YORKTON - A request from Yorkton Sno Riders to extend the snowmobile trail system in the city to provide access to their new clubhouse on Myrtle Ave., was turned down by Yorkton Council Monday, well sort of.
The Public Hearing on the issue took place at the January 9, regular Council meeting. At that meeting there were no public comments brought forth and no written submissions were received, but the request had been deferred earlier by Council allowing feedback from the Protective Services Committee and CN to be provided.
A Protective Services Committee meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 19. Prior to the meeting, the Fire Chief received feedback from a CN representative that the proposed route could not be approved due to the inclusion of a new rail crossing, explained René Richard, Director of Engineering and Asset Management with the city.
In light of that feedback, a revised proposed route was developed and presented to the Protective Services Committee for their comments. This new route is contained to legal road right-of-ways, on City property, or through private property located at 41 York Road. The City has received communication from the Sno Riders indicating they have already received permission from the owner of 41 York Road to groom a trail through the property should Council decide to amend the bylaw, he added.
“During the Protective Services Committee meeting, the revised route was debated at great length,” said Richard.
The main concern expressed during the meeting pertained to the proximity of the revised route to the CN property south of York Road. More specifically, there were concerns expressed that, even though the revised route would be contained in a legal road right-of-way, should a snowmobiler wander away from the trail, it could present a safety concern, offered Richard.
“It should be noted that as part of Administration’s evaluation of the revised route, there is an assumption that snowmobilers would remain on the groomed trail and thus would not be encroaching on the railway right of way,” he said.
As background, Richard at a previous explained the club’s reasoning in requesting the trail addition.
The trail groomers are stored at the new clubhouse and are currently driving along Myrtle Avenue and York Road to connect to the existing trail system. Additionally, some members utilize their snowmobiles to attend club meetings with no trail access to the new clubhouse. The Club has requested an amendment to the bylaw to allow for a safe trail for snowmobilers to access an area near the new clubhouse across the street to attend meetings, and for the groomers to have a trail access not located along the street.
Councillor Chris Wyatt was not in favour of snowmobile access, suggesting the city only grant groomer access on the proposed route.
“I don’t think we want sleds around the train tracks at all,” he said.
Coun. Quinn Haider agreed.
“I’m of the same mindset as Councillor Wyatt,” he said.
Coun. Ken Chyz said the Sno Riders are “upstanding citizens.” Adding he saw no reason to think they would not follow the trail safely.
Ultimately Council moved to amend the route as proposed but only for the groomer operated by Sno Riders, not for snowmobiles.