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Why only Snowmobilers that have to Pay?


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Dear Editor,

What is considered a Personal Motorized Vehicle (PMV) used for recreation? Well in my opinion, a PMV used for recreation include dirt bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), side-by-side All Terrain Vehicle, dune buggies, snowmobile, etc. Which of these PMV’s are used year round in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Well that would be dirt bikes, ATV’s, and side-by-side ATV’s. What PMV is only used on snow and for the most part for only three months of the year on the island part of the province? Well that would be snowmobiles.

Now that we have determined what’s a PMV and what seasons it’s used in, let’s talk about the PMV T’Railway system in the province, specifically those operated and maintained by the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation (NLSF) and government. The provincial government is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the T’Railway system while the NLSF is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the trail system that does not fail under the T’Railway system. And during the snowmobile season the NLSF are responsible for grooming the T’Railway and the trail system that the provincial government rubber stamped for the NLSF as their responsibility, and by the way, without any consideration for the public using these trails.

So it has been determined that PMVs like ATVs and side-by-side ATVs use the T’Railway and the other trails maintained by the NLSF and the provincial government all year round, while snowmobile users are only using the trail for approximately three months of the year. Therefore, based on these facts, it can be concluded that when the NLSF and the provincial government does trail maintenance like alder removal, bridge and culvert installation and repairs, etc, and when the NLSF grooms these trails, it is done for all users without discrimination, but primarily for non-snowmobile users since they use the trails the most. It should be noted that the ATV and side-by-side ATV users are just as happy to see a groomer doing the trails as a snowmobiler is. I personally know individuals here in central Newfoundland and Labrador that only drive their snowmobiles off trail and use their ATVs on groomed trails because they don’t have to pay.

So if what I have stated above is to be factual, and I believe it is, then why is it that it’s only snowmobilers that are discriminated against and forced to pay a user fee to use the trail system? Well I don’t know what that answer is. I have for the past eight years tried to get that answer from NLSF and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, but to no avail. The Department of Services NL, Department of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation, and my MHA Clayton Forsey, refuses to answer my questions without explanation, but why? The fact of the matter is that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador just amended the “Motorized Snow Vehicle and All-Terrain Vehicle Act” to ensure that snowmobilers are further discriminated against and penalized for using a trail system that is used by all PMV users but only snowmobilers are paying a user fee.

I have no problem with user fees so long as everyone is treated fairly. I buy my trail pass every year but not without reservation. I get very frustrated when at a checkpoint a police officer is giving a ticket to a snowmobiler for not having a trail pass but in the meantime waves the ATV and side-by-side ATV users through the checkpoint because they don’t need a trail pass. This is wrong, but it seems that I’m the only one that thinks so. Our democracy is based on fairness for all not discrimination and unfairness against a selected group.

Brian Pollard

Bishop’s Falls

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