Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Coaldale pulls brake on golf cart bylaw over non-compliance with provincial traffic act

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A bylaw in Coaldale, which allowed golf carts to be driven on one specific road near the Land-O-Lakes golf course, has been repealed. The town’s legal council determined the bylaw was inconsistent with the province’s traffic safety act.

Coaldale Mayor Jack Van Rijn stated: “Town Council recognizes the longstanding history of the town’s golf cart bylaw, which allowed those living on Fairway Drive – within the Land-O-Lakes golf course subdivision – the convenience of being able to drive their carts to the golf course,” said Mayor Jack Van Rijn. “Unfortunately, council has a duty to uphold the laws of the land, and the Town’s legal counsel was very clear that the town’s golf course bylaw violated provincial statute. We had little choice but to repeal it.”

The bylaw was originally adopted in 1987 and was repealed at council’s June 28 meeting. Van Rijn said council will work on an information awareness campaign for the remainder of this year for people affected.

“Our intent is to promote dialogue with residents and to bring awareness to this issue,” he said. “Legislatively, we did what we had to do. But we are committed to working with the owner of Land-O-Lakes Golf Course to ensure they can continue to operate without disruption.”

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According to legal advice recently provided by the town’s solicitors, the town cannot authorize the use of golf carts on a public roadway or sidewalk – no matter how long standing a bylaw governing the convenience of this practice may have been. Golf carts meet the legal definition of “miniature vehicles,” which are not permitted on a public highway in Alberta.

The town is exploring options on how to lease a portion of the public sidewalks used as cart paths to the golf course, according to CAO Kalen Hastings.

“This will ensure that golf course pathways are in compliance with provincial legislation. The Town’s legal counsel has confirmed that as long as proper signage is in place, and golf cart users comply with the safety requirements of the Traffic Safety Act, golf carts will be permitted to continue to cross municipal roadways for the purpose of traveling directly from one golf cart path to another,” Hastings said.

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