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Blackfalds council passes taxi bylaw

The Town of Blackfalds now has a taxi bylaw following a vote by council.

The Town of Blackfalds now has a taxi bylaw following a vote by council.

At its regular meeting earlier this month, council for the Town of Blackfalds gave second and third reading to an amended version of the bylaw which was first presented to council on July 9.

Blackfalds’ taxi bylaw incorporates ideas from the taxi bylaws of several other municipalities, such as Lacombe and Red Deer, throughout the province.

Its purpose is to manage the licensing and control of taxis within the town.

Before being presented to council on Aug. 13, the bylaw was amended to address concerns brought up by council at the July 9 meeting.

One amendment was made that taxis must have their rates clearly posted for patrons to view.

In response to Councillor Richard Poole’s concern that that the bylaw’s definition of a ‘qualified applicant’ would deter new drivers from moving to Blackfalds to make a living, the definition was then changed to mean anyone approved to have a taxi or broker license in the Town of Blackfalds.

Prior to the amendment, a ‘qualified applicant’ was a person who had worked in the taxi industry as a driver or broker for at least two consecutive years of 1,200 hours prior to person’s application.

Poole, who opposed giving the bylaw first reading on July 9, said that he was glad to see changes made to accommodate new drivers and agreed that the Town of Blackfalds was in need of such a bylaw.

However, Poole also stated that he was not completely satisfied with the amended bylaw either.

Two points of the bylaw still caused concern for Poole. First was the use of the word ‘character’.

Poole said the word was ambiguous and not defined in the bylaw.

He also said it was unnecessary as every aspect of a driver’s behaviour is already controlled within the bylaw and that the word should either not be used or be defined within the bylaw.

Poole also took issue with the appeal process of the bylaw where appeals on decisions made by the license inspector be made to the CAO.

Instead, Poole suggested that another body, such as the council sub-committee that already deals with grievances, be appointed to deal with appeals as it is in most of the other taxi bylaws he mentioned.

In response to Poole’s concerns, council voted to further amend the taxi bylaw to define the word ‘character’ and appoint a sub-committee to hear appeals before giving it first and second readings.

All the votes to make further amendments and to give first and second reading to the further amended bylaw were unanimous.