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City to review Calgary bylaw restricting play on neighbourhood roads

Coun. George Chahal wants to bring street play to Calgary.

Chahal, the Ward 5 councillor, brought forward a notice of motion at Monday’s combined meeting of council to have administration review rules around the playing of street hockey and shooting hoops on neighbourhood roads.

It’s currently illegal to play on neighbourhood roads and cul-de-sacs under the Traffic Safety Act, Chahal said.  In 2020, 240 bylaw complaints were made, one ticket resulting in impounding and 65 verbal warnings given for offenses.

“Colleagues, this is clearly a problem,” said Chahal.

“With all of the documented issues the pandemic has had on mental and physical health, we must take a bold stand and remove these barriers.”

Chahal is asking for a review of street-level play in Calgary. That included provincial and local laws, what other cities do and safety issues with mitigating strategies.

He asked that a report be prepared for the first quarter of 2022.

Coun. Gian Carlo Carra said he was jealous he didn’t come up with the idea.

“We do want to create more livable, more enjoyable, more mixed-use neighborhoods and having reduced speed limits within the neighborhood absolutely dovetails with this perfectly,” he said.

Both Carra and Coun. Ward Sutherland referenced the neighbourhood speed limit reduction in their debate.

Hoop threat in 2019

While this motion was eventually passed unanimously, Sutherland didn’t mind taking a swipe at the four councillors who didn’t approve speed limit reductions.

“I mean I’m not sure how the councillors that voted against the speed limit being reduced where these kids are playing (whether they) are going to support this or not,” he said.

Coun. Sean Chu did raise the issue of potential liability if someone is injured while playing on city roads.

“Obviously the city will allow people to do it, so will we be liable for it?” Chu said.

One member of council raised the point that we allow sledding in city parks and this would be similar.

The issue of on-street play was also raised back in November 2019. A Bridgeland resident was told to move a basketball hoop or have it impounded.

At that time Community Services GM Katie Black said they’re always trying to find the balance between a safe city and a vibrant one.

Administration will come back with recommendations next year.