Kelowna's busking, bottle picking bylaws should be put on hold, city staff recommend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna's busking, bottle picking bylaws should be put on hold, city staff recommend

Homeless bottle pickers gather on Kirschner Road in Kelowna, April 24, 2018
April 26, 2018 - 3:46 PM

KELOWNA - Two controversial bylaws aimed at controlling buskers, panhandlers and bottle pickers will be put on hold if Kelowna city councillors accept a new staff recommendation.

The two bylaws generated “significant public feedback”, according to a report by director of protective services Rob Mayne, and both will need additional public education before reconsideration.

"After further discussion with Festivals Kelowna and public feedback, it is proposed that the suggested busking regulations not be adopted,” Mayne says in a report to council.

"Staff will continue to consult with Festivals Kelowna and the artistic community, and conduct a review of the buskers program.”

The review is expected to take place this summer with new recommendations expected to come before councillors early in 2019, Mayne says.

The busking bylaw and other amendments to the catch-all Good Neighbour bylaw sparked an uproar amongst local street musicians and others, several of which posted protest songs against the move.

In the interim, Mayne said the 20-year-old Kelowna Buskers program will continue. It allows musicians to perform for money at one of 16 Busk Stops between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Meanwhile, Mayne said Kelowna residents need to learn more about how the panhandling and bottle picking bylaws affect public safety, pointing specifically to the Columbia Bottle Depots location on Kirschner Road.

Mayne said bylaw services has received more than 200 complaints since January 2016 of public urination and defecation, open drug and alcohol use, drug trafficking and aggressive panhandling related to Kirschner Road.

Columbia Bottle Depots has since been told its lease will not be renewed in the fall, potentially removing the source of complaints against the business.

The bylaw would have banned the general public from handing over empty recyclables such as bottles and cans within 500 metres of a recycling depot.

Council will consider the recommendations at a public meeting at 1:30 p.m., Monday, April 29 at Kelowna city hall.

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