A skateboarder who was “belligerent” and refused to provide identification has been slapped with a ticket for not following public health orders, the City of Winnipeg says.
The incident happened at the skateboard park at the Varsity View Sportsplex in Charleswood on Monday evening.
According to the city, 35 to 40 people were using a skate park, in contravention of a health order limiting gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and a city bylaw that requires two metres separation in parks and open spaces.
The city’s skateboard parks and playgrounds are at this point still closed, but are set to reopen on Monday.
Bylaw enforcement officers told the group to disperse and most followed the request, according to Jason Shaw, the manager of the city of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre.
One male wasn’t so co-operative, Shaw told reporters at a news briefing Friday.
“The accused approached the officers and was verbally unco-operative and would not provide I.D., and was belligerent to the officers,” Shaw said.
Although tickets have been handed out for violating provincial public health orders, this is the first ticket given out under the city’s bylaw.
“We’re not looking to hand out tickets,” Shaw said.
“We’re not looking to be confrontational. We are looking to give positive information so that folks can stay safe. COVID-19 is still a hazard and a risk to Winnipeggers and folks need to recognize that.”
Shaw could not say if the person was a youth or adult. The individual left the skate park but was later tracked down by police at his residence and given a summons by the bylaw officers.
According to a city spokesperson, the charge is under Provincial Offences Act, where there is no set fine.
The city says its bylaw officers can “hand out warnings and appearance notices that could result in the imposition of penalties of up to $1,000 and up to six months imprisonment for not respecting city orders.”
City bylaw officers and what the city is calling “community engagement ambassadors” have had thousands of contacts with the public in the last few weeks and have issued hundreds of warnings so far, the city says, but no tickets before Monday.
The city will reopen some facilities on Monday, including skate parks, play structures and athletic fields, but the city’s physical distancing bylaw for parks, and the public health order against large gatherings, will remain in place.
Mayor Brian Bowman had a warning of his own for Winnipeggers as the city follows provincial plans to reopen some aspects of the economy and ease some restrictions.
“Please be extra vigilant when you are out in the community and know that these penalties can, and where necessary will, be issued going forward,” Bowman said.
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