No support for bike, skateboard ban

There appears to be little support for a proposal from Well­ington North Township for a county-wide bylaw banning skateboards and bicycles from public sidewalks.

The idea was dismissed fairly quickly at a recent council meeting in Puslinch.

“Do you have the stomach to pass another county-wide bylaw on anything?” Mayor Brad Whitcombe asked.

Clerk Brenda Law replied, simply, “No.”

There were difficulties with recent county-wide bylaws such as anti-fortification, parking, and taxis.

Councillor Don McKay understands the intent of Wellington North council, but is unsure a ban is the best idea. He said the OPP does a good job locally, but has enough to do as it is.

OPP detachment commander Scott Smith wondered how effective a bylaw would be in deterring bikers and skate­board­ers.

Smith said he is always concerned about taking a be­haviour “that may or may not be appropriate,” depending on the time of day and specific situation, and “almost criminalizing it.” He suggested education may be a better solution, and most youth are good people.

The idea also received a luke­warm response in Map­leton Township, where at least two councillors said they would rather have bikes and skateboards on sidewalks than on local roads.

Clerk Patty Sinnamon ex­plained there have been problems in recent years with bicycles and skateboards on sidewalks on Main Street in Mount Forest, including one incident that caused major injuries to an elderly man.

Officials there complained to police, who countered they can do nothing without a bylaw outlawing the behaviours.

Sinnamon noted she has not heard of any similar complaints in Mapleton, and councillors unanimously opposed the idea of a new county-wide bylaw.