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By: Robert Janis

New Brunswick ATV Federation

New Brunswick ATV Federation Lobbies Provincial Government On Behalf of Local Clubs

Jacques Poirier, general manager of the New Brunswick All-Terrain Vehicle Federation (NBATVF), pronounces it emphatically. “If there were no local clubs, there would be no New Brunswick ATV Federation.”

Incorporated on December 10, 1998, the purpose of the NBATVF is to be the representative to the provincial government for local ATV clubs in New Brunswick. It has been that way since its inception.

“At the time of the creation of NBATVF there were 20 local clubs in the province,” explained Poirier. “They wanted to develop a trail system but the government needed one group or entity to deal with so the federation was founded.” To this day NBATVF is cooperating with the provincial government on trail system development as well as other concerns of importance to ATVers in New Brunswick.

According to Poirier, the mission of the organization is to represent the interests of ATVers throughout the province, to save riding opportunities, to help local clubs establish trails, and to promote the trails to tourists in and out of New Brunswick.

Cooperative Relationship with Government

As noted, the sole purpose of the federation is to promote the agenda of ATV riders to the government of New Brunswick. So, a lot of lobbying is involved. But before the group lobbies on an issue, it takes time to decide what issue it will focus on. For example, the first issue of concern to the federation was the strength of the local clubs. So, it worked hard to develop viable clubs in the province. Next, it wanted to develop a trail system. So, it developed a strategy to lobby the provincial government to achieve that goal.

First, it got the government to pass legislation that would finance a trust fund that can be used to pay for the development of trails. The trust fund now exists and is funded by a portion of the ATV registration fee. “Previously, the fee to register an ATV in the province was $16. The law raised it to $41, and $25 goes into the trust fund,” said Poirier. The federation applies for funds from the trust fund to pay for trail development.

Another concern was safety. So, the federation lobbied the government for legislation that assured that riders of ATVs in a certain age group have to take an ATV safety course in order to have the privilege of riding an ATV.

Trying to get the government to be a funding partner in the development and maintenance of trails was another concern that the federation was able to successfully tackle. The federation is currently working on such issues as how the government can get more involved in insuring the trails, allowing off-road vehicles access to trails using designated roads, and coming up with a way for the government and the federation to share the cost of trail maintenance and construction.

“The idea is to identify key issues to work on and then sit at the table with government representatives to discuss them and come up with solutions,” said Poirier.

The group lobbies the province’s Departments of Natural Resources, Public Safety, Transportation, Justice, and Tourism and Parks. In addition, Poirier is a member of a number of committees that have authority over issues that touch on ATV recreation. This includes the Off-Road Safety Committee, Trail Management Trust Fund Committee, Working Group Committee, Steering Group Committee and The Technical Committee for Trail Applications.

The federation works with local governments by promoting the positive elements of ATV recreation. It also works closely with law enforcement to weed out and eliminate those riders who present a negative front of the sport.

Works with Outside Groups and National Organizations

The New Brunswick ATV Federation is a member of the All-Terrain Quad Council of Canada (AQCC), a federation of provincial organizations like the NBATVF. Created in 2007, the AQCC includes an associated federation in each of the 10 provinces of Canada. The provincial federations work with each other to share information on how to work on issues in their different provinces. “We all work together to share solutions, and we work in general ways to better the sport and safety of ATV recreation,” said Poirier.

The NBATVF also works with the New Brunswick Snowmobile Federation and non-motorized groups like horseback riders as well as the ATV manufacturers’ Association and environmental groups. For example, it has a representative on the Provincial Protected Natural Areas Advisory Committee. It also deals with groups that are outside of New Brunswick. For example, Poirier is a member of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC).

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