Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett (right) chats with Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Director Mark Doratti (left) and Spectra Power Sports owner Heino Seibert Thursday after she announced the province's plan to but off-road vehicle registration fees into a new trail management fund.

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett (right) chats with Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Director Mark Doratti (left) and Spectra Power Sports owner Heino Seibert Thursday after she announced the province's plan to but off-road vehicle registration fees into a new trail management fund.

Off-road vehicle fees go to trail upgrades

Off-road vehicle (ORV) registration fees to fund trail upgrades under new provincial program.

Using off-road vehicle (ORV) registration fees to fund trail upgrades is a great step for the sledding and ORV act, said Williams Lake Powder Kings Snowmobile Club president Mark Snowball.

Snowball was responding to Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett’s  announcement Thursday in Williams Lake that the provincial government is going to use money collected from ORV registrations for  a new ORV Trail Management sub account.

“People have been wondering where the funds are going,” Snowball said. “It’s good to hear that they are going to local places for upgrades and trail systems.”

Barnett said the government made a commitment that once the fund got to a certain level, where it paid for itself, the money would go back into trails.

“We have $320,000 in the account and it starts off today,” Barnett said.

In 2014 voluntary registration at a cost of $48 began for ORVs in B.C. and in 2015 became mandatory.

Barnett said the Ministry of Forests will administer the fund and project applications will be available once formal guidelines and an application process are in place.

Heino Seibert, owner of Spectra Power Sports, said the news is wonderful.

“We have always been in favour of registration. Seibert said. “I am just surprised that it happened so rapidly that they recovered the costs and can put the money into trails.”

ORV registration has made his job easier, Seibert added.

“If you bring in a vehicle to trade you can prove that you own it,” Seibert said. “Prior to registration we had to take someone’s word for it. Short of doing an RCMP search to make sure it wasn’t stolen, we had no way of knowing they were the legal owner.”

Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce director Mark Doratti said it was great news for businesses, the local community and for tourism.