Car theft, off-road vehicles spark letter to Telkwa council

The area around Morris Road in Telkwa is turning into a playground for four-wheelers and dirt bikes, according to Lorraine Wentzel.

It appears the area around Morris Road in Telkwa is turning into a playground for four-wheelers and dirt bikes, according to Lorraine Wentzel.

Wentzel, who also had her vehicle stolen, wrote to Telkwa council stating the four-wheelers and dirt bikes, often operated by youths, are posing a safety risk on Morris Rd. and have damaged private property as well as a walking trail.

“There is an increasing frequency of vandalism and theft, we need to put more pressure on the RCMP,” councillor Rick Fuerst said.

Kirsten Marshall, Staff Sgt with the Smithers RCMP detachment said Telkwa was not alone.

“There has been an increase in these calls everywhere, both in Smithers and outlying areas,” Marshall said.

“This normally happens as the weather gets better and people start their recreational activities.”

There is no provincial legislation regulating the recreational use of ATVs and as such their use on public roads, unless specially permitted, is prohibited.

Regarding dirt bikes, Marshall said their use on public roads is permitted if they are insured and are street legal under the Motor Vehicles Act.

The use of either ATVs or dirt bikes on public roads, without the proper insurance is subject to a monetary penalty as well as impoundment of the vehicle, Marshall explained.

There are few regulations governing the off-road use of either ATVs or dirt bikes, Marshall said.

A difficult aspect of pursuing charges against the illegal use of ATVs or dirt bikes is identifying the drivers.

Even with increased patrols, identifying the drivers is difficult because the drivers often flee the area as police approach.

Chasing the drivers is not a high priority because it could lead to reckless driving by the ATV or dirt bike rider and put their safety in jeopardy as well as that of the general public, Marshall said.

If a member of the public wishes to make a complaint, Marshall added, they must be prepared to identify the driver.

Telkwa councillor Rimas Zitkauskas informed council a member of the Smithers RCMP detachment is attending the next council meeting, June 24 at 7 p.m.