At a council meeting on April 27, a bylaw was introduced to increase enforcement of social distancing required for management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Cobourg. But Adam Bureau moved that the By-Law be “tabled”. His motion passed and the possible by-law was killed, at least for the time being. But at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday June 1st, Aaron Burchat moved that this bylaw be “removed from the table” (resurrected!) and be put to a vote. In a recorded vote, his motion passed 4-3 with Councillors Adam Bureau, Emily Chorley and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin against. But after extensive discussion, approval (or not) of the by-law was deferred to the June 22nd Committee of the Whole meeting. So what exactly does the proposed by-Law do?
Proposed Bylaw summary
The by-law proposed by the Town Clerk (file photo at right) would mean that on Public Property (e.g. Parks) or in Public Spaces (e.g. supermarkets) – but not private homes – By-Law or Police Officers could hand-out tickets for failing to maintain a 2 metre social distance. Fines would be $300 for individuals or $600 for property owners. The fine for obstructing an officer would also be $600 – that includes refusing to provide ID to the officer.
Although some measures are covered by Provincial Laws (no more than groups of 5), social distancing on Town property such as Parks and sidewalks is not covered. That means that in those places there is no way to enforce social distancing – officers can only ask it be maintained. Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that the bylaw would be a useful tool and was in favour.
Emily Chorley said that the proposed by-law was not proportionate and infringed on civil liberties. She was also concerned about a potential for racial profiling. Brent said that officers always try education first and issue tickets only as a last resort.
But Emily as well as Councillors Darling and Bureau plus Deputy Mayor Séguin were in favour of deferring until after the staff report required in connection with the beach closing that’s due on June 22. Adam moved that a vote on the bylaw be deferred until the June 22nd COW meeting. His motion was carried.
See links below for more detail on the actual proposed By-Law.
- Report on April 27 Council Meeting – April 29 – includes schedule of fines.
- Proposed By-Law 025-2020