Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Helmet By-law faces delay owing to wording

The City's proposed Helmet By-law will take a little longer to go into effect, after Council made a change to the wording, or to be more precise, to a word, in the bylaw. A decision that now will require the City to wait until the next Council session for final adoption.

The topic of a helmet bylaw and other safety concerns over skateboarders, long boarders and cyclists first appeared on the city's radar in July of last year.

It is a theme that has provided for almost nine months of discussion through a number of council sessions.  Now seemingly in its home stretch, the prospect of it going into effect will be delay at least until March 10th.

The troublesome word was the term "may" which Councillor Cunningham feared provided for trouble for his desire to see a rebate provision in place for those that purchase their helmets after a first offence.

He recommended that the word "shall" be inserted in the place of "may", a request that gave the Mayor cause to remind council of the steps that Council would be required to take to make the substitution.

After some discussion with the City Manager on the semantics of the word, Mr. Cunningham stayed with his original request, opening up the process for more discussion on the theme of the helmet bylaw.

Much of the sixteen minute discussion on the topic sounded fairly familiar, with many of the Councillors recounting some of their previous talking points on the issue (see herehere and here)

One new item that came through the return to debate on the issue was the concept of somehow approaching a restorative Justice process one day, instead of the financial fine process that will be in place one the Bylaw eventually goes into effect.

Both Councillors Thorkelson and Cunningham offered up some thoughts on the theme of how restorative justice might make for a better option in the future, however both admitted that at the moment the community is not set up to engage that process at the moment.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson offered up another suggestion for future review, that of perhaps putting in place a helmet drop off at the Civic Centre and at local sporting goods stores, where those that own old helmets could donate them for others to use.

There were concerns over expiry dates on helmets that could arise from that proposal and the prospect of that initiative would appear to have left to another day.

With the discussion coming to a close, the previous bylaw with the original wording was repealed, with  the new wording of "shall" introduced into its replacement.

When the vote came the motion as amended was passed, with Councillor Garon who was opposed to the original bylaw, still in opposition.

The process now moves forward to the next council session of March 10th, when Council will provide final approval on the bylaw and enforcement of it will be put in place.

You can follow along with the entire By-law discussion from the City's Video Archive the conversation and amendment arrives at the 2 hour 27 minute mark.

We have background on more items up for discussion on Monday night from our Archive of the February 24th session as well more items of note on municipal issues can be found on our Discussion Points from Council archive.

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