Salmon Arm council has put the city’s street solicitation bylaw on hold, allowing time time for the community to come up with more compassionate solutions. (File photo)

Salmon Arm council has put the city’s street solicitation bylaw on hold, allowing time time for the community to come up with more compassionate solutions. (File photo)

Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw put on hold

City council allows time to pursue more compassionate solutions

Salmon Arm council will continue to gather input on a proposed panhandling bylaw, and allow time to pursue more compassionate solutions to the city’s homelessness concerns.

A public hearing was held in council chambers Monday night, Aug. 13, for the city’s street solicitation bylaw. At the end, the hearing was adjourned, leaving the bylaw at second reading.

If approved, the bylaw would limit solicitation (panhandling) on a street to within 15 metres of the entrance to a bank, credit union or trust company, an ATM, a bus stop or shelter, a restaurant with outdoor seating or the entrance to a theatre or art gallery. No person would be permitted to solicit from an occupant of a motor vehicle that is parked, stopped at a traffic control signal or stopped temporarily for the purpose of loading or unloading.

The bylaw also prohibits solicitation while seated or lying on a street, solicitation from sunset to sunrise and from a public bench or within a public plaza.

Related: More housing, services needed

Every person who commits an offence would be liable to a fine and penalty of not more than $2,000 and not less than $50.

First to speak at the hearing, resident Sarah Weaver said she is concerned the bylaw would penalize people for being poor. She noted how the city recently went through a “social media process” celebrating an inclusive Salmon Arm, and suggested this inclusivity extend to helping those who are homeless and forced to live on the street.

“Surely our inclusiveness is broad enough to embrace them as well,” said Weaver.

Related: A population in crisis: homelessness in the Shuswap

Paige Hilland, acting residential co-ordinator with the Shuswap Area Family Emergency Society, noted how a lot of the language in the bylaw comes from larger urban centres (the bylaw was modelled after solicitation bylaws in Kamloops and Kelowna), communities that have “already put a lot of energy and resources into services for those who are homeless.”

“It’s putting the cart before the horse here, without providing comprehensive services for people who are homeless. We shouldn’t even be having a conversation about criminalizing further people who are homeless and have to live this kind of lifestyle,” said Hilland.

Downtown property owner Bill Laird supported putting the bylaw on hold to find a solution to the city’s homeless problem, but questioned what will happen after.

Related:Homeless man dreams of helping others

“Will we still hesitate to ask people to take advantage of that opportunity, or will we accept the fact that they’re still going to be sitting downtown asking for money?” said Laird.

Coun. Kevin Flynn thanked Laird for voicing his thoughts, but expressed disappointment in the lack of representation by downtown businesses.

“I find it a little bit frustrating that we’ve opened up this opportunity for public input and the people who asked us to try to make a difference with this issue aren’t here to speak to it,” said Flynn.

Following the presentations, council offered their thoughts on the bylaw. Flynn said he wished to take a step back as a community and come up with a compassionate solution, “not a rules-based solution, not fining people who don’t have the money….”

Related: Youth urge compassion for homeless

Flynn later noted council supported a resolution to send a letter to the B.C. government seeking support for an outreach worker.

Coun. Tim Lavery wasn’t opposed to putting the bylaw on hold and allowing for the development of community support initiatives. But he also supported having a minimal fine structure in place and increasing the size of solicitation-free zones around banks and other areas beyond the five metres supported in the provincial Safe Streets Act.

“I think it’s important that we be compassionate, we look for social support, but we also define some social behaviour…,” said Lavery.

Coun. Alan Harrison was supportive of “taking a pause, of taking time to do the right thing,” but also stressed that Salmon Arm lacks the resources to provide for all the social needs in the city.

“This issue is a balance between compassion and safety in my mind,” said Harrison. “We all know that bad luck can bring poverty, mental health and addiction, and we’re not the first community to be dealing with this. Communities all over the world have been dealing with this, trying to deal with it, and I don’t think any of them could say we’ve got this problem solved.”


@SalmonArm
newsroom@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

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Salmon Arm’s Halle Krawczyk gives a thumbs up following surgery on Jan. 22 in Pittsburgh, her second of three battling an extremely rare form of cancer that formed tumours on her two upper vertebrae and the clivus behind the nose. (Contributed)
‘Absolutely perfect:’ Salmon Arm girl’s surgeries for tumour exceed expectations

Halle Krawczyk doing well, mom credits hundreds of people praying for making the difference

Salmon Arm RCMP search a property in the 700 block of Grandview Bench Road in March 2019, assisting Edmonton police with an investigation that led to the arrest of a Salmon Arm man man who was charged in relation to an Edmonton bank robbery and a related explosions. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man accused in Edmonton bank explosions in court for weapon offences

Local provincial court appearances for charges including possessing weapon for dangerous purpose

From left, city workers Hugh Bennett, Chris Carr and Teneal Crossman secure the fountain they’ve just removed from McGuire Lake back in October 2020 before the ice moved in. (File photo)
Salmon Arm, CUPE local reach five-year deal with city staff, RCMP clerks

Agreement includes two per cent wage hike for each of five years in agreement

RCMP cruiser
Residents help RCMP track fleeing driver in North Shuswap

Police stop vehicle with spike belt, Chase man arrested

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Heather Barker. (File)
Manslaughter charge laid in Vernon woman’s 2018 death

Shaun Ross Wiebe, 43, faces manslaughter and assault charges related to the death of Heather Barker

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

The City of Vernon is sending a letter to the provincial government to request that church be deemed an essential service amid the pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon mayor scolded for revealing stance on making church essential

Coun. Scott Anderson calls Cummings’ actions ‘arrogant’

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Driver found guilty of causing death, injury in 2018 Kelowna crash

Travis Ryan Hennessy will face sentencing at a later date

(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News staff)
Downtown stairwell fire suspicious, Kelowna RCMP say

Crews were called to Gotham Nightclub for a report of a stairwell fire

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Most Read