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Serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra since 1984 WEDNESDAY December 12, 2012 13 A PoCo autobody shop pays tribute to the old Westwood Racing Circuit with a new mural Your source for local news, sports, opinion and entertainment: Anti-bullying bylaw backed Church bells to PoCo council moves toward passing first regulation of its kind in B.C. John Kurucz It was raining pink in Port Coquitlam on Monday night. At City Hall, where every politician and staff member was decked out in pink shirts with the slogan, “I Am Someone,” PoCo council began putting together the framework for what could become B.C.’s first anti-bullying bylaw. The move included unanimously approving a resolution directing city staff to prepare a report around how other jurisdictions — namely Edmonton and Regina — have instituted similar bylaws. Along with the request for a bylaw, the resolution also called for assurances that the necessary support be available to those who are bullied. Monday’s unanimous vote was preceded by a presentation from Dominion Lending Centres president Gary Mauris, who is spearheading the Be Someone anti-bullying awareness campaign. “I want the councillors and the mayor to look at this bylaw and say, “Listen, we can make a difference,’” he said. Compelled to act after the suicide of PoCo teen Amanda Todd in October, Mauris created the Be Someone campaign last month. And according to the life-long PoCo resident, he has received both national and international support on the issue from virtually all walks of life. “I have put a very, very strong program together with a legion of volunteers with thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to serve as a gift to our community,” he said. PoCo Mayor Greg Moore previously told The NOW the bylaw could entail fines ranging from $200 to $2,000, though the focus would be around education and behavioural changes rather than ticketing. keep ringing John Kurucz Lisa King/NOW Jasmine Pilling and her dog Lulu participate in the Snowflake Walk, an anti-bullying initiative. To see more photos, turn to Page 9 and visit “I know … we’re not going to have a whole bunch of RCMP officers out there ticketing people,” Mauris conceded. “That’s not what this is for. It’s a statement. It’s optics. It’s about saying we are going to make a difference.” Once complete, the report coming out of Monday’s meeting will be sent to the city’s community safety committee. In the absence of a community-based solution, Port Coquitlam council unanimously voted to maintain the status quo in what appears to be the final chapter in the church bell saga at Our Lady of the Assumption Church. With council chambers packed and tempers occasionally boiling over, council voted down a staff recommendation that would have capped the church bells’ sound level at between 45 and 55 decibels. The proposed bylaw would have also applied to other buildings throughout the city, including schools and other institutions. But instead of going that route, council chose to stick with what’s already in place — a wholesale exemption from the city’s noise bylaw. “The volume of my voice right now is 60 decibels,” said Coun. Brad West, a parish member at Our Lady of the Assumption. “So the idea of having church bells ringing less than this conversation that we’re having right now, I think is patently ridiculous.” Coun. Dean Washington, deputy chair of the city’s community safety committee, “This is not a freedom argued the decibel limit was too far-reaching in scope, and of religion issue. Let’s would have negatively impactplease look at what ed schools and other instituthis is really about tions within the city. “This is most likely a no-win — and that’s noise.” situation … I say it’s a no win Wendy McHaffie because it’s reached the point Prairie Avenue Resident where we’re now considering a bylaw instead of what both [community safety committee chair Coun. Mike Forrest] and myself wished to accomplish as a community solution,” he said. Prairie Avenue resident Wendy McHaffie, who lives near the church, was joined by a handful of other area residents asking council to adopt the proposed bylaw, though her group was far outnumbered by the scores of church parishioners in attendance. McHaffie argued the bells ring for anywhere from two to five minutes at a time on an almost daily basis, and church officials have not cooperated with neighbourhood residents in trying to reach a compromise. “This is not a freedom of religion issue,” she said. “Let’s please look at what this is really about — and that’s noise.” But Our Lady of the Assumption Church representative Paul Dufault said the church has met a number of the city’s requests in limiting the bells’ volume and how often they ring on a daily basis. He also noted sound dampening equipment has been installed in the bell tower to ensure the bells do not ring above 70 decibels. “The bells aid us in our worship of God,” Dufault said, adding they do not ring past 6 p.m. on any given day. Like others around the council table, Mayor Greg Moore lamented the fact the city had to intervene, noting the church is a “real gem in our community.” “I think it’s too bad that it’s taken so much time and it’s caused bad relations between neighbours and the church,” he said. Coun. Forrest was absent from Monday’s vote. Free Gift with Purchase For the Month of December />A>'4> D H;J5I/; (M!'@D0 M<ODP>O8 ND %?* 7;5 <>8D'! 4D!6>L 3'8( 0M6< =6<A(D:> M+ %B*C M< PM<> M+ H;J5I/; $>3>!!><0EG G9>+M<> 8D2>:E 1MM@ 3('!> :6==!'>: !D:8F !'P'8 MO> =>< A6:8MP><E .>> M6< :8M<> +M< @>8D'!:E COQUITLAM CENTRE -==>< K>4>! # 7>O8<> 7M6<8 # )C,E",*E**&C

Coquitlam Now December 12 2012

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