Boarders Make a Stink at Town Hall
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COLLINGWOOD — About 20 youths descended on town hall, Thursday afternoon, to emphasize the point that skateboarding isn’t a crime.
The organizers of the impromptu protest, Dan Arnold and Kyle Doyle, have launched a petition to ask town council to amend the municipal bylaw that essentially bans boarding — unless one is within the confines of the municipally-owned skateboarding facility at Heritage Park. A bylaw passed in 1994 banned skateboards — along with a number of other activities, including rope skipping, marbles, and haki-sack — from sidewalks. Another bylaw sets the fine for using a skateboard on a public road, sidewalk, or municipal parking lot.
“We’re just trying to get the bylaw amended so skateboarding gets its fair rights to the road (like bicyclists),” said Doyle, as a group milled around the Dairy Queen to sign the petition. “Why would they let (companies) make them if they weren’t roadworthy?”
The existing bylaw carries a $60 fine, and according to the boarders, is enforced rather arbitrarily. Doyle recently received a ticket while skateboarding home one night — noting he ended up in police handcuffs and in the back of a cruiser after police stopped him. The nature of skateboarding has also changed with the introduction of the longboard, both men said, noting that particular style is just used to get from Point A to Point B, and not used for the tricks most would normally associate with the sport.
“Kids are just trying to use skateboards and longboards for transportation,” said Arnold. “Some are using them just for the sake of getting to work.”
Clerk Sara Almas said both bylaws governing skateboarding are under review by municipal staff as part of a wider review of the town’s active transportation plans and the use of trails and sidewalks. She expects those proposed changes to be presented to council later this fall.