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

Chinese author tackles racism and reconciliation

David Wong says cultural diversity should not be feared

Manfred Bauer seeks re-election as mayor of Keremeos

Bauer has been on council since 2005 and in mayor’s chair since 2011

Arlene Arlow seeks Keremeos mayor role

Candidate has served two terms on Keremeos council

Getting up close and personal with birds in the South Okanagan

Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory opening doors to the public

Princeton council candidate tackles accusations of racism

Luigi Gino Del-Ciotto‎ is one of 16 people vying for a spot on the Princeton City Council.

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read