Council votes to relax restrictions around portable basketball hoops in residential areas

Prince Albert's new city council gets sworn in on Monday, Nov. 15. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert city council voted unanimously to allow homeowners to keep portable basketball hoops in front of their residences following complaints from at least one local resident.

City officials have been asking residents to remove the hoops because they encroach upon sidewalks, streets or boulevards in violation of the City’s Traffic Bylaw. At a special meeting on Wednesday, council voted to allow the portable hoops to remain on the edge of the curb at administration’s discretion.

Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards made the motion to relax the City’s standards. He said it’s encouraging to see so many youth out playing basketball in their neighbourhoods, and he didn’t want the City to discourage that.

“It brings me back to the old road hockey days where kids actually got out on to the street and played,” Edwards told council. “I understand a little bit of (the concern) is traffic. I’m in favour of letting them leave these on the road. My only concern would be on busy streets.”

Ward 3 Coun. Tony Head seconded the motion. He said portable basketball nets haven’t been a major concern in his ward, but he trusted administration to properly assess the situation in other areas of the City.

“As long as we can do it safely and we don’t hurt the residents and we’re not endangering our children, I like the idea of having it on a case-by-case basis,” he said during the meeting.

Mayor Greg Dionne said council decided to look into the matter after bylaw officers told one resident to remove their net following a complaint from a neighbour. That resident told the City there were a dozen similar nets out in that neighbourhood and asked council to reconsider the issue.

Dionne said he sees homes all over the City with portable nets on the street out front, and it makes more sense to allow families to pull those nets up to the curb instead of rolling them up and down their driveways.

“If you look, they’re on very small wheels … and usually people fill them with water to keep them from bowling over,” Dionne told council. “They’re very top heavy. They’re hard to move. The kids can’t move them.”

Residents will not have to get a permit to keep the nets on the edge of the curb, but not all nets will be allowed to stay.  Planning and Development Director Craig Guidinger said they plan to evaluate each residence on a case-by-case basis over the summer.

“I do expect we will have to deny some of them based on public safety,” he told council. “Our public works director and I had a brief talk about this and I believe we’ve got a few scenarios where we would have to step in.”

Bylaw officers typically require residents to pull the portable nets on to private property when not in use. The new bylaw allows them to be pulled up to the curb as long as they are directly in front of the associated property.