Local realtor and outdoor recreation enthusiast Henry Van Soest is opposed to a proposed outdoor recreation vehicle act.

Local realtor and outdoor recreation enthusiast Henry Van Soest is opposed to a proposed outdoor recreation vehicle act.

Government aims to regulate ATVs

Williams Lake realtor and outdoor recreation enthusiast Henry Van Soest is not happy with a proposed outdoor recreational vehicle (ORV) act.

Williams Lake realtor and outdoor recreation enthusiast Henry Van Soest is not happy about a proposed outdoor recreational vehicle (ORV) act that would require licensing of all off-road vehicles.

“It’s a knee jerk reaction to bad apples,” Van Soest said Friday. “You get one bad apple in a bushel and the government seems to want to spend millions of dollars stopping that handful of individuals destroying land or using vehicles illegally.”

His goal, he warned, will be to stop the act before it gets going.

“You can’t legislate stupid out of people,” he said. “This is a bush machine, people use them in the wilderness and there’s very little enforcement. Even for a hunter, we rarely see conservation officers in the bush.”

License plates would be covered in mud and unreadable, he added.

B.C. is one of the last places in Canada that still has free reign for off-road vehicles, Van Soest argued.

“Ninety-five per cent of B.C. is Crown land. Crown land is entrusted to the B.C. government and is owned by you and me and every tax payer.”

It’s also a tax grab, he insisted.

Cariboo North MLA Donna Barnett said the act is in response to requests by many stakeholders.

“The associations and clubs asked for an act for registration so all vehicles can be registered,” Barnett said. “Snowmobiles have been registered and governed forever and a day.”

As a member of the minister’s ORV management framework committee, Barnett has attended several meetings with stakeholders.

“There has never been an act for ORVs to be registered,” she said. “They get stolen and there’s no way of tracing them.”

She argued that the act won’t be a detriment.

“It’s there because it was asked for. It’s not a tax grab, but will be a one-time registration license fee like the one paid on snowmobiles.”

Van Soest said the stakeholder groups involved in the committee do not represent the thousands of people in the province who enjoy outdoor vehicle recreation.

“Thousands of people do not belong to any clubs and have not participated with any government discussions,” he said.

He also alleged the act will cost millions of dollars to implement and additional millions of dollars to enforce.

“Once the act gets in, and I’m hoping it doesn’t, it puts these things under the same rules as the motor vehicle act. Lawyers will be the biggest beneficiaries.”

Without an act, people aren’t really in violation of anything, he said.

“You will see more restrictions come out as a result.”

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said the act will attempt to enhance safety measures to help reduce deaths or serious injuries, especially among youth, ensure there are more safe and convenient highway crossing to connect communities and trail systems, and involve a compliance and enforcement strategy focused on compliance through public information and education.

Public affairs officer Brennan Clarke said it is a complex issue.

“The ministry is seeking solutions that are fair to all user groups and it’s essential to take the time to get it right. There remain some unresolved issues raised by stakeholders, including the need for improved enforcement tools and keeping potential costs for registration as low as possible,” Clarke said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read