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Traffic Bylaw amendments cause Council concerns

Council questions how many calls make a difference on decisions?
school zone
Changes to school zone speed limits have Councillors receiving calls.

YORKTON - A number of amendments to the City of Yorkton’s Traffic Bylaw received first reading at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday, but barely. 

The passage allows the amendments the public notice process, with the proposed amendment being brought back to Council, for review and decision, in conjunction with the Public Hearing at the March 28, regular Council Meeting. 

The amendments resulted following completion of the play and school zone review completed in 2021, explained Nicole Baptist – Bylaw & Safety Supervisor, with the City. 

The amendments include extending the time for downtown property owners to clear the sidewalks in front of their buildings of snow and ice to 48 hours rather than the current 24 hours. 

It is also proposing to extend the duration that vehicles are permitted to be parked on the street from 24 hours to 48 hours. This change aligns the City with the majority of other communities in the province, said Baptist. 

Administration is also proposing to insert a section on U-Turns. This section will prohibit U-turns at intersections, where signs prohibit U-turns, and in school or play zones. It also clearly states that U-turns are only permitted in other areas where it’s safe to do so. Although U-turns are covered in the Traffic Safety Act to a lesser extent, this section will improve our ability to enforce unsafe U-turns and U-turns in school and play zones. A fine of $100 was also inserted in the Fine Schedule of the Bylaw, she noted. 

But the snag for three Councillors who opposed passage of first reading revolved around speed limits and hours those speed limits will be observed in school zones. 

Following Council’s direction at the Dec. 6, 2021 Council Meeting regarding Play and School Zones, Administration is proposing an amendment to state that Elementary School and Play Zone speed limits are 30 km/hr and are in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Further, Administration inserted a subsection that states that High School Zone speed limits are 40 km/hr and are in effect from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, said Baptist. 

Coun. Ken Chyz said he has received calls, and suggested a 12 hour reduced speed would be sufficient, with no need for it to extend through the night. 

“Kids shouldn’t be out at school zones at that time,” he said. 

Coun. Quinn Haider said he too had heard concerns, not with the reduced speeds but the 24-hour time. 

Coun. Dustin Brears, added he was not in favour of having a separate set of numbers at the high schools, suggesting “it’s confusing.” 

City Manager Lonnie Kaal did note the school zone changes were approved and the first reading of the amendments to the bylaw is the first step to putting the changes into law. She added through amendment Council can change numbers after second reading. 

First reading passed with Chyz and Brears opposed.