATVs, the deputy mayor said this road gives them easy access to other trails in the area and it would be preferable to have them on the gravel road rather than accessing the main road to reach the trails. He also indicated Newfoundland Power may, at times, require access to the area through the gate.
Mayor Philip Wood agreed with the move, stating it would increase safety to offer a route for ATV users that would keep them off main roads.
Asked by a fellow councillor why the gate was installed in the first place, Yetman said it was to protect town infrastructure and to prevent larger vehicles from accessing the gravel road.
"We have manholes and our water lines go up there," the deputy mayor said. "When the water lines (were installed in the area), that's when the road was renovated."
Coun. Dean Franey said the town should keep an eye on how this arrangement goes, as ATVs using this gravel road to access other trails will end up passing some houses once they go up the hill.
The motion to remove the boulders and offer gate access with a key was approved unanimously.