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Bylaws team in Newmarket gets 2 sets of wheels for patrols

Golf carts aid efforts as parks, trails complaints up, business rumbles tumble
April 29, 2020
John Cudmore

Town of Newmarket residents may have noticed bylaw officers rolling through parklands and trails on the weekend.

The municipality’s bylaws patrol team received a boost when it was loaned two electric golf carts by Newmarket-based Turf Care Products Canada to help officers patrol town properties to maintain recommended safety regulations in public settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond foot patrols, bylaw officers will use the carts in select circumstances, including joint patrol efforts with York Regional Police officers on ATVs.

The municipality patrols 45 parks and open spaces and 800 acres of parkland.

The aim of enhanced patrols in Newmarket for the past three weekends has been to enhance coverage of municipal land and reach more residents to explain regulations in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

"Our No. 1 priority right now is to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, which is why our bylaw officers are focused solely on measures to protect our collective health and safety," said a news release issued by the town late April 24.

"From physical distancing, to the provincially mandated closure of various public spaces, we know there have been many changes to how we live."

Town officials have stressed educating residents is the preferred approach in flattening the curve.

Last weekend, officers had 1,080 interactions with members of the public, including 700 on April 25, according to regulatory services manager Flynn Scott.

Of those, 104 were interactions with violations of rules. None resulted in tickets being issued.

There were 25 complaints lodged for violations related to parks and trails. That compared to 10 the previous week.

There were 20 complaints regarding businesses operating improperly on the weekend, compared to 33 the previous weekend.

Finally, social distancing complaints matched the previous weekend’s total of 36.