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

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

Just Posted

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Register for a library card in Houston

The Houston Public Library may be closed to the public but it… Continue reading

Feds announce details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The federal government announced that is was taking actions to help Canadian… Continue reading

Creativity and hard work key to providing student instruction

Teachers, staff stepping up at School District 54 schools

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read