Local Economic Development

Tourism & Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation Council of BC

Local governments, particularly in rural and remote areas, are looking to outdoor recreation as a way to revitalize and grow economies while supporting active and climate-friendly lifestyles. UBCM communicates with the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC) to track developments in outdoor recreation, such as a recent ORCBC research report: Impacts of outdoor recreation for rural BC communities.

UBCM participated in initial conversations with ORCBC about development of its new $10 M Outdoor Recreation Fund of BC funding program to support community-based volunteer groups with improving access to outdoor recreation. The Executive Director of ORCBC attended the 2023 UBCM Convention, participating in sessions to discuss the funding program and ORCBC work in the outdoor sector.

Quad Riders Association of BC

After years of effort, a working group of trail users, industry, provincial, and UBCM representatives produced the Off-Road Vehicle Management Framework. As the culmination of this work, the Province enacted the Off Road Vehicle Actin 2014, which provided for regulation and licencing of off-road vehicles (ORVs) in BC.

Division 24 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulation sets out the requirement that police must issue operation permits in order for ORVs to drive legally on highways and public roads, and such access to highways and public roads for ORVs has been a persistent challenge for the outdoor recreation sector. BC communities and ORV groups have expressed interest in facilitating easier ORV access to highways and public roads, because this enables ORV riders to engage economically with and travel easily between communities. Quad Riders Association of BC (ATVBC) has undertaken advocacy on this issue with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, since these ministries share responsibility for Division 24 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulation.

UBCM is aware that a number of communities are trying to find their own solutions, and creating their own routes, seeking provincial approval on a case-by-case basis for these routes and associated incidental access to highways and public roads. Functionally, these communities advocate moving away from dependence on local police to issue operation permits to individual ORV drivers who wish to access highways and public roads. A province-wide approach would allow local governments to facilitate easier ORV travel to and between communities.

Regarding local solutions, ATVBC reports that a range of local governments have adopted bylaws—or are close to doing so—and are working with local RCMP to issue operation permits; while local governments involved in the Island 1000 project have successfully delegated the Mid-island ATV club to assist the RCMP with vetting for operational permits. Multiple local governments express interest in re-establishing an ORV working group. Further, ATVBC members have suggested over 200 routes for consideration in a province-wide approach to operation permits for ORV access to highways and public roads within and between communities.

ATVBC and UBCM have requested a meeting with provincial staff on this file to explore Provincial ministry engagement.