Maple Ridge council adopted anti-aggressive begging bylaw, Tuesday. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge’s anti-panhandling bylaw gets final OK

Council votes 6-1 to ban aggressive begging

Maple Ridge council gave the final OK Tuesday to a safer streets bylaw that prohibits panhandling within 10 metres of banks, ATMs, bus stops, liquor stores, pot stores, daycares, or anyone sitting in a motor vehicle at a traffic light.

Council voted 6-1 to fourth reading, with Coun. Kiersten Duncan opposed.

Mayor Mike Morden said the bylaw is about providing safe passage “… on our streets and into our businesses. This is about keeping the public safe.”

Two community safety officers will use discretion in enforcing the bylaw and help connect street people with services, he added.

“This is about deterrence. It’s about prevention. It’s also … to connect people with the help they need if they’re ready, willing and able to take it,” Morden said at council.

The bylaw targets aggressive panhandling, stating that people can’t “sit or lie on a street in a manner which obstructs or impedes” pedestrian traffic.

The minimum fine is $50.

As well, people can’t ask for money if they’re part of a group of three or more and they can’t continue to harass someone who’s said no to a request for spare change.

Morden said that most panhandling is related to collecting money for drugs.

“We’ve committed to making sure we provide all the vehicles possible to get people the help they need, but also we’ve made extreme commitments to ensure we will have safe streets,” Morden said.

The bylaw is part of council’s community safety plan.

Coun. Judy Dueck said that council wants to help people, but must also listen to all citizens, including residents and businesses.

“I believe we have an obligation to ensure all our citizens are safe,” Dueck said.

The city, though, should focus on reducing the stigma of mental illness and addiction, said Duncan, adding that she’s heard that street people are afraid.

“We have a lot of love and compassion in our community, but unfortunately, I have to admit, we also have a lot of hate,” Duncan added.

She said the bylaw wasn’t about helping people, but fining them.

Duncan also said she understood what the rest of council was attempting, but that the city instead should help social service agencies that deal with homelessness.

“We respect the rights of individuals to solicit for money, however, we are putting some limitations on that support in order to respect the right of our citizens to safety and security,” said Coun. Chelsa Meadus.

Council can’t improve the downtown if people don’t want to walk in the area, she added.

A staff report notes that passive panhandling cannot be prohibited because it’s protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

Intergenerational Garden in Maple Ridge set to close if funding not found

The teaching garden brought together seniors and children

Winter Family Fun Fair a joy for all

Maple Ridge Public library hosted literacy event featured 27 exhibitors

Untrending: Who wants to be perceived as ruthless, pushy, or striving?

A closer look at how to set and achieve goals.

Famous skateboard residence goes up for sale in Maple Ridge

Kyle Dion’s house on Stoney Avenue has a backyard feature few others can boast

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read