Moncton backpedals on basketball nets removal orders

The City of Moncton is ordering children in a neighbourhood to remove their basketball nets because they are located on a section of city-owned property.

City manager wants nets removed at night-only

The City of Moncton is changing its tune about ordering children in a neighbourhood to remove their basketball hoop because they are located on a section of city-owned property.

Joanna Lirette received a notice from the city saying they had to take down her children's basketball net which sat on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street.

As well, she said the notice prohibited her children from other outdoor activities, such as rollerskating and skateboarding.

Now, Jacques Dube, Moncton's city manager, says the letter was a little harsh.

"We do apologize for the tone of that letter, it shouldn’t have gone out in that way," Dube said. "We will be reviewing the bylaw to see whether we should change any of the wording of the bylaw, but in the meantime, people should not be alarmed, kids can play … on quiet, residential streets."

He clarified, saying nets are fine on the quiet streets, provided they're removed at night.

"Effectively leaving basketball nets overnight on the street is a safety hazard for motorists and city vehicles like garbage trucks – we primarily pick up garbage at night – between midnight and eight o’clock in the morning."

The notice had caused Lirette to question Moncton's dedication to healthy lifestyles.

"Placing such an extreme limit, and quite frankly an unreasonable limit on their day-to-day activities it's in no way promoting a healthy lifestyle," Lirette said.

The Moncton mother said the family cancelled their television subscription over the summer as a way to encourage her children to play outside.

Hoop is on city property

Alcide Richard, Moncton’s senior engineer, told CBC News the city’s decision to ask the family to move the basketball net was because anything on city property is the city's responsibility.

"It’s one thing to play outside and we don't say that we're discouraging that. However, somebody will be coming after the city for having basketball nets on its streets," he said.

In May, a Saint John family was asked to stop playing basketball on the street after the police received a complaint from a neighbour.

"We want to be as flexible as possible. Kids should be outside, but we also have to look out for the health and the safety of city workers," Dube said.