Potential changes to Kelowna’s Good Neighbour Bylaw, which includes a proposal to make busking permits mandatory, have been controversial.
Now Kelowna’s mayor is promising more consultation in response to criticism that street performers weren’t consulted.
On Thursday, Mayor Colin Basran issued a statement promising council will hold off on making a final decision on changes to busking rules until further consultation is done.
“City staff sought feedback on this from Festivals Kelowna, but it has been made abundantly clear that artists and street performers should have also been a part of that consultation process,” Basran wrote.
“City council agreed, which is why we instructed staff to broaden our work with the arts community and Festivals Kelowna to ensure the busking program will enhance the arts experience in our city.”
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The proposed changes to Kelowna’s Good Neighbour Bylaw also include instituting $250 fines for those who give money to panhandlers at traffic lights or who donate bottles to individuals within 500 metres of a bottle depot.
Basran is also stressing that changes have not be finalized and he would like to see further study.
“It is not our intent to punish those individuals wanting to help vulnerable people in our community. I will be asking council to direct staff to further study the proposed amendments to ensure holistic solutions are considered prior to bringing the [bylaw] amendments back for council’s consideration,” Basran said.
“We need to find a balance that allows us to help those most vulnerable in our community while ensuring a safe community for all. What is not readily known to all is that there are record instances where well intentioned generosity has had some very negative consequence.”
The mayor did not elaborate on what those negative consequences were.
– with files from Jules Knox
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