Charlottetown city council looks to crack down on panhandlers

Dave Stewart
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Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of Charlottetown's protective and emergency services committee, speaks to reporters following city council's meeting Monday night. Coady introduced a notice of motion to amend the nuisance bylaw. The city is looking to limit where panhandlers can solicit money on streets in the downtown core.

Charlottetown city council wants to crack down on panhandling in the downtown core.

Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of protective and emergency services, introduced a notion of motion to amend the nuisance bylaw at its regular public monthly meeting Monday night.

"The committee is looking to beef up the nuisance bylaw in terms of trying to eliminate or diminish panhandling on the streets of Charlottetown,'' Coady told the media following the meeting.

"There have been numerous complaints from residents and tourists alike, and we're just looking to try and give the current bylaw some teeth so that when we go to enforce these bylaws we have something to go by that will help curb this activity.''

When asked for specifics, Coady said amendments to the current nuisance bylaw would target things like "aggressive solicitation'' and ban panhandling around ATMs and bus stops where people tend to congregate.

The current bylaw doesn't give the city much leverage. However, no bylaw can eliminate the activity since people are free, by law, to ask for money.

"It's no different than going door-to-door canvassing. It's up to you as an individual if you want to give money to this individual.''

There was some immediate reaction on Twitter.

"It's about time,'' said Sunshinegirl30. "From Water Street to Queen Street, I was bugged eight different times from them.''

A resident The Guardian talked to outside council chambers echoed the same sentiments, saying it's impossible to walk on Queen, Grafton and Kent streets without being stopped repeatedly.

Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy says it's getting out of hand.

"I'm seeing every block or two (has) maybe three of these setups on Kent Street, Queen Street and Grafton Street,'' said Duffy, adding that merchants are complaining, too.

"This is not adding to the décor or the atmosphere downtown, and we don't see that there is any need for it.''

The deputy mayor said giving panhandlers money doesn't do them any favours. The problem has to be taken care of before things get to that point. Duffy noted their needs can be fulfilled from various safety net organizations.

A beefed-up bylaw could be presented to council for first and second reading by the next regular public meeting, April 11.

"My heart goes out to them. It's tough. I wouldn't want to see anybody in that situation,'' Coady said. "With the weather we are having, it was indicated that we are seeing some panhandlers in the street, so we're looking to get this into place as soon as possible.''

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Queen Street, Water Street Grafton Street

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Recent comments

  • Louie
    March 16, 2016 - 12:31

    One of the "panhandlers" was on Compass last nite & was interviewed & had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Is this what he does with the $$$$ he gets?? GET A JOB!!!!

  • Dale augustine
    March 15, 2016 - 19:50

    I feel for the one's that legitimately need the change for food or housing, the majority of pan-handlers are doing it for their next fix, and we the public are enabling them by putting change in their can.

  • Shawn Stevenson
    March 15, 2016 - 19:24

    The really sad thing is the reality of panhandeling know is the drug addicts know are taking over it, When the real people who go to bed with an empty stomach are left to starve. The reality is truly sad and sickening. Addictions are only getting stronger and the help is only getting weaker for addicts.

  • no thanks
    March 15, 2016 - 15:15

    THEY ARE ALL FAKES !!!

  • david
    March 15, 2016 - 13:00

    Many of the panhandlers in Charlottetown are the organized ones who do it as their job. They do not want to be given help to get off the street because panhandling is their job. many of them make $100 or more per day which is pretty good pay for many people and all tax free.

  • This Person
    March 15, 2016 - 10:42

    When you see someone begging and "No money" while they (red beard guy) are IM/texting/Facebook on their cellphones that's got to stop. Or a sign with "No home" yet I see them go into and out of a home on Euston St.. Or when the "blue crate bunch" as I call them organize and take shifts at prime locations like outside churches on Sunday or Starbucks. There's a guy outside Walmart now right in the way next to the handicapped parking. Then you get the seasonal panhandlers who come from away each year. Islanders like to help but it's obvious these people have no interest getting help they love getting free money and no working. It's actually a thing Millennials (age 18 to 35) do now there are even bumming websites that teach you what to do. Downtown Charlottetown businesses should block free wifi then let's see how quick the 20-something bums scatter when they can't get on Facebook.

  • Bryan
    March 15, 2016 - 09:34

    Why not invest in some affordable housing or increase funding to shelters so that less people will feel the need to 'pan handle'. Find solutions to the problem, don't try to hide it with pointless arrests, fines, and jail time.

  • Don't support them for one
    March 15, 2016 - 08:03

    MR.Coady may have his heart going out to them but most people who live or frequent down town are less forgiving.Be they bumming on the street or sitting there with a sign IT'S EMBARRASSING TO THE CITY ....surely there must be some by-law they can enforce.The signers are well organized ,they work shifts ,they all know each other,most have CELL phones. and some have PETS.I believe most look like they took acting lessons on how to give the down and out look. Many go from city to city....It's 2016 not the the depression,we have 1/2 way houses ,soup kitchens,social service workers,the Salvation Army,the CDN mental health association....there is help IF you want it..well guess what they do not want that ..There is NO money in it!! 90% are a scam...just like the phone scams that originate in India or Nigeria except they do it on our nationally known loved streets.Where does the money go drugs ?savings accounts?...Don't be a sucker...the island is expensive enough to live here let alone supporting leeches on the street....do they have criminal records??? There are jobs there if you really really want one...Tim's ,fast food joints, labour(our immigrants can do it)....but if they do that they will not be able to sleep in everyday,have to take a shower and change your clothes and make an EFFORT!.......most are employable young males.......The workers downtown roll their eyes because they see and know the scam artists at work.....I give to certain charities,I don't or will not see someone down and out but this crew of layabouts have to be dealt with!

  • Resident
    March 15, 2016 - 07:22

    Get rid of those panhandlers, especially the ones with cigarettes and big dogs.

  • Mary
    March 15, 2016 - 06:41

    Its about time this is a business for a group of them, I see transactions taking place, I see a car that drives up and they unload what they have collected into the car and go back to begging! This is not PEI way put an end to this now, PEI is the most given and thats why they are doing it, its disgusting! And three quarters of them young strong and able to work, the job bank is full of jobs! And the native council should be looking after the few others just saying!

  • enough already
    March 15, 2016 - 06:34

    Leave the bums alone. Everyone has to make a dollar somehow !

  • CItizen Helper
    March 15, 2016 - 04:24

    Have laws about blocking sidewalks as most of the pan handlers are blocking the sidewalk. Beef up the loitering rules. Don't we have signage laws? Most pan handlers have signs. Busker permits so entertainers can register to actually use those prime spots used by pan handlers. No pan handling in front of a business, within a distance of ATMs, theatres, school zones or liquor stores. Pan handlers must be stationary when pan handling and not block right of ways, including doors, sidewalks and parking spaces. Let's see how many prime spots they find then.

  • Joe Blow
    March 15, 2016 - 01:12

    Good!!! I'm tired of seeing these low-lifes bumming from people who work 40+ hours a week for their money. And I'm tired of their excuses as to why they can't get a job....there are dozens of jobs out there they can do. Time to start contributing to society.

  • Joe Doe
    March 15, 2016 - 00:30

    WELL ITS ABOUT TIME,WAY PAST TIME.

  • ir
    March 14, 2016 - 23:17

    I dont know about all the other panner but it enables me to eat a well ballanced diet the coalition for empovericed families find that the average family in pe is malnourished shame on pe ontrepenours and they are mean no wonder why kids dont want to work your going to open up a can of worms - worms watch! hell and your worried about trump?

  • panhandleur
    March 14, 2016 - 22:18

    A good solution would be to catch and release all the panhandlers in Stratford.