Public places bylaw moving forward despite low participation

The village did not see the crowd that they had hopped for, but Mayor Greg Martin is remaining positive

The Village of Queen Charlotte held their regular council meeting at a larger facility in the hopes a large part of the community would attend to discuss the proposed Community Public Places bylaw. The village did not see the crowd that they had hopped for, but Mayor Greg Martin is remaining positive, saying there is no hurry to complete the bylaw.

“We need it done by grad season,” Mr. Martin explained to the small crowd.

The proposed bylaw was initiated after a youth party had gotten out of hand at Haydn Turner Park in the spring of this year. The RCMP had reached out to village staff asking for a bylaw that could assist them in policing public areas.

“Before we take it to second reading in the new year we will have another public consultation,” said Mr. Martin.

Village CAO Lori Wiedeman explained that the bylaw will be enforced by herself, the public works superintendent and the RCMP.

“There are some areas of the bylaw that are covered under the criminal code,” Ms. Wiedeman said.

Even though the bylaw duplicates some of the criminal code, it gives the RCMP another avenue to pursue with youth that isn’t criminal in nature.

“If they pursue it under the federal laws it is criminal and if they pursue it under a bylaw it can be a fine. It gives them (the RCMP) another way to do it in a municipality that it is not a criminal matter but a bylaw infraction,”  Ms. Wiedeman said.

Once the bylaw is passed it will give the village the right to fine and ban anyone from public places if the bylaw is broken.

The lengthy bylaw, at this time with over 40 provisions, covers any and all activities that could endanger the public or environment in a Community Public Place.

The Haydn Turner park has been proposed, in the bylaw, to have strict hours of operation and would be closed to the public from 11 p.m. till six a.m. with the aim of enhancing the comfort of the campers. Fires outside of a fire pit will be prohibited, to deter pallet fires on the beach. Fires outside of a fire pit will carry a $100 fine.

The Community Public Places bylaw now awaits its second reading as the village hopes to get more public input on the bylaw in the new year.