Moose Jaw City Council has directed city administration to come up with a bylaw that would control the use and access to back alleys late at night. 

Last night, Coun. Kim Robinson gave notice of a motion “that city administration be directed to bring forward a bylaw to control the use and access of alleyways throughout the City of Moose Jaw between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.” 

When giving notice of a motion, councillors put forward their motion at the following council meeting. However, Robinson cited section 27(6) of the Procedure Bylaw to trigger a city council vote to have the motion come forward immediately. City council voted unanimously to hear the motion. 

Robinson said he based his motion on a similar bylaw in North Battleford and clarified that, if you have a reason to be in the alley during those hours, it won’t be an issue. 

“Basically, their bylaw says if you have a reason to be there then there is no problem. If you are just wondering down the alley then it gives our police service a tool to question somebody where they certainly can’t do that at this point,” Robinson explained. 

Coun. Crystal Froese was in favour of getting a report, but felt there were a number of lingering questions such as how the bylaw would be enforced and consultation would need to be done with the Moose Jaw Police Service. 

Coun. Dawn Luhning felt there wasn’t much need for debate as the motion will simply bring a report from city administration back to city council on the possibilities for a bylaw. 

“It's whether or not we think this is something that our city needs in order to possibly control some of the things that are happening in some of our parks and around the downtown businesses late at night that all of us have heard concerns from landlords, citizens and business owners,” Luhning said. 

Considering the crime around downtown, Coun. Jamey Logan said there is an issue and hopefully a bylaw would at least help. 

“I think everyone in this room has heard stories of people loitering, or wondering and doing different things and up to no good with different shenanigans and I think this will help,” he said. 

Coun. Heather Eby agreed and said there is no harm in looking at what a bylaw for loitering in a back alley would look like. 

“It sends a message from our table to the community that we are taking this seriously and looking maybe outside the box a little bit to do something different. Maybe it won’t work, may it will. But at least we will look at it and if we decide to try it, we’ll try it because what we are doing right now isn’t working,” she said. 

The motion passed unanimously, and city administration will bring back a report at a later date. Robinson also gave notice to a similar motion to limit access and use of city parks during certain hours. The motion is expected to be presented to council at their next meeting.