Salmon Arm has given two readings to a bylaw which will further restrict, beyond provincial regulations, where panhandlers can be. (Observer file photo)

Proposed Salmon Arm bylaw would clamp down on panhandlers

Based on bylaws in Kelowna and Kamloops, this one extends prohibited areas from 10 to 15 metres

The City of Salmon Arm has introduced a bylaw that will toughen the rules for panhandling.

However, some members of city council say the bylaw is useful mainly because it will allow them to receive public input on the issue. A public hearing will be held on Aug. 13, after which council will vote on whether to approve the bylaw.

A provincial Safer Streets Act already exists which prohibits ‘street solicitation’ inside a five-metre zone in proximity to various kinds of businesses and locales, such as banks and automated teller machines.

City staff say Salmon Arm’s proposed bylaw is similar to Kamloops and Kelowna, which prohibit street solicitation within 10 metres of such sites. But Salmon Arm’s bylaw takes a step further. Five more metres, in fact.

Salmon Arm’s would prohibit panhandling within 15 metres of: an entrance to a bank, credit union or trust company; an automated teller machine; a bus stop or bus shelter; a restaurant with outdoor seating; and the entrance to a theatre or art gallery.

Other rules include: no person shall solicit at any time during the period from sunset to sunrise; no person shall sit or lie on a street for the purpose of solicitation; no person shall solicit from a public bench, seating or within a public plaza; and no person shall continue to solicit on a street from a person after that person has made a negative response.

Related: Street life taking its toll

Related: More housing, services needed

The bylaw would also restrict access to people in motor vehicles when parked, stopped at a traffic control signal or standing temporarily for the purpose of loading or unloading.

As for penalties, offenders could be subject to fines. The proposed bylaw states that anyone who commits an offence is liable to a fine and penalty of not more than $2,000 and not less than $50 for each offence.

In discussions of the bylaw, Louise Wallace Richmond said public input is needed.

“This is a conversation the community needs to have.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he would vote to support first and second reading, but “pending a lightning bolt or something revolutionary, I likely won’t support it at third and final reading.”

He said enforcement will be a problem, as the city has neither the staff nor the capability to enforce such a bylaw.

“That being said, I think we have to go to the public.”

He said he’s heard in other communities that enforcement of such bylaws creates nothing but legal issues.

“I think it will create more problems than it solves.”

Related: Salmon Arm police hit the street with food patrols

City staff also expressed concerns regarding enforcement in a report which concluded: “This bylaw is coming forward as a result of political direction.”

Coun. Ken Jamieson said the Safe Streets Act could very well be adequate, but he likes the idea of receiving public input. He said it’s important to find a balance.

“I don’t want to outlaw something we call panhandling that makes us feel uncomfortable. I must say I’ve never been accosted by anyone asking me for anything, from the ones who are most visible.”

Staff Sgt. Staff West happened to be in the gallery, so Wallace Richmond asked him to reiterate his view.

He said it could be one more tool in the RCMP’s toolbox.

It’s one thing to have law-abiding citizens who are up against tough times, he said, and another when there are people ignorant of the law who don’t want to become educated.

“If there is a bylaw, it’s one more set of rules. If you don’t have that, it’s going to the provincial act and the Criminal Code.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Commercial/residential development planned for foreshore

Salmon Arm project near regional district building goes to hearing

Public weighs in on campground

District’s plan to remove property from ALR proceeds

Sicamous legion mural taking shape

Painting on wall honours sacrifice of past and present military members

Eagle’s death causes power outage

Thousands of Salmon Arm residents were without power for about an hour on Monday night

Salmon Arm man speaks out against violence in his home country

Roberto Guatdamuz Rueda has been following reports of the general strike and violence in Nicaragua

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

UPDATE: Bail decision not yet reached for Vernon murder suspect

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 9 a.m. June 29 for bail decision

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read