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Fining longboarders ‘not City of White Rock's goal’

White Rock police and bylaw officers speak with youth on the West Beach promenade June 3.  - Tracy Holmes photo
White Rock police and bylaw officers speak with youth on the West Beach promenade June 3.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

A recent incident on White Rock’s West Beach involving teens, bylaw officers and police was “just a typical day in the life of one of our bylaw officers,” officials say.

“It was nothing out of the ordinary,”said Greg St. Louis, the city’s acting chief administrative officer.

St. Louis said police were called to assist bylaw officers on June 3 after a youth who was stopped for longboarding on city streets became verbally abusive.

St. Louis said the main concern for the bylaw officers – who have authority to arrest and detain – was safety of the youth.

“With our steep slope, it’s very dangerous for these longboarders to be going down the hill,” he said. “A helmet and shin pads is no protection against a vehicle.”

St. Louis said he gets a couple of calls every month – particularly when the weather is better – regarding concerns with longboarders, many of whom come from outside of White Rock to ride the city’s hills.

“Most of the time it’s concerned residents because they see the youth on the street and, as you can expect, they’re cautious and they’re upset just because they’re worried about hitting some kids,” he said.

Fining the teens is not the goal, he added. The youth at the centre of last week’s issue was handed a warning.

“I stress the safety… that’s what we’re concerned about.”

On top of the safety aspect, the city’s Street and Traffic Bylaw prohibits the activity.

Last year, a handful of local skateboarders appealed to White Rock council to relax restrictions on the pastime, after then-councillor Larry Robinson – who died this past March – called for changes to the bylaw.

In making the suggestion, Robinson noted the existing rules make “almost every human-powered device” in White Rock illegal.

City staff asked to defer a review of the regulation until sometime this year.

St. Louis confirmed last week that that review is underway. He expects it complete by the end of this year.

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