ATV's on the Trestle Trail Bridge has finally been settled, with a definitive "no." However the Queens ATV Association, the group that pitched the idea, deserved better treatment than they got.
When an opportunity to do something different comes along, it should be explored. The public has the right to respond, and they certainly did in this case.
It became obvious fairly soon the support was not there to have ATV's on the Trestle Trail Bridge. It wasn't a unanimous opposition, but the comments The Advance has received over the years shows about three quarters of the writers were against it. It isn't a scientific approach, but it certainly showed the direction things were going.
Council made a motion to allow access, however it wasn't as simple as that. They had questions they wanted answered.
Council made a list of requirements in 2010 that should have sent up warning flags. They were hefty demands, including getting the bridge certified by an engineer and assuming liability for use of the bridge. There was no mention of economic impact studies
Reading between the lines points to a council that was leaning heavily towards a "no" decision.
To the ATV Association's credit, they answered all the questions they could and created a thorough plan of action. They hired Ekistics Planning and Design, which created several routes they could use and ways to mitigate some of the issues brought up by the public.
It would have been interesting to see what the economic impact might have been on the community, but even if there were five months or five years to do the study it is doubtful minds would have been changed. In the four years since this first came up, public support, or lack there of, has barely budged.
Therein lies another issue. The Region of Queens has put economics on the forefront, but it can't be at the expense of the public. See the Port Mouton Bay fish farm for the mess that causes. If there is that much opposition to something, it is the duty of elected representatives to listen to that.
Our elected representatives can try to change our minds of course. They can present studies, make compromises, or have a healthy debate. In theory though they still need to listen to the majority, not the dollars.
Even if the answer was "no" two years ago, when the Ekistics report was presented, it still would have given the ATV Association an answer. Instead they were left in limbo until now. It was just a waste of the association’s time and money to wait this long.
The new council inherited a four-year-old problem, though there were some sitting that are still there now. If it was a new presentation, perhaps we might have gotten a better idea of some of the economic spinoff. However the ATV Association had waited long enough for an answer, and deserved one.
No pitch for something will ever be perfect, and no response will ever please everyone. However this case will serve as an example of what not to do.