2021 is here, and I am pleased to see the significant increase in membership, and I encourage clubs to welcome these new and returning members by more staging fun runs and other events. Let’s keep the fun going. Rides, events, and member benefits are the key to membership retention and growth.
I would also encourage members to reach out to various types of business and encourage them to become partners. It’s a great partnership as it provides added benefits to the membership and the business receives free advertising and promotion.
ATVANS has continued to add new riding opportunities for members, and I am pleased to announce that we have just renewed our agreements with seven of our large landowner partners. As well we have been successful in obtaining new riding opportunities with new designated trails in WPAs. I want to acknowledge the excellent communication and working relationship we have SANS and NSORRA.
Our trail patrol program has been revamped and I am pleased to announce that we have had several well attended online courses and members are actively showing support for landowners on whose properties we ride. We have also provided training to multi-use trail societies which is helping promote cooperation with non-OHV user groups. I encourage members to take part as it’s a good way to promote the sport and engage with other trail users. As a trail patroller myself I have met many non riders and have educated them on the good things that our clubs do. This is an ambassador type program and NOT an enforcement program. (I know I mentioned this before, but I believe this will play an important role once the Share the Road pilots are over and will help with educating new riders and the general public.
As mentioned, before we (Barry, Corey and myself) attended a meeting a year and a half ago (Act changes or new acts take a lot of time to occur) with the ministers of Lands and Forestry, Environment and Transportation and their respective deputies where we discussed our concerns. In January we also took part in the consultations for the act regulations. I encourage members to read the new act as you will see the positive implications for our sport.
I want to thank non-Board members and board members for their work on our membership initiative with OHV dealers, the trail ambassador/patrol program, membership committee, mapping and trails, etc. I also want to thank Donna Graham for her work on the Board and wish her well. As I close out this term, I want to acknowledge the good work of our past and current staff.
In closing I wish clubs and riders a safe and prosperous 2021. LET’S RIDE
First let me say thank you for taking the time to read my annual report. The reports are prepared to help members and other understand at a high level what has occurred at ATVANS over the past year. Without a doubt 2020 had its challenges. We started and ended the year in a global pandemic and under a declared state of emergency. In-spite of these trying circumstances we had a very successful year.
We developed an organizational COVID-19 operation plan and a membership recovery plan in the spring and summer of 2020. The membership plan was implemented mainly due to the limited number of memberships received after mid March and the limited opportunity for clubs to meet plan events, sell memberships and advance projects.
The COVID-19 operational plan was in response to government directives on how we can manage our organization in a pandemic environment. Although public health directives reduced the numbers of planned events those that did occur were very successful and mostly sold out and using our online registration system. The event online system has worked very well, and clubs have reported no major objection or concerns. Clubs that used the system have indicated that they will likely continue to use this system post pandemic.
The membership recovery plan was launched in September of 2020 and it resulted in substantial increases in membership and online membership. The plan included early renewal, an early bird prize supported by our partners at CF Moto and Canmac Power Sports, free ATVANS dust masks, and lots of promotion. We began 2021 with record membership, and each month since has been excellent. We also began sending regular club reminder for membership slips and closely monitoring receipt of the slips. I am pleased to report clubs are doing much better now.
Membership for both new and renewing members was extremely strong through the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021. Month over month we met or exceeded record numbers. Online membership now accounts for more than 50% of all members and about 75% of all new members. As of Wednesday April 21, 2021 we have 4363 members and 1193 who have not renewed. Our growth in new members continues to out pace or loss from non-renewing members. We have focused on membership reminds, surveyed older non-renewed members and looking at ways to improve our retention rate. In addition, we have added a new way for members to join. Members can continue to join at the club, online and now by phone during regular business hours. We will soon be announcing an additional way to join.
ATVANS added one new club this year in Richmond county, with currently over 50 members, and are working with other groups in other parts of the province. We now have 43 active involved clubs across Nova Scotia.
This year we saw the retirement of Donna Peverill in September and the hiring of Marty Jefferies to replace Donna. I want to thank Donna for her service to ATVANS and wish her well on her retirement. I also want to welcome Marty in his new role. The board hired a H.R. consultant to do a full review of our employment practices, including job descriptions, compensation etc. This resulted in a more accurate job description, a modified compensation scale and a new job title and duties for Marty’s position. Marty’s job is now the coordinator of member services which includes additional responsibilities utilizing his skills and training as a graphic designer. I also conducted annual reviews of employees as we began the new year.
Although face to face meetings with government and other partners were not always possible, we did manage to meet virtually and or communicate directly by phone or email with many government officials during the past year. This includes staff with various departments and elected officials both provincial and municipal. We were also able meet and arrange an agreement with CF Moto on out lottery prize and have been in close contact with various manufacturers reps.
Another major change this year is our lottery. We did not have confidence that a ticket lottery would be successful for our clubs, so we temporarily suspended this program and moved to a online 50/50 draw. We partnered with two companies to host the draw and process payments. We have now had 5 monthly draws raising over $100,000 in total revenue and over $40,000 in funds directly to the clubs. This lottery has proven to be successful, however, needs considerable promotion and only about half of the clubs have fully embraced the program. We have an arrangement to continue with monthly draws for six more months and will assess the program in the fall.
The board and committees continued to meet during the past year mostly via online meetings, however we did meet once as a board for a face-to-face meeting in the summer and followed public health guidance. The officers continue to meet monthly with biweekly brief update meetings.
We continue to provide members with updates and information by direct e-mail and updates on our Facebook page.
In spite of all the challenges I think ATVANS did very well with great new programs, record membership numbers, fantastic events, and plenty of trail projects. I am excited as we move toward our 25th year representing the responsible organized ATV riders in Nova Scotia. We are seen as leaders in the sport of ATVing not only in Nova Scotia but also across the country.
Once again, we recognize National ATV Safety week with our partners across Canada and Canadian Quad Council. We encourage all riders to practice safe riding throughout the year. You can find information on ATV safety and how to register for an ATV safety course on our website at www.atvans.org under our safety section.
ATVANS supports the safe responsible use of ATV’s across Nova Scotia
ATVANS vision is: That ATV ridership is recognized as a responsible, safe, fun, and family recreation activity that can be enjoyed throughout the province.
Well, another year has come and gone but COVID-19 is still here which makes performing our duties a little more challenging. Without the ability to have in-person meetings there were countless telephone and video calls which still made it possible to accomplish most tasks.
During the past year, the operations committee has been working on several projects (mapping updates, connectivity issues, landowner FAQ pamphlets, and more zone director involved.) some have been completed and others will be ongoing.
A large batch of updates have been submitted already with another batch of updates expected to be submitted in June. We need clubs to update and verify mapping in their area.
The connectivity issues work hand-in-hand with the update mapping, we need updated information from the clubs and the zones in order to work effectively on the connectivity issues between zones and clubs. This will be a multi year project do to all the information that is required.
As a committee we collaborated on questions, layout and design of a Landowner pamphlet that could be handed out when getting LOA signed. The finished pamphlets were sent out to each club to be handed out.
The committee delegated a member to reach out to all zone directors regarding issues in their area, not all zone directors responded which seems to be an ongoing issue. There are several zone directors that go above and beyond what is required of them and are very engaging with the clubs. There are also some zone directors that do not do what is required which is why we have a member reaching out to the zone directors to get everybody on the same page. This is another one of those projects that's going to take some time and will be ongoing.
As you're all aware of by now I will not be offering for the VP 1 position due to the fact that I have started my own business and would like to dedicate my time and efforts on growing my company.
It has been an honour to help represent all the members for the last two years and it was a pleasure working with the professional executives of Atvans even though we may not have agreed on everything.
Thank you for putting your trust in me for the last two years it has been a pleasure.
To say last year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement!
I remember watching Premier McNeil’s press conference that Friday and shortly after getting a call from Barry saying the Outdoor show would be closing after only being open for a few hours. None of us really knew what to expect. In a short time, the plan came together to do a live stream draw from ProCycle and we pulled it off.
That was the beginning of the ATVANS board adapting to the situation at hand. As challenging and unpredictable as the COVID situation was, like many others the ATVANS board took a new virtual approach to keep the wheels turning.
As VP-2 one of my responsibilities is to Chair the regulatory committee. The following items are 2 of the more significant items we have been tasked with over the past year.
The past 2 years as ATVANS Vp-2 has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. We’ve come a long way and I’m proud to be part of the progress. I look forward to the challenges ahead and truly believe we will continue to achieve our goals as an association.
I’d like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of staff, officers and board members over the last year to keep us moving forward in uncertain times.
I will begin with the statement that should come as no surprise to anyone, 2020 was unlike any year that we have witnessed. We held a Board Meeting January 12th, 2020 and we left full of optimism of having a very successful 2020. We were all set up at the Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV show that opened at 10am on March 13th, 2020. And then our world changed, the show was closed at 5pm that day, and the days, weeks, months and now year, was something we have never experienced. On the financial side there was uncertainty. Our budget went out the window and we were asking ourselves what would 2020 bring.
Well, I happy to say, financially, the year was not a disaster. On the income side we made two significant changes. First, we started selling new memberships September 1st with the CF Moto Early Bird Draw, and second the introduction of the 50/50 Rafflebox. In 2020 we gave back to the clubs $38,000 in memberships fees, and so far, this year just over $26,000. The clubs have earned over $43,000 since the raffle started last November.
On the expense side, due to COVID-19 there were savings on meetings, travel, meals, AGM, etc. Other cost such as Accounting Services, Rent and Insurance were not affected by COVID-19. Total Payroll Expenses were over budget due to two factors. 2020 had 27 pay periods, not the 26 we budgeted. In addition, we have both Donna and Marty working together, as Donna trained, and Marty was brought up to speed.
At the October 18th, 2020 Board meeting a motion was put forth, to hire Gerald Walsh and Associates to conduct a complete Salary Review of our 3 employees. The main goal was to pay salaries that are fair and competitive after considering current market conditions and industry norms for similar organizations and positions. All approved and the motion passed.
At our January 30th, 2021 Virtual Board meeting the report was discussed at length, with reviewing the updated job descriptions. A motion was put forward to accept the report. All approved and the motion passed. Further discussions took place, motioned and the board approved salary increases to the staff.
In the end we finished 2020 with a surplus of over $57,000. We had Budgeted a deficit $ $70,500.
We were off to a slow start but even with COVID-19 our Clubs and Community Trail Groups have used all the $100,000. I would like to thank all the clubs and club members for all their hard work and dedication.
The 2021 budget was presented to the board and approved at the Virtual Board meeting on January 30, 2021. At that time, and still today, there is uncertainty how the year will unfold. On the income side we do not see many changes. One change however is the Lottery, with the monthly 50/50, the only revenue ATVANS receives is when someone selects ATVANS. Out of this money we must pay the lottery fees. To date ATVANS have averaged less than $100 per month. On the expense side, we have reduced some expenses, i.e. AGM Expense and Board Meetings. We have added two items, Member Event and Special Event and hoping these will take place as the year unfolds. In addition, an increase in payroll to support the salary increases from the salary review. As in previous years our budget had a projected deficit. This year the deficit is projected at $82,000. We can afford this deficit due to surplus funds from previous years. Last year our 2020 projected deficit was $70,500. We came in with a surplus just over $57,000. As stated in previous years, the budget is just that, a budget. As the year unfolds and things change, the board adjusts the budget accordingly.
2020 was certainly a different type of year with all the COVID-19 restrictions in place. It may some aspects of my job impossible to do the restrictions (club visits), but this is a general recap of 2020.
In July I did a 12-day power tour visiting various clubs from one end of the Province to the other.
Contact or visitation made with every club in the Province.
Preparation of trail assessments for Ogden Round Lake Wilderness Area, and the Portapique Wilderness Area with these new trails being added to our agreement with NSE
Helped clubs receive $360,000.00 + in funding from the OHVIF and $100,000.00 in funding from the ATVANS Small Grant Program along with funding from other sources (municipal and provincial), total value of worked completed was more than $1,900,000.00
Communication with TIR regarding highway tunnels and overpasses to maintain trail connectivity where highway upgrades are being done. I was also in communication with them regarding Pilot Sites, the Pilot Sites survey, and moving things forward in the future.
Attended monthly OHVIF Committee meetings, Trails Strategy Coordinating Group meetings and conference calls, along with all the various sub-committees.
Mapping updates provided to TrakMaps and our data is now available on Polaris Ride Command.
Working with mapping company to improve our system. Working to have the ability for us to edit the data and provide info links for structures such as bridges. This will help in the ongoing management of our system and infrastructure. Eric Rideout has agreed to take on the role of looking after this.
Participated on the SANS Trails Committee as well as in the joint Trails Committee meetings between ATVANS, SANS and NSORRA
Members joining and renewing online increased for 2020 with over 1,200 members using this feature to get their 2020 membership. Between September 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2020 we had over 1,500 members renew/join online for their 2021 membership.
Traffic to our website continues to increase. In 2018, we had over 25,000 visits. In 2019 we had over 41,000 visits. In 2020 that number grew to over 61,000 visits, with over 211,000 page views. The average time spent on our website was 3 minutes. The most users in 1 day for 2020 was on April 24th with 571 users.
This year we have added some features to the website to make it easier for people to join and to renew online. We had added a “Click to Renew” button to the home page to make it easier for members to find the area on the website to renew. In March of this year, we have added the option for members to have 2 machines under the same profile. This is something that many users have been asking for.
The age demographics for visitors to the ATVANS.org website is pretty diverse, with only the 18-24 age group that is on the low side.
The top 5 most visited pages were as follows:
Homepage – over 49,000 page views
Join Us – almost 18,000 page views
Maps and Trails – over 14,000 page views
Events – over 10,000 page views
Clubs – almost 10,000 page views
Again, we remind everyone that the information on the website is only as accurate as the information we are provided. We encourage the clubs provide us any changes and updates to your club executives, meeting dates and locations. We have a lot of traffic going to the Events page, so make sure that you send us your rally/fun run and other event information as soon as possible before the event.
As mentioned in previous reports, in November 2020 we launched the ATVANS 50/50 Raffle to replace the normal ATVANS ATV/SxS Lottery Draw for 2020 as selling paper tickets in person was not viable.
We had our first draw on November 27th, with a jackpot of $21,680. Susan Boutilier, a member of the Sheet Harbour ATV Club, was the winner. Barry and Marty presented a cheque for $10,840 to Susan in person. Clubs earned a combined total of $7,710.
The second draw happened on December 30th, with our biggest jackpot to-date of $30,840. This time the winner was Laura Highfield of Kennetcook. Barry and Marty met with her and her children at the ‘Welcome to Kennetcook’ sign and present with her cheque for $15,420. Clubs earned a combined total of $12,188.
January was another great month with a total jackpot of $22,900, which was drawn on January 29th. Monica King and her friends from the Soggy Bottom Gang riders in Pictou County won $11,450. Clubs earned a combined total of $9,046.
Even though February was a short month the jackpot was in line with the previous months, with the grand total being $20,195. The winner for February was Greg Greenwood from South Colchester ATV Club. Greg was presented with a cheque for $10,097.50. Clubs earned a combined total of $7,994.
The jackpot for March dipped a bit from previous months and topped out at a very respectable $16,520. Barry and Marty made another trip to Kennetcook to award Michael Lake and his children a cheque for $8,260. Clubs earned a combined total of $6,478.
To date we the combined jackpot total is $112,135.00, the total combined winner total is $56,067.50, and the combined amount raised for clubs is $43,416.00.
All draws were broadcast live on the ATVANS Facebook page, with the draw location being the ATVANS office at 11 Glendale Ave in Lower Sackville.
The ATVANS 50/50 lottery has been a huge success, raising much needed funds for clubs. Clubs use this money for projects, expenses, and charitable donations within their communities. We encourage all clubs, and club members to share the link to the monthly ATVANS 50/50 jackpot as much as they can on social media and to fiends and family.
A questionnaire was sent to all the clubs in the zone, this is the result of what I have gathered as responses. This shows clearly what the clubs in Zone 3a are doing and what they are looking for out of ATVANS, as well as an update on the status of the clubs.
• Most clubs have been holding regular monthly meetings, except for a couple but things are going well with no requests for assistance currently.
• Some clubs have been holding virtual executive meetings but nothing in person yet.
• No changes to Executive committees of the clubs currently; however, the AGMs for most clubs are up coming. The clubs have been advised to update Marty after their AGM of changes.
Question - Do you or your club have any questions/comments about the following programs:
ATVANS Lottery and 50/50 - No questions
Small grants program - No questions
Map assistance - Clubs are looking for dates as to when the updates that have been sent for Ride Command/Trakmaps will be completed?
Signage - No questions
GPS Loaning - No questions
Most clubs have not reported any patrols. Some clubs have had members that took the training program step down because they do not feel safe patrolling.
SMATVA has been doing some patrols of the railbed and submitting reports through rails to trails to ATVANS.
Currently no clubs want a course setup up, they have no interest from their membership about
Clubs have suggested that if information was sent out to the membership explaining what trail patrol does, expected frequency of patrols, what is expected of volunteers, etc. This may generate some interest. **I would personally agree with this. I had zero response multiple times with BBATV, yet when Barry sent out the request, he filled a course**
Fundy - Currently working on updating their trail maps. They have no completion date set for this.
BBATV – Currently trying to get the trails committee sorted out, currently it is not a functional/productive group. New leadership and membership are expected after the AGM in April. Mapping will be one project they will be working on.
SMATVA - planning on printing more maps later this spring and we will supply ATVANS for online sale.
Fundy is planning to install signage in the spring on ELCO and Wagner properties in Renfrew/Beaver Bank areas. They would like to put directional signage; however, they cannot find volunteers for such projects.
BBATV will be working with Fundy and hopefully LLL to complete the above-mentioned signage project. They also would like to do a local signage project with directions to/from certain POI’s (windmills, warming hut, etc…)
Projects being worked on
Fundy is working on completing the OHV grant they currently have open.
BBATV is working on their 5k project and have multiple plans for small grants in the coming year.
SMATVA is finishing up some grant paperwork and hope to have it in for review soon.
Once we can start having face to face meetings, we plan to layout a prioritized trail work plan.
Upcoming large projects
BBATV – 5k OHVIF grant project – 3 bridges and trail surfacing.
Ideas that would qualify for small grants
Fundy – Always, our club tries our best to utilize as many small grants a year as we can.
BBATV - Parking lot area (location still to be decided). Gas trail upgrade (in anticipation of the shoulder of the road application approval. Multiple areas have been designated as areas that need to be brushed back.
Share the shoulder opportunities you would like to propose
Fundy - Yes, we have a section we need to hook the loops back up to Kennetcook since we lost the trail that comes right into the village. We suggest that continued follow up is done with govt to remind them of importance of project. Be great if ATVs had legal road travel on dirt roads, H,G, I class.
BBATV - They are waiting on approval of our current application. They support Fundy’s suggestion of pushing for legal travel on dirt roads, H, G and I class. They would like to suggest the addition of Fenton Road crossing HWY 14, North on HWY 354 for a very short distance then up Wilson Road. This is the connection from the Renfrew roadside of HWY 14 to allow connection to areas like Kennetcook and Walton.
Trail connectivity issues
Fundy - Currently working with Driftclmibers replacing bridge to connect Long Lake Loggers. Waiting on decision of East Hants Municipality in purchasing DOA line. This is a section of old railbed crucial to connecting trails across province. It should be brought to governments attention; this a section government could purchase and be turned into multi use, has huge tourism potential.
BBATV - Are genuinely concerned about the status of and have a large interest in the railbed from Windsor Junction to Hantsport. This is a crucial connection that they are missing that would benefit every club in the zone (and beyond).
• There is currently no legal way to cross highway 101 at this point to connect to Bowater Mersey.
• The club is becoming increasingly frustrated and having a hard time understanding why ATVANS isn’t becoming more involved in this situation. This railbed connection benefits a large portion of their membership and would show the ridership in NS that ATVANS is involved and working in the best interest of all riders in the province. Therefore, likely increasing overall membership within the organization.
This zone consists of the following Clubs: Marine Riders ATV Club, Lake Charlotte ATV Club, Puma ATV Club and Sheet Harbour Snowmobile and ATV club.
I have been zone rep for the last 13 months and have reached out via phone and email to the clubs. I have not attended any club meetings.
Have started monthly meetings at Seaforth Community Hall. Turn out has been low.
Election of officers set for 27th April.
Membership drive is strong with many new members joining.
Monies from 50/50 are being used for Trail maintenance. One example money was spent on replacing the decking on the Petain Station on the Blueberry Run Multi-Use Trail.
Trail work has been continuing with small work parties. It took them 5 years but finally completed a Major Grant. (A few hiccups along the way) but it was a learning experience.
Overall trail usage is up by members and non-members of ATVANS.
Meetings are up and running again.
Winter rally cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Trail maintenance on going with work being done in Ship Harbour (1 km) and Lake Charlotte around a very steep hill.
Monies from 50/50 are targeted for trail maintenance.
Membership is up and trail usage is up.
Documentary on ATVing was aired and came back with positive comments and reviews.
They will be losing small part of trail system as new owner of the land will be building on it. New route/bypass in works.
Have had meetings with good attendance.
Winter rally was cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
Trail maintenance on going (Spry Bay trail cleared 2.5 kms by local group…looking at major grant to complete hopefully by November 2021 working with DNR on this project.) It has been a challenge to get a cost-effective bridge in place that satisfies all requirements for all Departments involved.
Still in talks with Atlantic Gold re: moving trail 106. Talks have been positive and productive.
50/50 monies to trail maintenance.
Membership up…trail usage up.
First meetings for 2021 held in March.
Membership up but a dedicated work force of 18-20 members with trail maintenance starting next week.
Glad to see ATVANS taking stand on bill 4 and they are concerned how it could affect the future of riding the trails.
50/50 monies to trail maintenance.
Since my last report I have once again reached out to all the clubs in Zone 5 and once again I did not receive anything back except for my own club (PCATVC). So, I guess I will have to start phoning.
Pictou County ATV Club held their annual AGM on April 12, 2021 at the New Glasgow Legion. As they had a corium election were held. Two positions were up for election President and Treasurer. Ryan Sejborg was elected as President and the Treasurer volunteered for another term.
The membership thanked Trevor Cruickshank for his years of service. Also, in the next meeting the membership will be looking at changing some of the by-laws.
This concludes my report.