April 25, 2016 - 4:30 PM
VERNON - Skateboarders have got local politicians talking about the possibility of revising an old bylaw.
Members of the skateboard community spoke out last week saying city bylaws restricting where boarders can go are not only discriminatory, but are discouraging people from using green transportation.
The rules currently ban skateboarders from using roads and sidewalks, but allow them in the skate park and parks in general.
Today, April 25, Vernon council discussed the idea of changing the bylaw to give skateboarders more options.
Coun. Brian Quiring for one wanted to permit skateboarding on sidewalks with a five kilometre per hour speed limit, which is what the City of Kelowna does.
Safety concerns were raised by Coun. Catherine Lord who noted there could be conflicts with seniors and the potential for collisions.
“I can see this becoming an issue,” Lord said.
City staff noted there have been collisions in the past, and said there are quite a few complaints about skateboarders and long boarders, particularly in residential areas such as The Rise, Middleton Mountain and Turtle Mountain. Enforcement is typically done on a complaint-basis, although some proactive enforcement does happen downtown, bylaw manager Clint Kanester said. He added that fines are rare, and the focus is mostly on education.
Mayor Akbal Mund wanted to know exactly how many incidents there are with skateboards, something he believes will help council decide on possible changes to the bylaw.
Vernon council won’t make any decisions until they get a report back from staff with background on the topic and possible options and implications.
It’s positive news for local skateboarder Anthony Timmer, 23, who uses his board as a means of transportation.
“It’s seems like as long as you respect the pedestrians it’s a non-issue,” Timmer said.
He thinks a five kilometre per hour speed limit, and signage specifying areas where skateboarding is not allowed would be effective.
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