No kids allowed? B.C. community bans outdoor activities, sidewalk chalk
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:44PM EDT
Some parents in a Vancouver Island community say that a new bylaw banning sidewalk chalk, ball hockey and riding bicycles on residential streets is taking the fun out of being a kid.
Artisan Gardens is a strata community in Chemainus, B.C., just north of Victoria. Like a condominium corporation, strata homeowners own their homes but share common property -- in this case the streets outside the houses.
Last month, homeowners voted 15 to 4 in favour of a bylaw that states “a roadway may not be used for play, including hockey, baseball, basketball, skateboarding, chalk artistry, bicycling or other sports and recreational activities.”
Christa Howard, a mother and homeowner in the community, told CTV Vancouver Island that she was “extremely frustrated and disappointed” by how her neighbours voted.
“I live in a neighbourhood where I kind of feel a little ostracized,” she said.
“Riding a bike under supervision shouldn’t be a problem,” Howard added.
Hannah Clarke, a 14-year-old girl who lives in the complex, said she found the rule “pretty silly.”
“They say they want us outside more, get off the Internet and video games, and they’re telling us to go back inside pretty much,” Clarke said.
Brittny Townley, a mother of three who has rented a home on the street for years, called the new rule “ridiculous.”
“My son has autism and it can be really hard for change in his life, and he needs a lot of physical activity,” she said.
“He’s been here for two years playing outside, drawing chalk, riding his bike, riding his scooter and suddenly he can’t do that anymore,” Townley added.
Townley said it’s “completely reasonable” to ask parents to wash sidewalk chalk off streets after children are done playing, or to ask children not to play sports where balls could damage homes, but she does not agree with the claim that the bylaw will protect children’s safety.
Homeowner Leslie Baronas, meanwhile, said that while she understands that the bylaw sounds “harsh,” but she is genuinely concerned about children being struck by vehicles.
“If they’re lying on the road drawing with chalk and you’re coming around the corner and you don’t see them, or if you’re backing down from a higher driveway and they’re on the ground low down you can’t see them ... this is a real concern,” Baronas said.
“They go on their scooters awfully fast,” she added.
Baronas added that she “would like to be on friendly terms with all the neighbours and try to resolve things.”
Tony Gioventu of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. said that although the chalk ban may be unusual, bylaws banning other types of play in common areas “are not uncommon.”
“The roadways are often a target of conflict,” he told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
In addition to safety, Gioventu said many homeowners are concerned about damage to their properties.
“If there’s street hockey, basketball, baseball there’s often a fair amount of damage to garage doors and buildings,” he said.
Gioventu explained that although there is a provincial appeal process, the bylaw had the support of 75 per cent of owners so there’s not much the parents can do.
“It’s important to remember,” said Gioventu, “when you live in a condo, your home is not your castle.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Yvonne Raymond