Police say enforcing snowmobile rules on Trans Canada Trail is a challenge

Snowmobile on Jonathan Pack Street in Stittsville.

Ottawa Police do monitor the Trans Canada Trail for illegal snowmobiles, but they say enforcement of the rules is a challenge.

Reader Patrick Publow recently contacted us about his concerns with snowmobiles on the Trans Canada Trail. They’re not permitted on the trail, and city councillor Shad Qadri recently asked residents to report any sightings to the police.

“The snowmobilers don’t affect me personally as I don’t live on the trail,” wrote Publow in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca. “In our previous home, they used to ride across our lawn parallel to the street.  And there were always snow mobile tracks on the paths in Bell Park which made me nervous walking there in the winter time with our dog.  So I do find it irritating the way they flaunt the laws and potentially people’s safety. ”

Publow noted that snowmobilers are able to easily access the trail eastward off West Ridge because they can just drive around the small bar/gate at the entrance.

“I wonder if it might be possible, for the winter months so as not to overly obstruct bikes in the summer, to have a longer and more effective gate installed,” asked Publow in a letter to city councillor Shad Qadri.

(A few winters ago we used to have a neighbour who regularly drove his snowmobile across Bandmaster Park, in the middle of the Fairwinds subdivision. I’ve seen several comments on Twitter this winter about snowmobile sightings around Stittsville. So it’s definitely not just an issue on the Trans Canada Trail.)

I was curious about what enforcement was being done by the Ottawa police, and if they had actually ever charged anyone with driving illegally on the Trans Canada Trial. Here’s the response I received from Constable Lori Fahey, Community Police Centre Officer for Kanata/Stittsville:

“Monitoring and enforcing activity on the trail can be challenging and it was undertaken by two of our specialty units and our general Patrol Officers (for their attention as resources allowed). The original complaint was forwarded to members of the Marine, Dive and Trail unit and their responsibilities include ongoing attention to the area on their snowmachines. The complaint was also sent to our West District Traffic Enforcement team for their follow up and they have been frequenting the area of the Trail near West Ridge where the use of the Trail by Snow machines becomes prohibited.

I have sent a request to the teams for their input, but at this time, I do not have any stats for enforcement.”

Are snowmobiles a problem in your area of Stittsville? Tell us about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca



3 thoughts on “Police say enforcing snowmobile rules on Trans Canada Trail is a challenge”

  1. In my correspondence with Councillor Qadri, on the topic of making the gate more effective, Feb 5 he responded: “Thank you for your question. I will investigate with City Staff to determine how feasible your suggestion is. I will be back in touch with you regarding this matter.”

    An important thing to remember is his additional comment: ” I do continue to encourage all those who witness this act to call the Police at 613-230-6211. Although they may not be able to catch the snowmobilers in the act of what you are seeing, it does allow them to include this concern into their stats and help to have this dangerous infractions at this location viewed as a potential hot spot for the Police to monitor.”

  2. Yesterday, in the middle of the day, a snowmobile was going back and forth along the path behind my house on Elm Cres. This is a bike/walking path to a park and the kids use the slight hill to toboggan down.

  3. Snowmobiles go past my house on Norway Spruce St almost daily. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if they kept to a safe speed, which they rarely do. For a snowmobile on the road, even the speed limit is not a safe speed.

    I also know that they’re headed to the portion of the trail between Main & West Ridge, where they’re not supposed to ride. They use the small path beside the Ottawa Waldorf School to access the trail since there are no bars or gates there.

    I would like to use this portion of the trail to walk my dog, but I won’t go near it in the winter since the snowmobiles make it too dangerous.

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