B.C. town finally lifts curfew for teenagers

Previously parents faced fines of up to $5 for having children out after dark

In a few short weeks it will finally be legal for Princeton B.C. children under the age of 16 to be out-of-doors at night.

That’s a result of town council unearthing dozens of dusty bylaws – some more than 60 years old – and voting to repeal them.

Acting CAO Lyle Thomas called the exercise a “housekeeping item,” while noting none of the bylaws being rescinded have been relevant or enforced in many years.

Councillor George Elliott said he was intrigued by some of the dated legislation.

“Some of these are very interesting reading simply because of the changes that have happened to us, not just in Princeton, but in our society as a whole.”

Bylaw 119, “a bylaw to provide rules and regulations that will prevent children on the from being on the Streets of the Village after nightfall,” was passed in 1962.

It sets out that children must be in their homes by 9:30 p.m., unless they are in the care of someone over the age of 21.

“Any child that is found on the Streets of the Village of Princeton after the hour of 9:30 p.m. shall be liable to be warned by any constable or peace officer to go home and if after such warning the child is found loitering on the streets, such child may be taken by such constable or peace office to its home,” it reads.

“Any parent or guardian who permits his child or ward habitually to to contravene this bylaw commits and offense and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the sum of $5 and costs of conviction.”

According to Thomas that bylaw and the others will “technically” be in place until the repeal bylaw – which received three readings at a meeting Monday night – gets final approval.

However they would not be enforced without “an appetite from council,’ he added.

A now-redundant bylaw passed in 1969, specifically permitting Princeton residents to enjoy public sporting events or entertainment – with the exception of horse racing – on Sunday afternoons after 1:30 p.m. is also on the burn pile.

Those activities “but for this section, would be unlawful under Section 6 of the Lord’s Day Act,” it reads.

Thirty-two bylaws are being rescinded under repeal legislation, and Thomas said that is about half of the all the bylaws that staff will eventually bring forward to be struck down.

Many of the old laws on the books were written for specific events, said Thomas, like the 1964 bylaw allowing for a referendum on the fluoridation of the town’s water supply.

Council is also eliminating the 1960 bylaw regulating parking meters, which the town no longer utilizes.

The law allowed for paid, metered parking, at a cost of one, five or ten cents. That law also extended an exemption from parking fees for “the Chairman of the Village Commissioners and all of the Commissioners in office….when engaged in Village Affairs.”

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