By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Chatham-Kent is reaching out to the province to see if the municipality can be part of a Ministry of Transportation golf cart pilot project.
The decision was made by Chatham-Kent council Dec. 5, following a motion put forward by South Kent Coun. Trevor Thompson.
It asks that communities such as Erieau and Mitchell’s Bay – where golf carts are already popular – be included in a 10-year pilot project being carried out by the Ministry of Transportation on Pelee Island and the district of Huron-Kinloss.
The aim of the project is to assess the feasibility of integrating golf carts – or golf cars as they are referred to in the study – into the transportation system and to determine if current ministry rules of the road are adequate.
“This is a first step and there are still a lot of questions, policies and details that would need to be worked out before anything else came back, before we begin to implement it,” Thompson told council.
He said he hoped Chatham-Kent–Leamington MPP Trevor Jones will help further the cause.
In speaking to the motion, South Kent Coun. Anthony Ceccacci said he wanted to ensure the public understood this was not a full-on approval of the project.
“This is just a starting ground,” Ceccacci said, noting the hard questions will be asked down the road if Chatham-Kent gets the opportunity to participate in the pilot.
East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault said he visited a tourist town in Ohio while travelling on a boat trip to Cedar Point where golf carts are widely used.
Pinsonneault said it would be a great “economic driver,” for the municipality, adding Chatham-Kent would likely be regarded favourably considering it has successfully incorporated an ATV bylaw.
“I’m going to support this,” Pinsonneault added. “I think it’s a good thing.”
North Kent Coun. Jamie McGrail said she heard about the golf cart issue “many times” over the course of her first term on council.
“I will definitely support this,” McGrail said. “I support a safe, responsible step forward.
“There will be guidelines and rules moving forward,” she added.