Maple Ridge city council banning 'aggressive' panhandling
MAPLE RIDGE - Months after dismantling its large homeless camp, a Metro Vancouver city is taking another hard line – this time when it comes to people asking for money in the community.
City councillors in Maple Ridge are expected to adopt the “Safer Streets Bylaw,” making it illegal to pan handle under certain conditions.
The bylaw calls it a ban on "aggressive solicitation” and Mayor Mike Morden and all but one councillor voted in favour at a meeting last month.
The rules are strict and carry a $100 fine for anyone who is seen asking for money within 10 metres of an ATM, bank, bus stop, daycare, and liquor or pot store.
Panhandling will also be banned if it blocks a sidewalk, parking lot, gas station or traffic light.
“It drives me crazy. They are always around here and they get very aggressive," said Maple Ridge resident Deborah Lander.
The bylaw also bans those who “continue to solicit from or otherwise harass a pedestrian after that person has made a negative initial response to the solicitation or has otherwise indicated a refusal.”
"I find that people that want money use it for other than food. I don't mind buying someone food but not drugs, alcohol or cigarettes,” said resident Judy Nort.
Reed Sisson who also lives in Maple Ridge and was formerly homeless said there are those who need to panhandle to survive.
“I've been there myself, where I have been homeless and needed money and yeah, I have spent it on drugs but there are also people out there that don't do drugs and aren't addicts who are using it for food or to support their family,” Sisson said.