If you've ever sat down on city streets before, you now could be fined $100 after this British Columbia city just made it illegal to sit or lie down on city streets. The City of Penticton voted on Tuesday to approve these new laws that will limit anyone from gathering in areas of the city for a long period of time. The city states that these new amendments have to do with the safety of their city.
According to CTV News, Penticton has approved amendments to its 'Good Neighbour' bylaw that will now ban people from sitting or lying down on city streets in the downtown core. Not only will these new rules limit people from sitting down on the sidewalks, but it will also stop people from gathering outside vacant stores. These rules will be in effect every year between May and September. Anyone who is caught violating these new rules could face a $100 charge.
While some homelessness advocates state that these amendments are being passed to only target the homeless community throughout the city, the Mayor, John Vassilaki states that it has to do with the safety of the city.
Vassilaki told CTV that, "This has to do with the safety of our community and that's very important to me,".
This isn't the first city in B.C. to make it illegal to sit on the sidewalks. The City of Kelowna made it illegal to sleep or lie down on city sidewalks in 2016. However, unlike the latest law that's only in place from May to September, Kelowna's ban is regulated 24-hours a day throughout the year.
Since the city of Penticton has released the news of these new amendments, many Canadians seem to disagree with the bylaw, stating that it is unfair to those within the homeless community. Some even state that giving those without money $100 fines is cruel.
While the mayor believes that he is doing what is right for the city, one councilor, Coun. Bloomfield attempted to delay the bylaw stating that more studies should have been conducted about what happened to other cities who have tried the same tactics.