Letter: Better ways for Downtown Salmon Arm businesses to address poverty

Prohibiting sitting or lying down both measures designed to make poverty invisible and criminal

The newly-passed bylaw on panhandling in Salmon Arm is a disgrace to the city and local businesses.

The bylaw addresses claims that panhandlers are a “threat” to downtown businesses by hiding and criminalizing poverty. The problem of poverty and begging could instead be addressed creatively and supportively. Downtown businesses in much larger cities use a number of successful tactics (apart from trying to address the root causes of poverty). People who have no shelter can sleep in doorways – if the business is supportive, the person will keep it clean and vacate it during business hours. Businesses can pay people for odd jobs, replacing the need to beg. Window-washing, garbage and recycling sorting and removal, sidewalk sweeping, carrying groceries for customers are all options. Alternatively, businesses can keep a tip jar for folks, and give it to their sponsored person daily.

Read more: New bylaw: No panhandling allowed within 15 metres of some businesses

Read more: City’s proposed panhandling bylaw returns for public hearing

Read more: Word on the street: What do you think of the city’s panhandling bylaw?

And here’s an idea for a more appropriate bylaw: any business that objects to visible poverty should be fined or made to donate monthly to the food bank, women’s transition house and shelters.

Councillors’ public statements reveal a total lack of caring. Just because other cities are doing it doesn’t mean we have to stoop to their level. Louise Richmond Wallace is referenced as saying that “council doesn’t want to criminalize poverty.” The bylaw you just passed directly contradicts your statement. Putting severe limits on locations (15 metres is further from businesses than the smoking ban!) and prohibiting sitting or lying down are both measures designed to make poverty both invisible and criminal.

I beg you (whoops, don’t fine me!), revoke this disgusting, heartless and counterproductive bylaw before Salmon Arm becomes a byword for cruelty. It’s not how we think of this city, we trust that the better parts of local business and government will prevail.

Rebecca Kneen,

Left Fields/Crannóg Ales,


Just Posted

Map points to mysterious ‘Waterdome’ in the middle of Salmon Arm Bay

City would like to have map marker removed, pilot recalls its significance

43-acre property donated in memory of Shuswap man

Land along Eagle River to be named Ken Ritchie Park

Ski with Santa fundraiser and beginner trail opening coming to Larch Hills

Tour of new trail to take place on Dec. 28, followed by annual Lantern Ski

Secwepemc knowledge-keeper’s contributions recognized by Province of B.C.

Louis Thomas one of 18 people to receive B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship

Salmar manager draws curtain on career with Salmon Arm’s independent movie theatres

After 22 years, Daila Duford announces departure at association’s AGM

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Healing with honesty: Justice served 40 years later

Revelstoke senior gets house arrest for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

WorkSafe BC to investigate explosion at Princeton facility

Explosion at Envirogreen waste reclamation plant occurred Nov. 27

Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Vernon’s Refill Store may be answer to plastics problem

Okanagan RCMP not toying around when it comes to impaired drivers

Saturday, Dec. 7 is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Crown delves into Sagmoen’s history with North Okanagan sex workers

Decision on validity of police search warrant will be made on Monday, Dec. 9

Most Read