KELOWNA – Kelowna city council has endorsed bylaw changes making it illegal to sit or lay on sidewalks at any time of the day or night.
Currently, the restriction is in effect from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“It just came down to a trip hazard and the safety of the individuals in those conditions as well,” says bylaw services manager Greg Wise. “With the revitalization occuring downtown we want to encourage safe pedestrian traffic through the downtown core.”
The city also wants to mitigate complaints from businesses with late night operating hours that customers are being obstructed.
“This isn’t a witch hunt to stop people from sleeping on our streets.” says mayor Colin Basran. “We’re trying to find a balance to get people to move along and respect residents and business owners. We have a growing street population and we have to be respectful of them too.”
The bylaw allows for a $50 fine and will be enforced on a complaint basis.
“You will not see bylaw officers out in the wee hours of the night ticketing people or harassing people who have nowhere else to sleep,” says Basran.
The upgraded bylaw is expected to come into effect in December.
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