The City is considering a new bylaw that would set clear expectations for use of and behaviour in public places and give the Community Safety Officers the authority to enforce them. The Safe Public Places Bylaw was given first reading by Council at their meeting on Mar. 21, initiating an engagement process to consult health officials, community agencies and residents prior to considering the bylaw for adoption.
“Many cities have introduced similar bylaws to help address behaviours in public places that contribute to feelings that a community is unsafe,” says Blake Laven, Director of Development Services. “With these same concerns on the rise in Penticton, the City is considering similar legislation. The bylaw will provide needed clarity and guidelines for enforcement for the Community Safety Officers and provide the City with one additional tool to address safety concerns.”
The proposed bylaw establishes expectations for the use of public spaces and gives the City’s Community Safety Officers (CSOs) additional authority to respond to the large number of calls for service for social nuisance/disorder concerns. It also addresses substance use in public places and includes exemptions for safe consumption sites. The three main sections of the bylaw address solicitation (or asking for money or donations), setting expectations for behaviour in public places and direction on seizure of items unlawfully occupying public places.
“These bylaws can be controversial and the City wants to ensure all concerns are identified and understood prior to Council considering adoption,” says JoAnne Kleb, the City’s Communications and Engagement Manager. “Through the engagement program, we are inviting comment from health officials, local community groups and agencies as well as residents. If this is something the community would like to see or not, we hope residents will take the time to let Council know their thoughts.”
A copy of the bylaw and background materials are available at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca/safe-places as well as at the City’s engagement kiosks at the Community Centre, City Hall, and the Penticton Public Library and Museum. The following is a list of opportunities for residents to participate.
- Mar. 22 – Review materials at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca or at the City’s engagement kiosks and complete a feedback form.
- Apr. 11 – Drop by an Open House at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre between 5 and 7 pm.
- Apr. 19 – Register at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca for an online information session from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
- Apr. 30 – Last day to provide feedback. Results are tentatively planned to be shared with Council at a meeting in June.