Cartoonist Rob Kernachan’s depiction of the situation in the Artisan Gardens Chemainus neighbourhood.

Chemainus parents plan to protest ban on kids playing in street

They’ll pay the fines rather than abide by Artisan Gardens edict

Parents of kids who are affected by a new strata council bylaw in the Artisan Gardens neighbourhood in Chemainus intend to defy the order.

The strata council of the development off River Road voted 15-4 in favour of a roadways bylaw that reads as follows:

“Any use of a roadway for any purpose other than access to and from strata lots and, where permitted, for parking is prohibited. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a roadway may not be used for play, including hockey, baseball, basketball, skateboarding, chalk artistry, bicycling or other sports and recreational activities.”

“Since I have one (child) that’s learning to ride a bike, that’s the biggest thing,” said resident Crystal Clarke, a renter of one of the homes in the neighbourhood since March of 2014 who was not entitled to a vote on the issue.

There are a mix of homeowners and renters in the complex.

Clarke has two other children, a 10-year-old who will be severely restricted by the ban and a 14-year-old daughter who’s the only teenager in the entire subdivision that was never marketed or sold as a seniors complex, but a multi-family development. Phase Two of the development is currently under construction with houses crammed close together and very little yard space that has become typical of many of today’s neighbourhoods.

No one from the strata board could be reached for comment on the bylaw that immediately sparked a huge outrage once it became public last week.

“We haven’t officially received the notice yet,” Clarke indicated at the start of the long weekend. “We’re going to keep riding.”

And even when she does receive the notice, Clarke said she won’t pay any attention to it and face whatever fines are forthcoming.

“I’ll just keep paying it. I’ll rent the road.”

Dylan and Christa Howard agreed, saying they’d do the same thing. The Howards have a daughter turning four in a couple of weeks.

“They can only fine us once every seven days,” noted Christa. “I don’t know the exact amount.”

Dylan was perplexed why the strata council didn’t “try to create some measure of safety before you ban the children.”

The Howards own their home and Christa saw the item coming up on the agenda of the strata council’s annual general meeting under New Business.

“I was aware of it and I did vote,” she said. “I was shocked and I was, like, it’s never going to pass.

“I wasn’t at the AGM. I gave my proxy vote to my neighbour and she took it over.”

When the result came out, many members of the neighbourhood immediately got together to see how they could fight the action.

“We have been directed to get as many people in our neighbourhood as we can to send letters to the strata council as a grievance,” said Christa.

Many are perplexed about how the issue even came up. The parents agreed if kids were drawing with chalk in the middle of the road and impeding cars coming through it would be quite different, but that hasn’t been the case.

“I’d understand it if there was broken windows or graffiti,” Dylan added.

But these are young kids and the alternative of keeping them inside and not allowed to even be on the edge of the street in front of their houses doesn’t wash with him.

“They’ve got nothing to stare at but four walls all day,” he said.

The neighbourhood is on a quiet street that is not a through thoroughfare, with only local traffic.

“Our kids ride their bikes on the road,” said Christa. “Most kids do. We’re always safe.

“It’s just part of being a kid riding on the street. I urge people to come and see. It’s not a normal road.”

The parents offered it’s more a case of some drivers going too fast on the road into their homes than kids being a problem.

Social media blew up after the public got wind of the ban on kids’ roadway play, particularly on Chemainus Shoutouts. Former Chemainus Valley Courier columnist Ron Waller was among the most vocal.

“As a kid growing up here, some of my fondest memories are playing kick the can on the streets, hockey, riding my bike etc.,” he commented. “How about people taking a minute to walk to the back of their car to ensure it is safe to back up? I am considered an old person and I find this embarrassing for my peers. Ask them, did they ever play on the streets?

“In retrospect I am in shock. We provide them with TVs, video games, lotsa movies to watch and yet they want to go outside and play. How dare they get in my way when I get into my car. Next, they are going to start laughing, screaming and generally having fun in front of my house. I say lock ‘em up inside.”

Some sided with the board or at least understood the decision it made. But most agreed a ban on bikes shouldn’t be included.

The parents of those few families with kids in the neighbourhood hope a reasonable compromise can be reached. In the meantime, they’ll be standing firm in their beliefs.

Just Posted

Ladysmith Maritime Society wants to be known as the Friendliest Marina on the Coast

Group marks 33 years of marine preservation and community

John murder trial at Duncan courthouse on pause until spring

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau

Ladysmith proving once again, it’s a small town with a big heart

It takes a town full of volunteers to ensure no child goes hungry

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

15 new Indigenous teacher training seats added at Cowichan VIU campus

Thorne said the new Indigenous teacher education curriculum that is planned at VIU

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Canada West loses battle of the unbeaten teams in the preliminary round

Second Canadian missing in China after questioning by authorities

Michael Spavor, founder of a non-profit that organizes cultural-exchange trips to North Korea, “is presently missing in China”

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

Most Read