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

BC Wildfire Service to send 267 firefighters to Alberta

Sufficient personnel, resources remain in B.C. to respond to any fire activity

Car crashes into semi-truck in West Kelowna

Highway 97 heading northbound by Boucherie Rd. closed

Reminder: recycle your plant pots

Plastic flowerpots and plant trays can all be recycled

More than 200 Okanagan kids set to take to the skies

The annual COPA for Kids event will take place at the Kelowna airport on June 15

City of Kelowna’s Neighbourhood Grant to fund resident projects

Improve the block with innovative ideas funded by the city

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

South Okanagan cannabis dispensary operator that was raided is going to trial

Store operator is facing one charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

On-duty Vancouver cop facing dangerous driving charges after cyclist hit

The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Most Read