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Planned Vernon bylaw to ban shopping carts could hurt homeless: advocates

Vernon city council plans to ban shopping carts on all public property in the city. .
Vernon city council plans to ban shopping carts on all public property in the city. . Megan Turcato / Global News

The BC Civil Liberties Association is fighting a plan by Vernon city council to bring in a bylaw banning shopping carts on public lands.

Civil liberties lawyer Meghan McDermott sent a letter to the mayor and councillors, urging them to abandon the proposal because of what she says is “flagrant targeting of homeless residents.”

READ MORE: City council in Vernon supports ban on ‘homeless’ shopping carts

She said for many people without a home, the use of a shopping cart is their lifeline.

“They’re already so vulnerable,” McDermott said. “What they’re trying to do is at least have a handful of possessions, so they can erect a basic shelter. To try and take that away from them is cruel.”

She said one alternative suggested by a councillor would be for the homeless to carry backpacks.

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WATCH: Fundraiser reacting to proposed Vernon shopping cart ban collects over $1,100 in donations

Fundraiser reacting to proposed Vernon shopping cart ban collects over $1,100 in donations
Fundraiser reacting to proposed Vernon shopping cart ban collects over $1,100 in donations

“That’s not a very good solution, because people who use shopping carts are disabled, and in the city materials they point out seniors who aren’t homeless like to use shopping carts to move their groceries home,” McDermott noted.

She hopes public backlash will force council to think twice, adding, “Hopefully the community outcry will be enough.”

McDermott added that a GoFundMe page is trying to raise money to purchase “wagons” for the homeless instead.