Will councillors here be in the fast lane to adopt a proposed Wellington County taxi bylaw – or continue to go it alone with their own bylaw?
Mayor David Anderson said he and Clerk Barb Wilson recently met with OPP Inspector Steve Walsh and Sergeant Deborah Anderson, along with representatives from Centre Wellington, which is supporting the bylaw.
The meeting was to discuss the proposed county bylaw to deal with licensing, regulating, and governing drivers and the accessibility of taxis and limousines.
Mayor Anderson said Minto’s current bylaw has a number of fees contravening those in the proposed county bylaw. He added Minto’s bylaw is basically to be enforced by the municipality. But because there are so many things under the Highway Traffic Act, “It is almost impossible to enforce our current bylaw.”
He said Minto representatives were invited to a presentation to see what the county bylaw was, and what it would do to protect the municipality’s liability. He said there was no question the operations of current taxis in the municipality, but that there are a number of taxis coming in from outside areas such as Listowel, Mount Forest, and Waterloo.
“It just assures those taxis or the individuals driving have a driver’s licence, are properly insured, and the vehicles are mechanically fit,” Anderson said.
He explained Minto currently has no authority to regulate taxis coming into the municipality and the proposed bylaw would allow the OPP to regulate and enforce it, taking the responsibility off local staff.
But, he added, there are a couple of downsides.
“Obviously the fees are a little higher,” he said. Instead of a $2 annual fee it would be $75. Instead of $25 per taxi, it would go to $150. And for new drivers coming into the program it is $250.
“We really feel that our current bylaw, while it can be enforced within the municipality, it can’t really control outside cabs coming in,” Anderson said.
He noted there was a recommendation from the clerk that council should endorse the proposed county bylaw.
In order to do that, Anderson said a public meeting is needed to explain it.
Clerk Barb Wilson said, “I don’t want to go on record that I endorse it. I just believe that council should review the proposed bylaw and if you are in favour of going forward with it, then have a public meeting.”
She reiterated, “We have had real problems in our municipality with our taxi cab drivers.”
She believed the service is needed for a portion of the population such as the elderly, the handicapped, and the youth.
“I don’t know if there is a compromise the municipality can work out with the current taxi cab drivers.”
She said if council does proceed, the drivers will be given notice.
Dirksen asked for assurance if council voted in favour of a review “this will not be the point of no return.”
Anderson said it was only to consider the bylaw.