Charlottetown November 27. Island New Democrats leader Joe Byrne is asking MLAs from all parties to listen to petitioners on the proposal to open up public roads to ATV use and begin a process of consulting residents.

“Many Islanders have different way to enjoy the outdoors and ATV riders are one group with a legitimate request”, says Byrne. “However rural residents and other Trail and road users, including walkers, runners and cyclists need to have their opinions heard before such dramatic alteration to use of this public space. We are creating unnecessary  danger when we permit that class of vehicle to access the same space as people out walking, running or cycling.”

Residents who have chosen to live in rural PEI often make that decision because of their ability to enjoy their property. “This is being referred to as a pilot project and it it is not clear what criteria will be used to measure the outcomes. We have to be able to assess indicators like noise pollution, increased emissions, road use and maintenance as well as the effect on residents’ ability to enjoy their property,” says Byrne.

Island New Democrats support the petition presented in the Assembly on November 26 asking the Minister to maintain the status quo. Over 500 Islanders signed the petition supporting the residents of Evangeline and Miscouche in their request to stop the experiment.

“Pilot projects can be useful and need not be developed arbitrarily by the Minister. This project could have been less conflictive if residents in the area had been asked for their opinions prior to the announcement ,” concludes Byrne.