Vernon council ditches proposed shopping cart ban | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon council ditches proposed shopping cart ban

FILE PHOTO: March 22, 2018.
September 05, 2018 - 7:30 AM

VERNON - The city has scrapped its controversial plan to ban shopping carts from the cities streets.

City councillors voted to scrap the proposed ban at their Sept. 4 meeting with Coun. Scott Anderson the only councillor voting against nixing the bylaw.

Based on recommendations from the Activate Safety Task Force council voted to ban shopping carts from public property at their July 23 meeting. The proposed ban stirred controversy and was seen as a direct attack on the city's homeless population by some community members and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Pivot Legal Society.

Following letters from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Pivot Legal Society, staff sought a legal opinion that stated the ban may not stand up to a constitutional challenge and be illegal.

Coun. Anderson said he understood why the legal opinion would advise against the ban as lawyers always want to protect their clients against lawsuits and the costs that go with them, but he didn't agree with dropping the ban and felt it shouldn't be scrapped out of principle.

"I really have a problem with two letters from two special interest groups threatening legal action and us assuming... a constitutional challenge and running away from it," said Anderson. The councillor said the legal opinion also suggested ways the bylaw could be adopted without it being subject to a constitutional challenge.

When asked whether council should risk taxpayers money and adopt the cart ban which might not stand up to a challenge, Anderson said it was worth the risk.

"Its the principle of the thing," he said.

Coun. Catherine Lord told council she regrets voting on the ban and Coun. Brian Quiring publicly stated weeks after supporting the ban he changed his mind.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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