Pan handling gets a solid debate - can't outlaw it.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City council will meet this evening and pass bylaws making legal the numerous recommendations that were made at the Standing Committee and Committee of the Whole level.

They will decide how pan handling is going to be handled.

There were some interesting differences of opinion during the debate on this issue. The Mayor had no problem with people pan handling – they have a right to do so as long as they are not standing on roadways and interfering with the flow of traffic.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nissan wanted things to further than that – however Inspector Ivan L’Ortie, the senior officer at the Burlington unit of the Halton Regional Police explained that there really isn’t much the police can do. “We try to offer people who feel they have to beg to get the funds they need to live as much help as we can and there have been a few occasions where we have been able to make a difference. But if people want to pan handle – here isn’t much we can do.”

Mayor Meed Ward wanted to know if the city had a No Loitering bylaw; they don’t.

What became clear during the debate was that if people in Burlington want to put an end to pan handling all they have to do is stop giving the pan handlers any money.

Once they realize that there is nothing for them – they will stop.

Most of the pan handlers are not Burlington residents – they are people from the Hamilton area who seem to know a good thing when they see it. The people of Burlington are prepared to open their hearts and open their wallets and help them out.

The best way to help them out is to direct them to agencies that can support then to move onto a more secure life style.

Staff reported that a survey of other municipalities showed that none have pan handling bylaws – some try to do some educating.

Pn handling sign

Will Burlington see signs like this? It seems to be the only option available.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte went on line during the meeting and came back with a sign being used in Wainsboro, Virginia.

The feeling seemed to be that the residents can put a stop to the pan handling by refusing to give money.

Council decided to leave the task of creating an education program for the public – which is likely to include signs at some of the more popular pan handling locations urging the public to donate to the charities in place to help these people.

A report will come back to Council in September – assuming the recommendation gets approved this evening.

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