Monday, November 14, 2011

City Council jerks... their knee... at snowmobiles

So this is what it takes, one guy gets killed in Transcona and suddenly we're going to ban snowmobiles in the city. Maybe we should ban cars too... it seems that we have a lot of deaths as a result of vehicle collisions, and some are pedestrians! If we banned cars we could make a REAL impact. Now THAT would put us on the map.

Let me preface all this by admitting that I do indeed have one of these dreaded two stroke machines capable of travelling at speeds that exceed the legal posted speed on any highway in the country. That admitted, I do NOT use my machine in Winnipeg or the surrounding area. That makes me able to see both sides... sort of.

Manitoba is blessed with snow (or cursed with it) for about four months of the year. Think about that. For a third of the year we have snow, suitable for riding one of those wretched machines. Frankly, I hate winter. Riding my sled every once in a while helps make the long winter bearable. Maybe you don't get that (Russ Wyatt) but I really don't care if you "get it" or not.

Russ was heard saying, "I don't see the right to snowmobile in the charter or rights and freedoms". Wow Russ. You're a pretty smart guy. It's not enshrined in the UNESCO bill of human rights either, and unfortunately, bad decisions aren't specifically outlawed in one of those documents, yet bad decisions continue to be made.

It was a bad decision to walk in a field in the dark "well off the path".  Is walking "well off the path" in the dark wearing non-reflective clothing (assumed) enshrined in the charter Russ? (WFP 01/14/11)

Simply put. Accidents happen. How can this be avoided. Russ has no idea aside from a favourite mantra. "BAN THEM!".

Other cities have found ways to make this work... but not here. NO, not in Winnipeg, this frozen pimple on the prairie you'd likely rather fly over when it's 30 below than drive through, even if the pot holes are filled with ice. Our illustrious Police Chief, ever the yes man, says, "I think it's the right way to go, I know that the council has to make that decision and we'll abide by whatever council decides, I believe there should be a ban in the City of Winnipeg,"

Sure you do Chief. After all, these machines are SUCH a problem. One guy dies, doing something stupid and suddenly our Chief has better things to do than find the North End shooter, like get his 'copter out there after those law breaking criminals riding their infernal machines in the City.

Let's be clear about the words, "In the City", because it means different things in different places. In Sault Ste. Marie it means IN the city! On the roads, through tunnels under the freeway, along designated roads that are willing to rent hotel rooms, sell food and fuel to sledders... yup, that's IN the city.

Kenora? Yup...seems to work there. The biggest issue in Kenora is that the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs no longer maintains the trails because (as I understand the issue) Kenora wants everyone to be able to use the trails within the city without the need to buy a OFSC pass (similar to Manitoba's Snoman pass). Ride into Kenora, go to Canadian Tire, Timmies, get fuel, all while using the shoulder or sidewalk. TOTAL ANARCHY? I think not. It's called embracing reality. 

"Oh sure" you say. "A city with 75,000 people. You can't compare them to Winnipeg. Well we're not talking about riding a sled down Henderson Hwy, or Pembina Hwy, We're talking about a few areas where residents could access outlying areas and trails from within the city.

Surely the south end of Charleswood isn't out of bounds if we were to compare it to Timmins. Like the whole City of Timmins? Or Transcona in comparison to Sudbury,  (no offense intended to people from Sudbury. We know no one wants to think Transcona is being compared to them. This is meerly with respect to accesibility via snowmobiles)

Would it be so bad if the Chief sat down with a map and a beer and came up with some designated areas that sleds COULD be operated in? Perhaps when he gets to his second brew he could coordinate the areas with filling stations and stores, maybe even some restraunts. On his third brewskie he could add proximity to the extensive trail system and some parks where enthusiasts could park their trucks and trailers before embarking on some riding for the day. By that time, I'm pretty sure he'll be as useless as Paula Havixbeck and her quote, "I really do think this was a simple thing that we could have done even sooner to just make sure that it had the backing,"

Honestly, sledders bring revenue to places where they are welcomed. How hard could it be to accommodate SOME snowmobiling?

Recently an AT bridge was built across Hwy 59 at Birds Hill Park. I was listening to a radio show and the question was asked about snowmobiles using the bridge, since crossing Hwy 59 from the floodway to the 59er or the park was dangerous. The rep from the Bike to the Future group said, "No motorized vehicles are allowed". Cool... maybe these are the people who were surveyed by "some group" I assume is actually within the City staff itself. I wanna know WHO did the surveying.

Clearly the snowmobilers need to become militant, like the BTTF group who are granted millions of dollars in AT trails I never see anyone using. Maybe we should organize a "snowclovia" and ride our sleds down city streets this winter.

Speaking of sledding on city streets. The next time there is a huge blizzard and there are calls for sleds to ferry people to hospitals, even if mine is in the city, it's staying home.
Call the Army to get your Doctors and nurses either home or to work because this good citizen won't be using any two-stroke oil helping out like sledders did  February 5-8 in 1997. Sure, sledding down city streets may be a lot of fun once every 20 years, but if you don't want my sled in town during the good days, you can't have it on the bad days either.


  1. That's pretty dumb to just ban it outright. Snowmobiles are the last resort in an emergency. Snowmobilers are required to have a license and insurance. .. so whats the reasoning? Is there a real danger of other counselors besides Russ Wyatt voting for this?

  2. FINALLY someone has mentioned the unmentionable - when the cops and ambulances are stuck in a blizzrd, the "CITY" LOVES SNOWMOBILES. Imbeciles.

  3. As it turns out... Kenora has reconciled with the OFSC and there will be a groomed, signed trail through Kenora once again. Maybe they are serious about trying to be a 4 season tourism town after all!

  4. How about the ban on balls on a school yard playground in Toronto?