File Photo

Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

At a special meeting of council, Sylvan Lake Town Council asked staff to bring a face covering bylaw back before the next scheduled meeting.

Council met on Nov. 25 to discuss if they wanted to see a potential face mask bylaw come forward, the merits and shortcomings of a potential bylaw, and enforcement of a bylaw.

The motion, made by Councillor Graham Parsons, was to “direct administration to draft a Face Coverings Bylaw that mandates that face coverings must be worn in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities, and to develop a program that allows for private businesses to register and receive bylaw enforcement through the Municipal Enforcement officers.”

The motion was carried with a six to one vote. Councillor Tim Mearns voted against having a bylaw brought forward for consideration.

“I was elected by my community, some I know, some that I don’t… Those that I have spoken to have implored me not to support a mask bylaw in anyway,” Mearns said.

He continued to stay there have been very few businesses who have mandated the use of masks in their businesses. Everyone has the right to choose whether or not they want to wear a mask, same as businesses have the right and ability to put a mandate of their own in place, he said.

“The last thing I want to do is limit people with another bylaw,” said Mearns.

Councillor Jas Payne is one of the councillors who was in favour of a bylaw being brought forward for consideration.

According to Payne, Town Council needs to do more to protect the residents of Sylvan Lake in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have done very little up until this point to stand up and do the hard thing,” said Payne.

“We can’t count on the Province to do what needs to be done. We have to do what we can to protect our citizens.”

Council also discussed the matter of enforcement when it comes to a potential mask bylaw. The concern was Sylvan Lake does not have the man power to enforce a sweeping bylaw which requires face covering to be worn in all publicly accessible indoor areas of town.

Town councillors looked for clarification regarding how businesses would benefit from a mask bylaw if one was put into place.

Ron Lebsack, director of community services and emergency management at Town, said without a bylaw, businesses have to call the RCMP to have complaints dealt with.

“Peace officers are not able to enforce trespassing at anytime without a municipal bylaw in place,” he said.

Lebsack says the recent announcement from the Province to give peace officers more power to respond to COVID concerns is specific to the mandates in place by the province.

As masks are not required province-wide, a peace officer would not be able to respond to a complaint from a local business-owner about a customer refusing to wear a mask despite their own rules being put into place.

Mayor Sean McIntyre said he is favour of an approach that helps give business owners some weight behind their decisions.

“I have had a number of people reach out to me who work in places where masks are required, but they aren’t being taken seriously because there is no bylaw to enforce it,” McIntyre said.

“We can provide help to these businesses.”

The motion passed by council Wednesday night would see a bylaw come back for approval which would require face coverings being required in town-owned and operated facilities such as the Municipal Government Building and the NexSource Centre, along with a program to give support to businesses who wish to see masks worn in their businesses.

Councillor Megan Hanson voted in favour of the motion, with some stipulations.

“I would like to see this as two separate motions when it comes back… I am in favour of helping and supporting our businesses, but don’t really like the idea of forcing masks in places where residents won’t really be, or where they won’t be wearing them for long, like at the NexSurce Centre,” she said.

Council asked that the bylaw be expedited, to come back before their next regular meeting, scheduled for Dec. 14.

Lebsack says the bylaw that will come forward will be different from those seen in Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer, and will take some time to create.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake man charged with fraud totalling more than $100,000

Sylvan Lake RCMP have been investigating two companies owned by the same man since June 2019

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

Most Read