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

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

Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother missing for four weeks

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

Abbotsford International Airport. Black Press file photo.
Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down

Statistics Canada report describes a ‘devastating year’ for air travel

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read