100-year-old bylaws roll off the books of City of Nanaimo – Nanaimo News Bulletin


Citizens can take comfort in knowing that they will continue to live in a nuclear-free Nanaimo.

A by-law making Nanaimo a nuclear-weapon-free zone will remain on the books, but city council at a meeting on Monday, July 4, voted to repeal a number of other outdated by-laws, some dating back from the 1890s.

Karen Robertson, Deputy City Clerk, reported on bylaws recommended for repeal as city staff compiles all of Nanaimo’s more than 6,100 bylaws into a database listing them by category and status.

More than 100 bylaws were repealed at this week’s meeting, including a public morality bylaw.

“This was passed in 1890, where one could be fined $5 to $50 for using grossly insulting language, selling an obscene picture or drawing, or being found drunk shouting and singing,” said said Robertson.

For those who have not paid the fine, “the goods and belongings you own could be confiscated and sold”, and those who cannot pay the fine could be sentenced to up to six months of forced labor.

A regulation passed in 1896 set the maximum speed at which a bicycle could be ridden at eight miles per hour on streets and alleys and six miles per hour at intersections. Bicycles could no longer be ridden on pavements and the bicycle had to have a “bell or whistle which, when rung, can be distinctly heard from a distance of at least 40 yards, and that person riding on this bicycle shall sound such bell or whistle as it passes or encounters any other person, whether walking or driving, when it comes within 30 meters of such other person,” the regulations state. Lanterns attached to the bicycle were also needed at night.

“The fines were $25, and if not paid, the goods could be sold again, but this time you could spend up to two months in jail,” Robertson said.

In fairness to cyclists – and what might be seen today as promoting active transportation – the bylaw also included a clause prohibiting anyone from throwing broken glass, pushpins or obstacles onto trails and streets that could damage or delay a bike.

Pool halls were regulated in 1963. Gambling of any kind was prohibited in Nanaimo pool halls, and window blinds had to be left open to provide an uninterrupted view of the interiors. No one under the age of 16 was allowed to play.

“Thank God I waited until 1965 when I was 17 or I might not be here today,” the adviser joked. Jim Turley.

A liquor license regulation of 1913 prohibited women from entering bars.

“No female patrons were allowed in the bars, period, and not even allowed to ‘stumble’ on the bar,” Robertson said.

Gambling, dice games, cards and lotteries of any kind were also not allowed. The fine for violating regulations was $100 or up to four months in jail for those who failed to pay.

“So it was a really interesting and fun project to see these snapshots in time, to see what these laws were in the books,” Robertson said.

The only regulation the council debated at this week’s meeting was one prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, stockpiling and distribution of all nuclear weapons and their components. The regulations were adopted in June 1987.

Com. Don Bonner said he disagreed with the proposal to repeal the regulations, saying Canada was not a party to a United Nations treaty banning the use and development of weapons because it was among the member countries of the North American Treaty Organization who had not voted on the treaty. .

“Therefore, Canada is not a party to the treaty, which means it’s not a treaty here in Canada,” Bonner said. “So the argument that we have to get rid of this because they’re illegal doesn’t hold up, so that’s a regulation that I think still needs to be in place.”

Com. Ian Thorpe said he supported Bonner’s motion, but “without much enthusiasm”.

“I remember the debate when it first passed and, quite frankly, it’s something that’s way beyond our jurisdiction and basically doesn’t make sense,” Thorpe said.

Council voted unanimously in three readings to pass a by-law to repeal outdated by-laws, except for the ban on nuclear weapons by-law.


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