The City of Lloydminster is looking to step out of the regulatory combative sports ring to protect itself from financial liabilities such as law suits.
Council will soon weigh in on the possibility of repealing its Combative Sports Bylaw 2-2010 and a commission set up to regulate professional sports fights.
“If someone gets killed in a boxing ring or whatever happens—some kind of accident that could have been prevented—and maybe they are on city facilities, is there a liability,” asked Coun. Ken Baker during the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on Aug. 30.
“That’s the concern.”
Amateur combative sports are regulated under separate governing bodies.
The city’s bylaw from 2010 is no longer applicable to pro fights on the Saskatchewan side of the city that has since been regulated by the Athletics Commission Act of Saskatchewan.
“Provincial laws always trump city bylaws,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
Alberta is the only province with no pro combative sports regulatory body, with that role resting with each municipality.
With the death of mixed martial arts fighter Tim Hague in a boxing ring in Edmonton on June 16, the city is looking to reduce its risk on the Alberta side of the city too.
If the bylaw is repealed, no professional fight would be allowed on the Alberta side of the city.
Neither Aalbers nor Baker could recall any pro fights taking place in the Border City after the bylaw was passed in 2010 when a commission was also set up to oversee it.
“But certainly due to the recent issues in Edmonton, administration felt it was certainly something we need to look at and definitely consider and ensure that we reduce any potential liabilities for the city — and that’s one that lies out there,” said Aalbers.
Aalbers said council is going to ask administration to gather some more information and they will talk with some people themselves and make sure they are fully abreast of what they’re deciding.
“It’s important that we don’t want to put the city at liabilities,” he said.
Repealing the bylaw will also dissolve the commission that has no members today.
A commission requires two members of city council with at least three members of the public.
“I think you can appreciate maintaining a committee that does not need to meet, is energy that expended that’s not of any value,” said Aalbers.
Baker recalled when the bylaw was debated in 2010, there was concern about liability and what liability individual citizens would have as well as the city.
“When you take a position on a board you have liability,” he said.
He also spoke about potential consequences for the commission if a similar tragedy like Hague’s death happened here.
“We’re liable for a lot of things as city councillors,” said Baker.
“You don’t know —if you act out of good faith and then carry on in a proper fashion then you are probably going to be okay, but typically, with municipalities there’s law suits, and when people want to get at somebody they go after the municipality because of the deep pocket syndrome.”