Government Introduces Offhighway Vehicle Action Plan

first_img enforcing mandatory registration with a dedicated enforcement unit; making training and certification programs mandatory; restricting off-highway vehicle use among youth and limiting the engine size of vehicles used by young people; and strengthening legislation to better protect private and public lands, wilderness and ecologically sensitive areas. An action plan for the use of off-highway vehicles in Nova Scotia that addresses issues such as enforcement and protection of property was introduced today, Oct. 12. The plan is based on the recommendations of a Voluntary Planning Task Force report on off-highway vehicle use. Thirty-seven of the task force’s 39 recommendations — which focused on public safety, prevention of environmental damage and protection of property rights and wilderness areas — have been accepted by government. In some cases they are being acted upon exactly as proposed. Other recommendations will be modified before they are implemented. “We recognize the need to ensure a balanced approach to the use of off-highway vehicles,” said Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt. “Our action plan addresses the enforcement, safety, protection of property, and environmental concerns of Nova Scotians.” Key areas to be implemented include: Work is already underway on many of the recommendations, with the others to be implemented within two years. The two recommendations that are not being accepted at this time are: larger licence plates and stickers on off-highway vehicles; and the display of two plates or stickers, versus the one currently required. They will be reviewed again once all other recommendations are in place. Off-highway vehicles include four and three wheelers, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles. There is a large and growing number of off-highway vehicles being used in Nova Scotia, with 37,040 registered in the province as of Dec. 31, 2004, compared to 32,407 in 2003. It is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 60,000 off-highway vehicles in use in Nova Scotia, and 5,000 new vehicles are sold each year. In March 2003, the province asked the Voluntary Planning Board to hold consultations, conduct research and make recommendations on the use of off-highway vehicles. In November 2004, the task force presented its findings, including 39 recommendations to government. An interdepartmental committee representing nine government departments was then set-up to review each recommendation and the potential impacts. Details of the province’s action plan can be found on the Department of Natural Resources website at www.gov.ns.ca/natr

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