VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A possible “bubble zone” around the Davie Village in Vancouver is the city’s mayor’s proposed solution to keep people in the LGBTQ+ community safe from hate.
The bubble zone would prevent people from carrying out certain activities, such as anti-gay preaching, in the specified area, similar to the zones in place around abortion clinics.
“A bubble zone basically creates a physical distance by which you can conduct those activities,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart told NEWS 1130.
This comes after an anti-gay preacher was arrested following a confrontation with a Vancouver man that left the latter with a broken leg. It also follows two rallies which were planned in the West End by Toronto preacher David Lynn, who is known to for targetting LGBTQ+ communities and spreading messages against the community..
Stewart tells @NEWS1130 "This absolutely has to stop and it has to stop for good. It can't be stop one group and then, another group comes back in."
He adds a bubble zone would be more effective than ticketing someone for violating noise bylaws. #vanpoli @NEWS1130
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) September 2, 2020
Though he’s only just begun looking into the idea, Stewart thinks it can be a long-term solution, “especially for this really national monument to love, which is the Davie Village. It needs to be respected and protected.”
Stewart says other possible solutions include stronger noise bylaws and asking the federal government to broaden the definition of what is considered hate speech.
“There’s been a number of ideas floating in the community; ones enforcing say a noise bylaw but that’s really just the ticket. You can pay your ticket and come back and do it over and over and over again, so that’s not something that’s going to stop targeted repeat behaviour,” he said.
“We’ve also looked at hate crime legislation, but that’s actually kind of an additional charge the Crown prosecutor would use. It’s not really a tool of the police.”
Stewart says he’s meeting with Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer on Thursday to talk about other possible long-term solutions, not just for people living in the city’s West End.
“I understand people’s frustration and concerns but it looks like we don’t have the right tools in the toolbox,” he says.
“I totally get the frustration. I’m frustrated too. We’ll explore the short-term options with the chief if there’s anything else we can do in the short-term, but we need a longer-term solution.”