The new policy empowers City of Terrace employees from banning or suspending privileges of misbehaving individuals from public facilities managed or owned by the city. (Black Press Media file photo)Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 10:31 Apr 14, 2022

By Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Staff at the public facilities in Terrace can now ban or suspend the privileges of individuals who misbehave and compromise the safety of employees and patrons at these facilities.

Council passed a resolution on Monday to ensure the safety of staff at city-owned or city-managed facilities across Terrace such as the Sportsplex, aquatic centre as well as the animal shelter and public works facilities.

The blanket policy will not cover the library, which although a city-owned building is not managed by it. The library will continue to operate under its own policy that is already in place to deal with individuals who display such behaviour.

Under the suspension, banning, and trespass policy now in place, individuals can be asked to leave upon display of inappropriate, disruptive, or aggressive behaviour that threatens the security and safety of staff, patrons, residents, visitors, themselves and/or property.

The policy gives staff three options which includes, banning an individual from entering a facility for more than a month and up to a year, suspending them from the facility for a day or up to a month, and lastly, issuing a trespass notice which involves filing an RCMP report in the event in of a serious incidents such as theft, violence, assault, weapons or substance abuse.

While a supervisory staff can issue a suspension order, a ban can be issued by a department head or manager. Once the ban duration is over, the individuals must request a meeting with the department head to seek permission to return to the program or facility who will then review and decide whether to remove or reinstate the ban.

An appeal to lift the trespass notice will be reviewed by city staff/councillors after consultation with the RCMP. However, the city reserves the right to maintain the notice when it is in the best interest of staff and public.

Council members including the mayor agreed to the policy, saying it was unfortunate, but it had to be done owing to the recent increase in lawlessness in the city.

“It’s nice to have boundaries sometimes with all the lawlessness,” Mayor Carol Leclerc said at the April 11 council meeting.

As employers the city has obligations to ensure its staff are protected, she said.

“It’s important that people to understand that if they’re going to behave in a manner inside one our facilities that’s not going to be allowed in,” Coun. Sean Bujtas said.

In the past staff have issued suspensions or trespass notices to individuals but the adoption of this policy by the city would enable staff with a clear policy with delegation of authority to issue these three types of prohibitions.

This item reprinted with permission from Terrace Standard, Terrace, British Columbia