Skip to content

Moose Jaw may restrict overnight alley access to alleys due to trespassing and theft

'As we’ve all heard ... (there are) stories of people loitering and wandering and … up to no good and doing general shenanigans'
MooseJawToday.Com file photo

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — With homeowners and business owners frustrated with vagrants and thieves stealing from them at night, one city councillor thinks restricting access to alleys may help address this problem.

During city council’s May 13 regular meeting, Coun. Kim Robinson introduced a motion directing city administration to bring forward a bylaw to control the use and access of certain alleyways between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Council voted unanimously on the recommendation.

Robinson also gave notice that at the May 27 regular meeting, he would introduce a motion directing administration to create a bylaw reducing access to specific parks between certain hours. 

Robinson explained that he researched how best to address some of the city’s problems and discovered that North Battleford has a bylaw with similar time restrictions. He noted that that community has the largest problems with trespassers in Saskatchewan and has had the most success with its bylaw.

Furthermore, he was in Saskatoon recently attending a community policing conference, which analyzed North Battleford’s bylaw comprehensively and approved of it. 

Robinson noted that North Battleford’s bylaw lets residents use their alleys late at night if they have a good reason for being there. He added that this bylaw would give the Moose Jaw Police Service the tools it needs to question people who may be wandering alleys at 3 a.m.

While it’s worthwhile to explore this idea, the city will have to consult with people first because it would be “a pretty big bylaw” to bring forward and is not something the municipality has ever had before, said Coun. Crystal Froese. 

“It’s like a curfew,” she remarked, noting enforcing this may be difficult, so it’s also important to seek input from the police service. “Maybe there are ways we can make it work within our city without being disruptive to neighbourhoods.”

While there isn’t anything substantial to debate with this motion since it simply asks administration to create a time-restriction bylaw, it’s still worth discussing because this may be something the community needs to control problems in parks and around downtown businesses late at night, said Coun. Dawn Luhning. 

Luhning added that everyone on council has been receiving complaints from residents and business owners about the difficulties they’ve been having with unwanted troublemakers.

Homeowners who are walking their dogs in alleys or working on their garages late at night won’t have anything to worry about with this potential bylaw, said Coun. Jamey Logan. However, for people who shouldn’t be there, this bylaw could give police some “teeth” to handle situations.

“As we’ve all heard ... (there are) stories of people loitering and wandering and … up to no good and doing general shenanigans,” he added.

Coun. Heather Eby agreed that officers needed a tool like this since they didn’t currently have one. Furthermore, this would also send a message to the community that council is taking these problems seriously and “looking outside the box to do something differently.”

“Maybe it will work (and) maybe it won’t, but at least we’ll look at it because what we’re doing right now isn’t working,” she added.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 27.