Oakville family fined $880 for inline skating: Interview with a bylaw officer

The Nelson family of Oakville, Ontario, had a really bad Good Friday...

Here’s the deal: Todd Nelson took his young sons, Brandon, Dustin and Liam out for some inline skating at the town’s Glen Abbey Community Centre.

And what a great and safe venue Glen Abbey proved to be: given that the community centre was closed, the empty parking lot made for a skater’s paradise.

But an Oakville bylaw officer begged to differ. He pulled into the lot and told the Nelsons to scram due to the emergency order pertaining to flattening the curve of the coronavirus.

But Nelson didn’t see what the issue was. After all, everyone skating was immediate family. And the gathering was fewer than five. And by its nature, inline skaters are typically at least two metres apart. So where exactly was the foul when it came to so-called “social distancing” protocol?

Alas, faster than you could say “rollerblades,” Todd Nelson was served with a ticket for $750 plus surcharges for a grand total of $880 (or precisely $220 per skater.)

I recently visited the Glen Abbey Community Centre and found that the signage that was posted was very unclear in terms of the parking lot. And the lot itself was not cordoned off even though the community centre (as well as the nearby tennis courts, baseball diamond, playground, etc.) were all closed.

But the bigger picture is this: whatever happened to an officer’s discretion?

Surely this was a low risk (or even no risk) gathering?

And as the weather improves and people get increasingly antsy to do things outdoors, is this the sort of thing the authorities are going to clamp down on? For if it is, bylaw and law enforcement risk losing the respect of the citizenry. And then things might really get ugly...

Ordinary Canadians are being fined extortionate amounts for going outside while the prime minister visits cottage country. You can help us fight this double standard by going to FightTheFines.com.