PRince Rupert backyard rink had to go, but hopefully it comes back

It can’t be easy to tell people they have to take down something they have put their time, money and effort into building.

It can’t be easy to tell people they have to take down something they have put their time, money and effort into building.

It must be even harder when the structure in question brings together a group of youth for some fresh air and exercise in a safe environment at a time when the Internet and the proliferation of smart phones makes face-to-face social contact outside of school that much more of a rarity among young people.

But when it comes to the decision to have the hockey rink in the Montgomery cul-de-sac removed (see Page 22) council made the right, although unpopular, decision.

To me, it all comes down to precedent. Had council allowed the structure, which was built without a construction permit and doesn’t meet City standards when it comes to proximity to the property line, to stand they would be inviting anyone in town to build anything they wanted any way they wanted without fear of repercussion. It would have essentially allowed anyone to say, “you let their project stay when procedure wasn’t followed, why can’t mine?’ And if council is to be fair, they need to make sure the rules that are in place are applied to everyone in town unless the proper process for a variance is followed.

Personally, I love the idea of a hockey rink in the backyard. It gets the kids off the streets, it gets them out of the house and exercising and it gives them a means of practising in the off-season. I hope the family comes back to council and is able to rebuild the rink in question in a manner that follows the City’s policies and bylaws and allows for input from those in the neighbourhood.

Because if last Monday’s meeting was any indication, the majority of people on the street are in favour of something like that for their children. And if it comes back to council with all the Is dotted and the Ts crossed and gets turned down, I’ll be among the first to voice my disagreement.

Being an elected official in a town the size of ours can’t be easy as the decisions you make are going to impact the people you see in the grocery stores and on the sidewalks, and they’re not going to always be popular. But in this case, I think council got it right.

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