Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lumby targets aggressive panhandling

by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star posted Jun 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Panhandling isn’t just a big city issue. Lumby council gave three readings Monday to a bylaw to regulate and control panhandling. “We do have a few who panhandle and there is one who is aggressive,” said Coun. Lori Mindnich. “They (residents) will be going into a store and he will get right in their face and scare them.” Under the bylaw, an individual will not panhandle within 10 metres of an entrance to a financial institution, an automated teller machine, a bus stop or a liquor store entrance. It would also be illegal to seek money from the occupant of a vehicle that is parked or stopped at a traffic light. Panhandlers would also not be able to sit or lie down on the street, or block access to a business or residence. Mayor Kevin Acton says it's unfortunate that aggressive panhandling has occurred. "We work hard to have a community where there is a food bank and social services," he said. "We put a lot of effort into people not having to panhandle." Mindnich believes the bylaw won’t eliminate panhandling but she says it gives the village an opportunity to deal with aggressive situations. She also wants to ensure that there is increased awareness about community services available for those in need. “If you need help, there is assistance.” It’s anticipated the bylaw will be adopted by council July 11.

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