Public wary of public places bylaw

Queen Charlotte public places bylaw came under fire at a public consultation meeting where the public voiced their opposition to the bylaw.

The Village of Queen Charlotte public places bylaw came under heavy fire at a public consultation meeting Jan. 27, as members of the public spoke openly about their opposition to the bylaw and their displeasure at where it was heading.

Village staff were pleased with the number of people who turned out, after no one showed up to previous council meetings when the bylaw was on the agenda.

Village council heard public concern that the bylaw did not offer protection for youth, but instead threatened to drive parties further out of town, out of easy reach from police and paramedics should something go wrong. The lengthy bylaw was found to be too vague for those attending the meeting. Village CAO Lori Wiedeman told the Observer that discussions about early intervention and other programs for youth in the community was focused on, rather than the bylaw itself.

“I suspect that there will be changes,” Ms. Wiedeman told the Observer.

The Community Places bylaw was brought forward after an incident at Haydn Turner Park, last year, where police reported two youth came dangerously close to death as a consequence of alcohol and substance abuse.

Mayor Greg Martin explained council could have passed this bylaw without public consultation, but highlighted the importance of public input.

“We do need something in place,” he said. We are not throwing it away.”

Council would like to hold a committee of whole meeting in the near future to discuss the proposed bylaw at further length.

“I’m not sure what direction the council will take with this,” Ms. Wiedeman told the Observer.

Council has made it clear that there is no true rush to get this bylaw done. Mayor Martin previously said they would like to see it in place in time for graduation at Queen Charlotte Secondary.

It was hoped, by some of the public at the meeting that the bylaw would be thrown out entirely.