Committee of Charlottetown council looking at what options are available
Committee of Charlottetown council looking at what options are available for areas outside churches.
The City of Charlottetown may consider adding churches to the list of places panhandlers cannot solicit money.
The topic came up again at Monday’s regular public monthly meeting of council.
Coun. Kevin Ramsay remarked that people coming out of churches are encountering panhandlers, especially those who walk to and from church.
Right now, there is nothing in the city’s nuisance bylaw that prevents it from happening.
The bylaw mentions ATMs, payphones, public toilet facilities, transit stops, taxi stands, soliciting money from people getting in and out of a vehicle or who are parked or soliciting money from people who are on a roadway or a person who is in or on a stopped, standing or parked vehicle.
Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of the protective and emergency services committee, said it will come up for discussion.
“It will be something I will take back to the committee and see if it’s something (where) maybe we can amend our bylaw to include ‘for different areas’, churches being one,’’ Coady said.
Tourists are even speaking out on the matter.
In a letter to the editor, Honour G. Nivin of Cheverie, N.S., said he was shocked at the number of panhandlers seeking money from tourists.
“Trying to cross Queen Street (in Charlottetown) at the traffic light at Kent Street,’’ Nivin writes, “I was provoked by one male and I did not respond. He then followed me across the street and tried his luck with another verbal attempt, as I was about to enter a pharmacy.’’
Downtown Charlottetown Inc. (DCI) has pressed the city for more funding so it can expand its Navigator Street Outreach program.
DCI hired Jen Nicholson to seek out people on the streets, find out what their needs are and where to lead them to help.
Skills P.E.I. has been funding the project with about $10,000 from DCI, but DCI says more is needed.
Coady said despite the fact police department is doing a good job on the issue, it’s more than simply a policing issue.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, a sensitive situation and we are trying our best to make our city safe, to make it tourist friendly and to work with the panhandlers that are on our sidewalks,’’ Coady said.