Crackdown on ATVs?

Authorities will target illegal ATV drivers in hamlets

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Traffic safety, speeding and all-terrain vehicles [ATVs] in hamlets are the top priorities for peace officers and bylaw officers in Big Lakes County in 2021.

At its meeting Feb. 24, council approved a recommendation to set priorities to focus on traffic safety to enforce speeding and patrol ATVs.

The recommendation was presented by Brett Hawken, director of community and corporate services.

ATVs and quads are a big concern for council members in Big Lakes.

“Police have been frustrated,” Reeve Ken Matthews says.

Some council members have expressed concern over the past several years about growing incidents of children driving ATVs, people driving all over the hamlets and many having disregard for others on the road and sidewalks, and driving in the dark without lights.

“Quads are everywhere in my hamlet, they’re racing,” Welch says.

“I think they should be fined.”

Grouard Councillor Fern Welch wants officers to come down hard.

Matthews says the laws should apply to all ages, even the youngest drivers.

“If kids are driving, parents should be responsible,” he says.

He even suggests council order officers in the county to focus on enforcing, not just educating violators.

However it was not further discussed.

“Through our contract with the Town of High Prairie peace officers, we have 20 hours a month to help improve visibility and enforce bylaw and provincial infractions within Big Lakes County,” Hawken says.

In 2021, administration wanted to get council’s recommendation on what problem infractions to specifically target to use that 20 hours more effectively.

“Based on complaints from council, our bylaw officer and the peace officers, we know that ATV and speeding infractions are common occurrences,” Hawken says.

“This recommendation will then lead to a work plan created by the Big Lakes bylaw officer and the Town peace officers to map out ways to enforce council’s priorities, but also track the increases or decreases in the number of complaints and infractions.”

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