The circles on the map represent a 15-metre radius from the entrance to existing downtown financial institutions, ATMS, outdoor eating areas, theatres, bus stops and liquor and cannabis outlets. These are the areas downtown where panhandling is prohibited. (Google maps)

The circles on the map represent a 15-metre radius from the entrance to existing downtown financial institutions, ATMS, outdoor eating areas, theatres, bus stops and liquor and cannabis outlets. These are the areas downtown where panhandling is prohibited. (Google maps)

City review concludes Salmon Arm panhandling bylaw warranted

Council now looking at other steps to meet needs of people who are homeless

Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw has done what it was supposed to do, according to city staff, council and the RCMP.

In May of this year, the majority of council adopted a street solicitation bylaw and, in July, an accompanying amendment that includes a fine for panhandling. The bylaw was in response to complaints about the number of people panhandling downtown from some downtown merchants and shoppers.

Mayor Alan Harrison agreed to bring the bylaw back before the end of the year for review.

The street solicitation bylaw prohibits soliciting on a street 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 or the entrance to a theatre or art gallery. It also prohibits sitting or lying on a street for the purpose of solicitation, soliciting from the occupant of a motor vehicle and soliciting from a public bench, seating or within a public plaza.

The ticketing amendment enforces a fine of $50 for infractions. When passing it, council emphasized the fines are meant to be a last resort. Coun. Sylvia Lindgren was alone in voting against the panhandling bylaw and the fine.

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

Read more: City council to take second look at controversial panhandling bylaw

Read more: Salmon Arm proceeds with panhandling bylaw

At Monday’s meeting, city staff reported that no municipal tickets have been issued by the city bylaw officer and no complaints have been filed with the bylaw department.

“Staff are very pleased with the co-operation of the street solicitors in adhering to the requirements of the bylaw. We are hopeful that we can expect the same degree of co-operation in years to come,” wrote Maurice Roy, manager of permits and licensing.”

RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West reported that although officers don’t always create files when they speak to people on patrol, he believes several panhandlers were informed of the bylaw and moved to where it is legal.

“It is our opinion that this bylaw has had the desired effect and was enforced in keeping with local government wishes.”

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond, chair of the city’s social impact advisory committee, noted that the day the bylaw was passed, council had spoken about how it was only one part of the work to be done.

“There’s no question there are people whose needs aren’t being met in this community.”

She made note of the community integration-specialist hired by the province, who is spending her time having conversations with “the people who are living this experience.”

She said council has heard from downtown merchants that they are committed to reaching out in an appropriate way to help those in need and working on a downtown care strategy.

She added that her committee has recommended the city apply for social planning grants to identify gaps and overlaps in social planning.

“But it would not be fair to let the day pass without saying the work is not complete,” Wallace Richmond remarked, noting that the bylaw is “one very blunt tool in a large and complex toolbox. It behooves me to say this on behalf of the people who work with those who live this experience every day.

Read more: Fines of $50 added to Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw to be used as last resort

Read more: Panhandling bylaw – Homeless man thinks it should target only aggressive panhandlers

Read more: Salmon Arm Mall’s no-panhandling sign reported to be result of complaints

Harrison agreed. He said it has allowed merchants to do business and seniors who shop downtown to feel safe while they’re there.

“It is one piece of the box that we needed because we needed guidelines. And I believe that it has served its purpose.”

The provincially funded community integration specialist is one step, he said. Although they’re based in Vernon, they’re spending most of their time in Salmon Arm.

“So that’s a positive.”

He also pointed to the BC Housing project being built and the work of the city’s housing taskforce.

The third step, he said, has been working with the Salvation Army to try to set up a commercial kitchen in order that the Lighthouse emergency shelter could be kept open longer. That has not yet been successful.

Harrison concluded that, with the other actions being taken, although it was a difficult decision to pass the bylaw, “I think in hindsight I would say it was the right thing to do.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Cashion, left, the first baby born at Shuswap Lake General Hospital in 2021, is already taking to his older brother Liam. (Submitted)
Newcomers to Shuswap welcome Salmon Arm hospital’s first baby of 2021

The Cashion family’s newest son Benjamin was born on Jan. 8.

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(Photo: Pixabay)
Enderby chamber proposes new rural e-business training program

The program would help rural-area businesses expand using online tools and insights

Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)
COLUMN: COVID-19 pandemic hits home

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

With bridge construction well underway on the project to replace the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge. Motorists should expect delays of up to half an hour. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Pedestrian path would connect Solsqua-Sicamous bridge to community

District of Sicamous staff say bridge replacement project on tight schedule

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read