BAIE VERTE, NL — The Town of Baie Verte is going the extra mile to keep snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle operators off the Centennial Park area, but so far efforts have been unsuccessful.
Orange snow fencing has been erected for the first time near the playground and soccer field in an attempt to prevent and deter this activity, but it has not kept people from accessing the areas on snowmobile this winter, according to Mayor Brandon Philpott.
“They are going up to the snow fencing, lifting it up and driving their machines underneath the snow fencing, and then going for a run around the field,” he said. “It is not somewhere they can access freely. They are actually taking the time to get under the snow fencing to get onto the field.”
Brian Peach, the town’s chief administrative officer, recently posted an advisory to its Facebook page pleading for people to stop.
Considering major investments the town, businesses and volunteers have made to beautify the park, Peach said it is a shame to see it damaged and disrespected.
It is also a safety risk for those doing so, he said.
“Not only is it potentially causing damage to our area, but heaven forbid somebody bangs into something and hurts themselves,” Peach said. “It is not meant for snowmobiling. There is equipment under the snow that somebody might drive over, and there are cinder blocks on the soccer field side.
“We don’t want them damaging our stuff, but it is also a bit disrespectful driving over our playground area when it is obvious nobody wants you to.”
Philpott said playground equipment has been struck and damaged in the past. He said snowmobilers have been using the soccer field for reckless activity such as donuts, which has also damaged the field itself.
There is an area between the playground and soccer field snowmobilers can pass through safely and without causing any damage, he said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been asked to monitor the area, according to the chief administrative officer. The town contemplated putting in surveillance equipment to catch those in the act or to provide further deterrence, but is trying a public awareness effort to avoid the expense of such a measure.