Port McNeill councillor Graham MacDonald wants to see ATV use and ATV tourism flourish on the North Island.
MacDonald provided Port McNeill council with a letter from the Quad Riders ATV Association of British Columbia, which included numerous facts regarding ATV use and ATV tourism in B.C.
“The provincial Trails Strategy for British Columbia confirms that trails in B.C. serve a diverse multifunctional role, including transportation, tourism and leisure,” wrote Kim Smith, Land &Environment/General Manager of the Quad Riders ATV Association of B.C.
“The links between traditional tourism and outdoor recreation are getting stronger, with increased economic benefits to be gained if trails are designed and managed as a network of interlinked connections between communities and a range of attractions.”
Smith stated the Districts of Tumbler Ridge, Elkford and Sayward allow ORV riders to obtain an operation permit that allows them to travel on designated public roads to access fuel/food/lodging in town, which is attracting many new visitors.
Smith added the villages of “Tahsis and Zeballos are working on the Community Unity ATV Trail System that has the potential to connect communities from East to West right across Vancouver Island.”
Smith says the ATV rider demographic includes family folks and mature adults, with above average income that enjoys outdoor recreation, cultural activities, dining out with preferences to camping near lakes and rivers, plans trips around specific destinations and are willing to travel.
“In short they are the perfect tourist, as many are retired with lots of time to travel, utilizing all four seasons in many areas.”
MacDonald said at the council meeting, ATV tourism is “a new industry and they’re now in Gold River and Sayward, and they want to move north.”
MacDonald added he thinks council should contact local police and make arrangements to make sure ATV tourism is welcome.
Mayor Shirley Ackland said Port McNeill’s local police last year had two white quads, “and they actually had a ‘quad squad’ that went out to ensure that people who were using ATV’s were doing it in a respectful manner and making sure they weren’t using the roads they didn’t have permission to be on.”
MacDonald stressed ATV tourism is “a perfect example of an offseason business. This is a 12 months a year industry, and we’re not very far off the back roads.”
Council agreed to invite Sgt. Andy Phillips to their meeting next month to give an update on ATV use around the North Island.