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Respectful dialogue at ATV meeting
Wildwood Trailer Park manager Liz Bellai said she hopes she never has to peel someone off the pavement from a dirt bike accident in her neighbourhood.
Bellai frequently sees young dirt bike riders come off a trail adjacent to the highway and enter the cul de sac at the top of her trailer park.
“There are 13 kids living along that cul-de-sac and they are always playing outside right there,” she said, pointing to a grassy area across the lane from some trailers.
The trailer park and its roads are on private property.
Bellai has put signs up, but they disappear.
Area D Director Deb Bischoff said she has received concerns in writing similar to Bellai’s from people in the community who don’t know what else to do.
“Kids are roaring through stop signs, going 70, 80 miles an hour,” Bischoff said. “I was almost t-boned two months ago.”
Finally Bischoff, who in this case was not acting as a director, decided it was time to host a community information meeting with the RCMP and last week a meeting took place at the Wildwood school on Monday, Oct. 21.
“There was good respectful dialogue,” Bischoff said of the meeting, “About 30 people attended. It was a mix with all sectors of the community.”
Williams Lake Insp. Warren Brown, who attended the meeting, said the community seemed split.
“One side of the room expressed their concern over people riding dirt bikes down the streets at high rates of speed, running stop signs, causing a nuisance and concerned their children cannot play outside safely,” Brown said.
Other residents expressed their opinions that because they live more or less in a rural area, they should be allowed to drive ATVs and dirt bikes down the road, Brown said.
“They see nothing wrong with driving them to the gas station and filling up, despite the fact that all ATVs and dirt bikes are not licensed or insured.”
The RCMP do receive similar complaints occasionally from other rural communities, however, in Wildwood, it seems to have come to a boiling point with a few people, Brown said.
Bellai said the RCMP told parents at the meeting the fine for driving an unlicensed vehicle on a road is $600.
Bischoff has been coming to Wildwood for 18 years and said the beauty of the community is that a person can hop on a quad or a bike, ride respectfully and quietly down the side of the road for half a block or a block and access trails.
“It’s within what makes Wildwood special, but it’s been abused,” Bischoff said. “I kept telling the kids and the adults what you are doing is putting the specialness of Wildwood at jeopardy and starting to peeve off some of the people who have lived here for a long time.”
The bikes, she added, are large, high powered bikes.
If those kids got off the bikes and pushed them walking through the trailer park, it wouldn’t be a problem, Bischoff said.
“It was a good meeting and I can only hope the community grabs hold of it and says, ‘kids this is what you need to do, adults this is what you need to do,’ we want to protect the uniqueness of Wildwood.”