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Coquitlam will rethink its 'no boarding' proposal

Coquitlam will be sending a proposed bylaw ban on skateboarding and longboarding back to the drawing board. - FILE PHOTO
Coquitlam will be sending a proposed bylaw ban on skateboarding and longboarding back to the drawing board.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

A plan to ban skateboarding and longboarding on Coquitlam streets and sidewalks will go back to the drawing board after public backlash on the matter.

The proposed bylaw changes were part of a number of amendments to the city's traffic and streets bylaw considered at a council meeting earlier this month. It was intended as a proactive move to improve pedestrian and traffic safety but was seen by some as a heavy handed reaction to a relatively minor issue.

"You don't just outlaw something," said Jeff Cole, vice-president of the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition. "You work with the youth, you work with the skate shops and you come up with a reasonable solution.

"At a time when one in four kids in Canada is overweight or obese, and you're making it harder to get out there and do something active by making it criminal, it's just embarrassing," he said.

Cole said many communities that had outlawed skateboarding and longboarding are now working to reverse those positions and others, like West Vancouver and North Vancouver, are looking at setting up safety camps and clinics.

Cole also suggested events similar to bike rodeos in schools that teach kids about riding safely.

"There are people like myself who would be more than happy to come forward and help let these kids find ways to make it a safer environment for everyone," Cole added.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said the city has received plenty of feedback on the issue.

"There's no question the skateboard community has been in touch with us, as have residents," Stewart said.

The aim of the bylaw was to deal with the behaviour of a few "reckless" boarders but the wording didn't come across as planned, Stewart added.

He said people have been injured by skateboarders on city centre sidewalks and, with a large population of seniors and kids, there is a legitimate safety issue. As well, the longboarders on Burke Mountain who aren't using spotters to warn of oncoming traffic are an accident waiting to happen.

Stewart said the city plans to have a dialogue with skateboarders and longboarders to come up with a code of conduct or "self-policing" policy that can work for everybody.

The street and traffic bylaw amendments will be back before council next week — minus the skateboards — to pass time-sensitive issues like truck route changes, with a plan to address boarding safety after the summer break.

spayne@tricitynews.com

 

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