Members of Downtown Salmon Arm are being reminded to provide feedback on the city’s panhandling bylaw.
City council is revisiting the bylaw to regulate street solicitation in the City of Salmon Arm and would like input from the community. A public hearing is set for the council meeting on Monday, May 13 at 7 p.m.
Jennifer Broadwell, members co-ordinator for the DSA, sent out an email noting, “council is requesting to hear and see representation at the Public Hearing from DSA, its membership and all interest groups and individuals as possible before they consider adopting the Bylaw or not.”
She says that depending on the amount and content of feedback, this could be the last opportunity membership may have to aid in regulating the impact of solicitors/panhandling in the downtown core.
She urges DSA members to read the bylaw, determine how it applies to their business and/or affects their customers and then provide feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter directly to mayor and council by May 6. She also encourages members to attend the hearing on May 13.
“Additionally, your presence at the public hearing is very important…”
On Aug. 13 last year, a public hearing regarding the street solicitation bylaw was adjourned after public input in order to consider more compassionate solutions.
In March of this year, Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said the social impact committee would like to help council. She said committee members had agreed that prior to another public hearing, a group of community organizations and the RCMP should be convened to provide council with recommendations on the bylaw. She said council understood clearly from the public in August that fining people when they’re vulnerable isn’t popular with residents.
Also in March, Coun. Kevin Flynn said he valued the offer to put together a sub-group, noting council was reacting to concerns about panhandling from downtown merchants.
“We tried to have an open house which almost no one came to,” he said, adding that when it came to the bylaw, the committee and others were quick to criticize it.
“I’d like to see them discuss it before we discuss it.”
Wallace Richmond emphasized that “only through a multi-pronged, collaborative, creative approach are we going to get a handle on this.”