SUMMERSIDE – Five off-highway vehicles were seized and several charges laid during a recent enforcement blitz on the Confederation Trail.
The Department of Justice and Summerside Police Services are monitoring the activity of ATVs and dirt bikes along the Confederation Trail.
Coun. Tina Mundy, chairman of the city’s police committee, told council that charges have been laid and off highway vehicles seized in an attempt to curb the illegal use on and damage to the Confederation Trail.
Mundy said on May 22, between Kensington and Summerside from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. police, including four conservation officers, and four departmental vehicles, made eight off highway vehicle stops and one attempted stop.
She said five off highway vehicles were seized and impounded.
“Infractions that were registered were no registration, trespassing, no helmets and off highway vehicle on the highway,” she said.
Patrols on the trail between Summerside and Kensington made note of considerable trail damage in the area from the vehicles.
“So, the police services stopped five dirt bikes in the same area,” Mundy said. “All were youth between 13 and 16 years. Two youth were transported home to their parents and four of the bikes were seized and towed.”
She said there were three adults stopped and one off highway vehicle was seized and towed.
“They also had one bike get away on the trail in Summerside but they know where he lives,” Mundy said.
Summerside Police Chief David Poirier he contacted the Department of Justice.
“I’ve been dealing with the manager of investigation and enforcement about the complaints and they have come up once,” Poirier said. “They have all the machinery. We’re planning another one for the fall. They have the bikes, the ATVs. We didn’t have much of a part at that time but this go around we’re going to try and get involved. We’ll have members at the intersections of all the trails whenever they’re doing their blitz.”
He said the province has been very co-operative in aiding police in dealing with this problem.
“One phone call and they'll come up and spend an afternoon or an evening here and help with the enforcement,” the chief said.
Poirier said since the May blitz the illegal activity has lessened.
“It dwindles down in the fall,” he said. “We still get the calls on them and in the pits near residential areas and we deal with them on a one-on-one basis. Since the blitz and the bikes were towed, it seems like education goes a long way.”
“It’s a warning to the people abusing it,” he said. “There’s no leniency. Zero tolerance. It is a safety issue. People use the trails to walk on. If they are apprehended on the trails there will be zero tolerance.”
The provincial Off-Highway Vehicle Act states: "no person shall operate an off-highway vehicle on the Confederation Trail unless, (a) the person holds a permit; and, (b) the permit is affixed to the off-highway vehicle."
An offence under this section carries a fine of $225.
The act also states off-highway vehicles are not allowed on any portion of highway in the province.
Doing so can result in fines ranging from the minimum $250 for a first-time offence to a maximum $1,000 for a second or subsequent offence.