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Saint Andrews Town Council Dividing on Ban on Skateboarders Downtown
"If this does go to First Reading," said Mayor Brad Henderson, "Then we will have to hear from the public as well. Keep in mind, it isn't repealed simply because it goes to First Reading. It will take three readings to be repealed."
"I personally think it is a good idea to repeal this," said Councillor James Hirtle, "But I think we can all admit that we've heard a considerable amount of concern from the community about the possibility of this by-law being repealed based primarily on the fear of injury. While I don't think there's any concern for safety with this repeal, I understand that we have to acclimatize some people to this change if it is to happen. Perhaps we shouldn't do this so quickly but should instead consider allowing skateboarding and in-line skating and the like in the shoulder seasons in the late fall and winter month--say October to May. If there are no injuries in this time period, then perhaps we can reconsider a full repeal next May in 2023."
Mayor Henderson said this would require tabling and amending the by-law as it is currently reading and re-considering and debating it again in two weeks time.
"The suggestion that there is an increased risk of injury--were there actually injuries that we know of that were reported before this by-law was introduced?" asked Councillor Marc Blanchard.
Mayor Henderson said that there were no recorded injuries prior to the creation of the original by-law, but he said there were complaints from residents and recklessness issues reported by the RCMP.
"Since I am in the middle of being a senior and still on the fringe of being a younger person, I want to support this repeal and want to make that public. I don't want to be a part of a council that has a death on its shoulders because we removed a by-law that has been in place for 17 years."
"I'm not against skateboarders," said Deputy Mayor Kate Akagi, "But I spoke with residents and shop owners who are upset about this repeal. They believe the by-law is there to protect people. There are cobblestoned parts of the street downtown that are dangerous enough just for pedestrians. I won't be supporting this repeal but I do like Councillor Hirtle's idea of trying it out in the shoulder season."
Council gave town staff direction to come back with an amended by-law that would provide clarity on use of the downtown area for non-vehicular methods as well as requirements if repealed, such as the use of chin-strapped helmets and the following of proper road safety and traffic rules. A questionnaire will be sent out to residents and business owners for their feedback as well.
At the May 16th council meeting, the amended version of by-law to repeal the original by-law will once again be discussed to determine if it goes to First Reading.
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