Residents concerned at excessive use of dirt bikes/ATVs on former gravel pits

June 18, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Dirt bike and ATV riders don’t seem to be getting the message that they shouldn’t be riding their vehicles in former gravel pits, located off Veteran’s Way in Orangeville.

Police have received numerous complaints from local residents about vehicles riding at the location. Most of the complaints have been noise-related.

The land is private property and there are signs at entrances stating that the area is off limits to the public.

Police are asking for cooperation from members of the public to respect the fact that the land is private property and not for public use.

The issue was debated at length at a recent meeting of Orangeville Council, with two residents of the area explaining how excessive use of the bikes in recent months had drastically impacted their ability to “enjoy their property”.

“We can often hear the bikes when we’re inside our homes, even with all of our windows closed,” said Marilyn Somerville. “I have documented 140 phone calls to police since 2013. We find it very frustrating that this problem has not been resolved for several years. We often have to stop activities to phone the police. The shrill and loud noise of dirt bikers prevents us from enjoying our property. On several occasions we have had to move gatherings from our backyard to inside our home.”

She added, “We are asking for Council’s support to develop a plan of action to ensure the motorized trespassers are apprehended and charged without any warning, and that their access to these properties be permanently halted.”

Some riders also use the roadways to travel to and from the land.

Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles need to be licensed, insured, and in a safe operating condition. This includes the appropriate classification of driver’s license to lawfully operate the vehicle.

Orangeville Police have issued several warnings that people caught using the land illegal will be subject to charges.

Officers will continue to enforce the laws under the Trespass to Property Act, Highway Traffic Act, Off-Road Vehicles Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, Town of Orangeville By-Laws, and Criminal Code of Canada.

If caught on the roadway or operating a dirt bike or all-terrain vehicle in the pits off of Veteran’s Way, rider could face a list of charges including: Trespassing, no insurance, no license, no permit, fail to stop for police, and fail to wear a proper helmet. 

Geoff Mullin, who resides on County Road 16, says he’s been dealing with this issue ever since he moved into his home in 2002. He too has documented over 100 calls to OPS related to dirt bikes and ATVs trespassing on the nearby property. While he is upset by the noise generated by the bikes, he said the bikers’ use of the land could have a detrimental effect on the Town’s drinking water supply.

“In 2019, I cooperated with Stantech, who established the water quality of the Pullen Well. The Pullen Well is located in Amaranth, on the west side of County Road 16. While it was underway, security was installed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a whole month to protect the (water and testing procedure),” Mr. Mullin said. “While this was happening, a sign was erected north of Broadway, warning motorists this was a drinking water protection area. If the well is a mere 40 feet from the trail blazed from the motorized trespassers, what protection is there?”

He added, “All drinking water facilities should be protected from motorized trespassers.”

Police continue to keep an eye on the area and are encouraging local residents to give them a call if they know riders are out on the pits.

With files from Mike Baker

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.