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

Robert Barron column: Cell phone rules in cars are clear as mud

Woman not actively using her cell should not be guilty of distracted driving

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Vancouver Island mayors getting first-hand look at E&N railway

Island Corridor Foundation taking mayors of railway towns on inspection tours

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Island pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

Report of gunshots leads to discovery of man’s body in Campbell River

Police conduct investigation in the south end of Campbell River

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Suspect hits woman with pipe, jumps into waiting truck in downtown Nanaimo

Police say victim believes ‘vicious assault’ was an attempted purse-snatching

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

Missing Nanaimo hiker safely located

Search and rescue teams, RCMP were involved in search in south Nanaimo

Langford woman charged after allegedly racking up $10,000 in loans using stolen identity

A 32-year-old Langford woman faces theft, fraud, and impersonation charges

Wind warning issued for Campbell River

Wind could reach speeds of up to 70km/h: Environment Canada

Victoria woman selling car halts fraudster in action

VicPD warns public to be on the lookout for bank draft fraud

Qualicum Beach offering jobs to supportive housing residents?

City council considers back-to-work program to help Orca Place residents in their transition

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

Most Read