North Van is reconsidering its $200 fine for jumping off wharfs

North Shore News

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A group of teens leap from the wharf in Deep Cove in July 2015. file photo Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

A piece of the District of North Vancouver’s new parks bylaw that would fine people for getting caught jumping off a public wharf might be heading back to land.

During Monday’s district council meeting, council put off adopting its new parks regulation bylaw – it’s first in more than 40 years – after deciding to direct staff to take another look at the part of the bylaw that would allow the district to issue a $200 fine to public wharf jumpers, following concerns from councillors and the community.

“There was one particular issue that council has referred back to staff for us to bring back a report – and that’s around the fines for jumping off the wharf in Deep Cove,” said Gavin Joyce, the district’s general manager of engineering, parks and facilities. “There was considerable discussion in the community about that.”

The new bylaw will outlaw certain unauthorized commercial activities in district parks, such as guided foot tours and exercise classes. Flying drones, playing golf, or practising archery will also be prohibited under the bylaw.

However, the portion of the bylaw prohibiting people from jumping off of the wharf in Deep Cove was a cause for concern for some in the community who view it as a rite of passage, Joyce noted.

“The Cove has become a very busy place,” he added. “We have a lot of different users – whether they’re kayaks, dock jumpers, hikers, shoppers – in a very, very small area. The conflict points are increasing and staff are just doing their best to manage all those different activities and trying to keep people safe.”

District staff still want to discourage people from jumping off the wharf given the marine and boat traffic in Deep Cove, Joyce said, but added they’d take another look at the $200 fine – though he couldn’t confirm whether the upcoming report would call for the fine to be reduced or scrapped altogether.

“We’d rather look at more of an educational campaign with those young people that jump off docks, recognizing there’s inherent risks with that with the boating traffic in the area,” he said.

A report is expected to go before council by the end of the month.

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