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Amendments to taxi bylaw to include rideshare delayed until the fall

'We don’t have a bylaw ready and crafted today that we could share and disseminate in any way at all, even for opinion from all the different stakeholders' North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod

Stakeholders and city residents will have to wait until the fall to learn what amendments will be made to North Bay’s taxi bylaw and other regulations that go along with it, including whether there will be any administration charges.  

Board chair Dennis O’Connor originally hoped the amended bylaw would be ready for July, but it missed the mark.   

The rideshare company URide started operating within the city in early June.  

See related: URide founder and CEO speaks out about North Bay

At the regular meeting of the Police Services Board, Police Chief Scot Tod told board members it will take a couple of months to develop a bylaw that is well thought out.

“We don’t have a bylaw ready and crafted today that we could share and disseminate in any way at all, even for an opinion from all the different stakeholders,” said Tod.

“In September we’re hoping to have a bylaw ready to be circulated and shared among the stakeholders first, then a public consultation afterwards. So, I think it would be the October board meeting where we’re hoping to have something available for the board to approve.”  

The police service has looked at similar bylaws from other provincial municipalities.

“There’s some additional work we need to do on it and make sure that it is in a legitimate form so that the bylaw can be enforceable from our perspective. And we’re also looking at it from an organizational perspective as to how the bylaw would affect the North Bay Police Service in regard to compliance and regulatory checks that would have to take place within what we believe will be in the new bylaw environment,” explained Tod.

Tod says the timeframe seems to be consistent with other jurisdictions when it comes to creating a bylaw that is fair, and safe for the residents of North Bay.   

A hired consultant has been sharing what is trending regarding the rideshare industry, as it reviews the bylaw.

“The consultant has provided us with all the information they had collected from the community town hall and also the research they’ve done from across the country,” said Tod.

‘But the police services board has to make decisions regarding what they would like to see in the bylaw specific to North Bay. The public input has been very helpful as to what the public is looking for in terms of safety and how they would like to have ride transportation occurring within our community.”

Tod wants the bylaw done right the first time.

“We don’t want to make a hasty bylaw. We want to make a bylaw that has got some common sense to it and is fair and provides safety to all of the people that will be using the rideshare, taxi industry in North Bay.”

The police chief says they also want to include a modernization to the rideshare and limousine aspect.

“Opening up the environment into how it is fair for both the taxi industry and the rideshare industry. How do we create a level playing field? Easy to say but it actually is difficult to do when looking at in essence, deregulation of certain things that we do have within the taxi industry. And also relating to a regulatory environment for the rideshare industry and more important for us the compliance aspect. What does compliance look like for police services?”

Tod admits there is a sense of urgency by some of the stakeholders.

“But at the same time, our experience in discussing this with other municipalities across Ontario is the fact that it does take time to craft something that is useful.”