THE CITY is going to erect signs at its aquatic centre warning against offensive behaviour after a March 6 incident in which a First Nations woman said she had overheard racist comments.
The comments came from two youths between the ages of 12 and 14 who were in the sauna with the woman.
City councillor Marylin Davies, who brought up the matter at the March 11 council meeting, said the boys continued to act out despite a verbal warning from city workers.
Davies believes more could have been done to deal with the situation.
A city by-law gives enforcement officers, who include RCMP and the city’s Director of Leisure Services, the ability to ban individuals from city facilities and property for up to seven days for offensive behaviour.
“We’ve lost our awareness of it,” Davies said of the bylaw, adding that she believes a by-law officer should have been notified in this situation.
“I don’t want to punish them just smarten them up,” Davies said of the youths.
She wants the signs to promote equal opportunity and a zero tolerance policy toward offensive behaviour.
The specific wording of the signs hasn’t been decided yet, but “will relate to treating others with respect while using the facility,” said city administrator Heather Avison. “Our intent is to get signs up as soon as possible.”
“We have a lot of good people doing a lot of good work in Terrace,” Davies said about successful efforts of groups like the Skeena Diversity Society to make Terrace an equal opportunity municipality.
“Those two kids shouldn’t be allowed to mess up something that has been so positive in this town,” Davies said of the situation, emphasizing that incidents like this are not widespread in Terrace but that measures should be taken nonetheless to remind people to respect others.
She noted that there are equal opportunity signs posted at the recreation centre in the Nisga’a village of Gitlakdamix located in the Nass Valley.
There are similar signs in the sportsplex here.