Council adds fines for street solicitation to be used only as last resort. (File photo)

Salmon Arm to fine panhandlers $50 as a last resort

Councillors say intention of street solicitation bylaw is not to criminalize poverty

Fines for panhandling in the city have received initial approval, with council emphasizing they’re a last resort.

City council passed a street solicitation bylaw in May, without the accompanying fines included. Those have now been added in an amendment to the ‘ticket information utilization bylaw’ and were given three readings by council on July 8. Final adoption is yet to come.

The fines are $50 per offence.

Infractions listed are:

• soliciting within 15 metres of the places highlighted in the street solicitation bylaw. They include: the entrance to a bank, credit union or trust company; an automated teller machine; a bus stop or bus shelter; a restaurant with outdoor seating or the entrance to a theatre or art gallery.

• soliciting a motor vehicle occupant

• sitting or lying on a street

• public solicitation.

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

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

Read more: Proposed Salmon Arm bylaw would clamp down on panhandlers

Coun. Kevin Flynn pointed out that Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops have $100 fines, while the provincial Safe Streets Act, which can only be enforced by police, is $89.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said she sees the fine, “to be blunt,” as a housekeeping detail. She noted the street solicitation bylaw was passed in May and the fine amount was a detail still outstanding.

“The intention was to not fine…,” she said, a principle that was emphasized in a staff report to council.

“Council can have every assurance from staff that the intent of the bylaw is well understood and every effort will be made to resolve compliance issues without the use of the Municipal Ticket Information system,” wrote Maurice Roy, manager of permits and licensing.

The report also outlined what approach will be used for anyone in violation of the street solicitation bylaw.

“The primary method of achieving compliance will be education followed by a request for compliance. If the offense continues, the bylaw officer would then escalate to a verbal warning which could be followed by a written demand notification. City staff’s last resort would be the issuance of a municipal ticket.”

Wallace Richmond emphasized the street solicitation bylaw makes reference to the city working with social agencies to develop a compassionate and collaborative framework in working with vulnerable populations.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw put on hold

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

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said she is voting against the fines “with great respect to my fellow councillors.”

She said she knows other councillors have been involved with the issue for a long time and are doing what they think is right. However, “I don’t see how fining people living on the street makes sense.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he’s heard both sides of the issue. He asked the public works department how many people have been fined under bylaws like the watering or unsightly premises bylaw. Under watering, none, he was told. Unsightly premises, a few.

Wallace Richmond said council doesn’t want to criminalize poverty; she expects the fine provision will never be used except in extreme circumstances.

Flynn, Wallace Richmond and Coun. Debbie Cannon voted in favour of amending the ticket information bylaw to include panhandling fines, while Lindgren voted against.

Mayor Alan Harrison and Couns. Tim Lavery and Chad Eliason were absent.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

City of Courtenay installing aqua dam in Lewis Park

With winter approaching, seasonal storms are likely to begin affecting the East… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Ceremony to honour National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6

The ceremony took place at noon on the plaza outside of the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Scholarships created in honour of Comox Valley man who died in plane crash

Awards related to indigenous studies and the environment will be offered in memory of Micah Messent

Province announces new school for Hornby Island; $27 million in upgrades to Lake Trail

Upgrades to Lake Trail include a $1.5-million child care centre

Cumberland rejects parking variance for proposed building

Council agrees to other variance for height change in mixed-use building

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

‘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

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Grinch strikes Town of Comox’s Christmas lights

Someone made their way down Comox Avenue and cut wires for the Town’s Christmas decorations.

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read