A resolution at the recent Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) conference in Saskatoon calling on the provincial government to allow municipalities to permit golf carts for use on public roads beyond mere transportation to and from the golf course has been adopted by the provincial government.
In a move aimed at promoting accessibility, reducing congestion, and enhancing community connectivity, Saskatchewan municipalities now have the authority to permit golf carts for use on public roads beyond mere transportation to and from the golf course.
This change comes as the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has updated its policy to allow the operation of golf carts on certain municipal roads, subject to specific limitations and approval from SGI.
Previously, municipalities could pass a by-law allowing golf cart usage solely for commuting to and from the golf course, restricting drivers to the most direct route. However, a resolution put forth during the recent annual convention of the SUMA called for an expansion of this limitation.
The resolution argued that many SUMA members, particularly those from smaller communities and resort villages, were in favour of embracing ability-inclusive, cost-effective, safe, and environmentally conscious transportation alternatives that would enhance community connectivity and alleviate parking congestion in public gathering spaces.
The Minister Responsible for SGI, Don Morgan, in a press release expressed the government's commitment to striking a balance between safety considerations and meeting the evolving needs of communities.
"Our government has listened to our municipal stakeholders and asked SGI to make these common-sense changes that balance safety considerations with meeting the needs of our communities," Minister Morgan stated.
On Facebook Monday morning, SUMA said of the changes, "(We are) pleased to see that SGI has updated its policies to give municipalities the right to pass a bylaw that will allow people to drive golf carts on certain municipal roads."
The new changes will allow municipalities to pass a by-law which will allow golf carts to operate as vehicles on municipal roadways, provided certain safety requirements are met and SGI grants approval.
Mayor Angie Larson of the Resort Village of Shields shared her enthusiasm, in a press release, for the expanded use of golf carts in their community, highlighting the positive impact it will have.
"Expanding the use of golf carts within our resort village will allow golf carts to operate as vehicles on municipal roadways subject to numerous safety requirements," Mayor Larson explained. "This will improve the quality of life for our community."
The decision to grant golf carts increased access to public roads is expected to have several benefits. In addition to promoting inclusive transportation options for individuals with mobility challenges, it will help reduce traffic congestion in popular gathering areas and contribute to environmental awareness by encouraging the use of electric or low-emission golf carts. Furthermore, it presents an opportunity for residents to enjoy alternative modes of transportation that are cost-effective and fun, while reinforcing the sense of community within Saskatchewan municipalities.
While the new policy allows for greater flexibility in golf cart usage, Municipalities will need to establish specific guidelines and safety measures to ensure the well-being of all road users.
Municipalities are being encouraged to work closely with SGI to ensure that appropriate regulations and safety standards are in place.
The SUMA resolution passed at the annual conference in Saskatoon back in April, with 66 percent of delegates supporting the policy.