Housing Hub has secured interim funding from City of Chilliwack.

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Sitting and sleeping on some downtown sidewalks could be banned in Penticton, this summer as part of the city’s plan to crack down on loitering.

Councillors have voted 5-2 in favour of amending the Good Neighbourhood Bylaw, giving police and bylaw officers the power to hand out tickets for $100 fines.

READ MORE: 100 Homes seeks to add Penticton to federal homelessness strategy

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30 and cover about a dozen blocks on Ellis, Martin and Main streets.

Coun. Jake Kimberly told a council meeting it’s “unfortunate” the city has to resort to such a plan but loitering “interferes with the residents who pay for those sidewalks, it interferes with businesses that pay taxes to operate those stores.”

Coun. Campbell Watt, who voted against the bylaw, expressed concern about how it may affect people watching a parade, for example, and said he’s not comfortable “pushing people out.”

Coun. Julius Bloomfield agreed, saying the change would only target the “symptom” of a lack of affordable housing and should include public input.

“I know there’s a lot of support, but I know there’s a lot of concern as well,” Bloomfield said.

The bylaw already places limits on panhandling and the changes are aimed at those who are sleeping, loitering or deemed to be causing a nuisance in the designated areas, which make up about 17 per cent of the downtown sidewalk length.

Bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert told council the approach is meant to be minimally restrictive and her staff tries to “balance the heart with the hammer” in its dealings with people.

Development services manager Anthony Haddad said the three streets selected for the loitering ban were chosen because they’ve either been revitalized or are up-and-coming areas.

Other tentatively approved amendments to the Good Neighbour Bylaw would change the definition of street to include vacant storefronts, ban the connection of recreational vehicles to the city sewer system and prohibit the installation of lights that shine onto adjacent properties.

The amendment will be back before council for final approval at a meeting on June 4.

Joe Fries, The Penticton Herald, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Meet Tour de North cyclist Chris Fedoruk

Quesnel man is a community rider with this year’s Cops for Cancer team

Forestry Ink: Forest tenure changes are occurring throughout the world

Regular columnist Jim Hilton writes about forest tenure and ownership

Quesnel Safeway honours its volunteer shoppers

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Safeway’s volunteer shopper program

Police name second suspect, lay kidnapping and attempted murder charges in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incidents

Drynock is considered dangerous, do not approach him and call the local RCMP detachment immediately

Grey Ghost to get back on track at Doug Larson Memorial Race

Quesnel’s Mike Spooner wants to race again after 17-year hiatus

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read