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Confederation Trail consultation update

Press Release

Feb 8,2024

What We Heard summarizes the broad scope of ideas and feedback shared by thousands of residents and stakeholders in the fall of 2023. Safety was a recurring topic and reflected throughout the report.  Based on the feedback, the Province is announcing decisions shaped by the voices and experiences of Islanders shared during the consultation.

“The intention of the consultation was to help shape policy decisions regarding improvements and the use of the Confederation Trail. We listened to the feedback and carefully considered the broad range of perspectives to make decisions being announced today.”

– Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Ernie Hudson
Access to the Confederation Trail will remain for the exclusive use of people on foot, bicycle, or wheelchair. Equestrians can still use designated areas of the trail on a trial basis. ATVs will still be able to use legal crossings in rural areas. In the winter, snowmobiles have exclusive access.

At the same time, the Province recognizes the untapped economic potential for a separate tip-to-tip ATV trail that is safe, sustainable, and legal and offers more recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

Provincial funding of up to $100,000 will support the ATV Federation to develop a plan and Island-wide map in consultation with residents, communities, businesses, and provincial departments. The Province also requires the Federation to:

  • strengthen and build relationships with property owners, communities, and businesses
  • enhance its consent process for private land
  • raise awareness, and educate riders about laws and safety
  • consult provincial departments on topics such as environmental protection and conservation, safety and Crown land access

“Last fall’s consultation process clearly demonstrated the overwhelming support from Island ATV riders and non-motorized users for the development of a separate province-wide trail system for ATVs,” said Jody Jackson, President of the PEI ATV Federation. “While the use of the Confederation Trail in rural areas would have allowed this to become a reality sooner, we respect the decision and the desire to keep the Confederation Trail non-motorized. We thank the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure for their pledge to expand our current roster of pilot roads and their commitment to work collaboratively with the PEI ATV Federation and clubs to develop a safe, legal, and sustainable trail system on PEI.”

An Island-wide ATV trail will take time to develop. The ATV Federation and Province will collaborate on connecting existing ATV trails with each other and adding pilot projects allowing safe and legal access to provincial roadways to access one trail to another in rural areas.

Resource:

Visit the consultation webpage and What We Heard report: Confederation Trail Public Consultation.

Background on public consultation for Confederation Trail

The Province launched the consultation to help shape improvements and policy decisions about use of the Confederation Trail. The public consultation period ran from October to December 2023. Islanders were invited to share input through an online survey, four in-person community workshops, and email submissions. Overall, engagement was high:

  • 5,744 completed surveys
  • 174 written email submissions
  • 753 participants at four in-person community workshops

The What We Heard Report summarizes feedback collected throughout the consultation.  Themes about safety, environmental protection and sustainable planning emerged as priorities. The consultation process garnered participation from both Islanders and visitors, underscoring its pivotal role as a cherished public asset. What We Heard is a valuable tool that supports decision-making and is available to the public.

This spring, the Province will receive and publish recommendations for improvements to the Confederation Trail based on public input as summarized in the What We Heard report, research, and best practices from other areas. The Province will review and consider these recommendations.

Confederation Trail Access

Outside of winter months, activity on the Confederation Trail is limited to walkers and hikers, wheelchairs, cyclists, runners, and equestrians who can use some sections of the trail on a trial basis. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Confederation Trail, except for:

  • motorized wheelchairs and scooters for people needing mobility support
  • emergency response vehicles
  • power-assisted bikes
  • snowmobiles in the winter
  • ATVs at designed legal crossings in rural areas

Media contact:
Stacey Miller
Transportation and Infrastructure
samiller@gov.pe.ca(link sends e-mail)

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