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

Soapbox derby a success in uptown Port Alberni

Organizers say an adult racing category is coming for 2020

Alberni teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

Two Port Alberni teens are missing after their vehicle was found on… Continue reading

Watch the museum come to life with Our Town in Port Alberni

July 23 event takes place at Gyro Recreation Park

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Comox Valley military museum could be closed for a couple of months

HMCS Alberni site suffered water damage during a recent downpour

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Most Read