Penticton sidewalk sitting bylaw approved, sidewalk sitter back in court - InfoNews

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Penticton sidewalk sitting bylaw approved, sidewalk sitter back in court

Street sitter Paul Braun was back in court this morning as and the city prepare to square off over the city's claim Braun breached a court order to perform community service. Following court, Braun could be found at his usual location on Main Street.
June 05, 2019 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - The ink had barely dried on Penticton’s amended good neighbour bylaw that restricts sitting or laying on downtown city streets today as Penticton’s best known downtown sidewalk-sitter faced another date in court this morning.

Penticton City Council gave final reading to the amendment at last night’s council meeting, June 4. The controversial policy restricts sitting or laying on parts of Ellis, Main and Martin Street during the summer months.

Coincidentally, well known street person Paul Braun made a scheduled court appearance this morning, June 5, as he and the city prepare to square off in round two of court proceedings related to eight counts of obstruction filed against Braun by the city last year.

Braun, who made two previous court appearances on April 17 and May 8, has entered a not guilty plea to breach of an order, stemming from his original sentencing last fall on the eight obstruction counts.

The city claims Braun failed to complete court ordered hours of community service following a case that cost the city over $26,000 in legal fees.

City prosecutor Troy DeSouza said the city has one witness, while defence lawyer Nelson Selamaj, acting for Paul Varga, said he had two witnesses to present.

The trial is expected to take a day, with next appearance on June 10 to fix a date.

“That new bylaw? It’s stupid. It really is, especially if they leave it up to the discretion of the bylaw officers,” Braun said after his court appearance. "Come Saturday, when they have the Farmer’s Market and they have a little old lady and an old man getting tired of standing on the hot pavement and he goes to sit down on the curb, is he going to get a ticket? Or she? And if I happen to be sitting beside her there, are we both going to get tickets? Or am I getting the ticket?” he said.

When asked if he was going to continue sitting on the sidewalk, Braun said, “I guess I gotta stand, but I gotta do what I gotta do, you know.”

Braun says Penticton’s issue with street people is due to the Okanagan Correctional Centre’s proximity and a lack of bus service.

“Where do they go to? They come to Penticton, get their first cheque, and hang around,” he says.

City Development Services Manager Anthony Haddad told council at last night’s meeting bylaw officers will take a discretionary approach to the bylaw, with the intent to keep people moving. He said officers would take a progressive approach, ramping up enforcement incrementally.

Penticton City Council gave final adoption to the bylaw amendment.

For more stories on Paul Braun, click this link.


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