Saskatoon city council approved changing the city’s panhandling act Monday, banning the practice near theatres and around people using or waiting to use parking pay stations.
Councillors voted 6-5 in favour of the move, which was previously addressed at the Dec. 12, 2016, meeting of council. However, members only voted on amendments to be applied to the bylaw, not the amended bylaw itself.
It was previously recommended that a two-metre panhandling-free zone be established around parking pay stations.
Coun. Hilary Gough made a successful motion to change the pay station buffer zones to a ban on panhandling “around active users and those queued for use.”
“I’m glad to see the motion stand as active use. I’d prefer that we weren’t making those changes at all, but I’m pleased that we didn’t go with the buffer option,” Gough said.
Coun. Cynthia Block voted in favour of Gough’s motion.
“It seemed to be the least intrusive way to try to do what’s best for ordinary citizens who are in the downtown, without being too restrictive to people who have a right to panhandle if they choose,” Block said.
The other motion barrs panhandling activity within eight metres of a doorway to a cinema theatre or performing arts centre.
The city is solicitor is now tasked with drafting the language of the new bylaw, which will be voted on by council at a future meeting.