Original Published on Oct 07, 2022 at 16:46

By Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Off-road vehicle use and Cavan Monaghan Township’s relationship with the City  of Peterborough were among the issues discussed at a candidates’ meeting Tuesday  night featuring Ward 2 (Cavan) hopefuls along with candidates running for mayor  and deputy mayor in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

Moderator J. Murray Jones — Peterborough County warden and Douro-Dummer  Township mayor — relayed questions from constituents at North Cavan Public  School. 

On off-road vehicles (ORVs) — Cavan Monaghan prohibits their use on township  roads — numerous candidates said they would support resuming talks about the  issue.

“I see no reason why ORVs can’t be used on township roads,” said former  Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, who’s running to become deputy mayor against  Coun. Ryan Huntley. 

“Mostly what I hear from people (who oppose ORV use) is hooliganism. (The  majority doesn’t) ride fast. They’re not looking to terrorize the roads and a  lot of them are used for utility …,” continued Del Mastro, adding that he’d back  a “common sense, common ground position that allows ORV riders to use township  roads.” 

Ward 2 candidate Valerie Kent said, “If the operator has a valid driver’s  licence, is wearing a helmet and is conforming to all the requirements of the  safe operation of a vehicle, they should be able to use the road.” 

Huntley said current ORV rules on township roads are the result of  two-and-a-half years of talks that ultimately “kept breaking down.” 

“It became an ‘all or nothing’ conversation … When we were pressed and were  told it’s ‘all or nothing’, council went with nothing. I’m willing to have more  conversations about this if something comes to the table that does make sense —  not ‘all or nothing.’ That’s how I stood before and that’s how I still stand  today.” 

Former Peterborough mayor and Cavan Monaghan mayoral hopeful Daryl Bennett  said prohibition isn’t the answer. 

“We can come up with a plan that makes it workable for people who want to use  an ATV in a business or farm related scenario or beyond to ensure they get  things done,” he said. 

Ward 2 candidate Gerry Byrne said “if there’s an issue with some (drivers) …  don’t punish everyone in the township. It’s a rural community. It fits and  people want it.” 

On the township’s relationship with the city, the conversation turned to the  decades-long issue of annexation. 

“I get discouraged when I come into the City of Peterborough during election  time and I only see the same names on the same signs,” said Deputy Mayor Matthew  Graham, who’s running for mayor.

“There’s a cycle and they’re not new and that’s annexation 101. It’s not a  new idea. It’s not helping anybody. What we really need is a new attitude and a  new perspective to change the course of the conversation.”

Ward 2 incumbent Bill Shaw said communication is the cornerstone of  co-operation. “We have reached olive branches out to the city on a few occasions  with no response,” adding that he hopes progress can be made with a new  council.

Bennett spoke about the relationship from the city’s perspective. 

“We have very poor communications with the city. I was on the other side for  a period of time. I know what it felt like because there wasn’t the  communication there should have been,” he said. 

“They think they have a need for acreage and yet they just approved their  official plan which said we have all the land we need for the next 30 years, so  why are they even talking about it?”

Ward 2 hopeful Janet Heeringa said maintaining good relations with the city,  while “not giving into what they want” will be key for the incoming council.

This item reprinted with permission from   The Peterborough Examiner   Peterborough, Ontario

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