All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and snowmobile users in Baddeck and Oxford will have new places to cross busy roads, thanks to a partnership with the local municipalities and trail associations.
“Road safety is always our first priority,” said Geoff MacLellan, Minister, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “We’ve worked with ATV and snowmobile associations to find safe highway crossing solutions that also benefit other trail users. The structures we’re building in Baddeck and Oxford will connect to the existing trails network, helping to increase trail activity for all, as well as increasing the economic benefits that go with it.”
The province is building a highway overpass, to carry a new active transportation trail in Baddeck over Highway 105, and a tunnel in Oxford that runs under the connector road into Oxford at Exit 6 off Highway 104. The total provincial investment for both structures is $2 million plus an additional $535,000 from the Trans Canada Trail Association for the Oxford tunnel.
There are more than 38,000 registered off-highway vehicle users in Nova Scotia. In 2014-15 the economic impact of direct spending by those off-highway vehicle riders was $189.4 million.
“In a small area like Baddeck, having safe access to the village by snowmobile opens up more opportunities to market our winter tourism. Businesses can remain open throughout the winter months, keeping more people employed,” said Darren Baker, president of the Baddeck Snowmobile Club. “It’s great to see the government recognizing the economic impact that the off-highway vehicle community has in the province.”
The province is also working to introduce a series of pilot projects to boost off-highway trail connections. The pilots will increase opportunities for off-highway vehicle users who hold a valid driver’s license to operate within the right of way on select sections of provincial roads. Nine communities being considered for the pilot project are:
— Amherst, Cumberland Co.
— Milton, Queens Co.
— Mira Gut, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
— New Germany, Lunenburg Co.
— Porters Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality
— Sherbrooke, Guysborough Co.
— Ship Harbour, Halifax Regional Municipality
— Walton, Hants Co.
— Weymouth, Digby Co.
“The pilots are great news for the ever-growing sport associated with ATV’s and snowmobiles in the province,” said Dan Fraser, president of the Isle Royale ATV Club in Sydney. “More access along many of the unpaved roads in the province and access to amenities within communities along highways has many benefits for families who enjoy this type of activity and for the entire tourism economy of Nova Scotia.”