OUR VIEW PENINSULA: A hand up, not the boot

Rumblings behind the scenes about how to handle Sidney’s recent influx of panhandlers seem somewhat heartless

Rumblings behind the scenes about how to handle Sidney’s recent influx of panhandlers seem somewhat heartless.

This spring, a few panhandlers have turned up on Beacon Avenue. These are not the usual buskers who perform for their meals. They are what might be considered homeless individuals who are looking for a handout or perhaps even a hand up.

Instead, it appears local leaders are looking for ways to force them to move on.

Staff Sergeant Dennis O’Gorman recently reported that the Town of Sidney is exploring ways — including bylaws — to address the matter. What that might be is anyone’s guess but judging by some of the recent letters to the editor on the issue, a lot of people want the panhandlers gone.

To where, is a hard question to answer.

O’Gorman says some of those individuals choose to be on the street. Others have drug or mental health issues. He said working with them and the rest of the community is complicated and must be done in a humane way.

A bylaw — possibly to restrict their comings and goings — doesn’t seem very humane. And it would put the police into a position they should not be in — a situation better left to social welfare organizations.

O’Gorman says a generous population contributes to keeping the panhandlers around. Does that have to be a bad thing?

If enough people of that generous nature put their minds together, perhaps they could find solutions that give people an out from life on the street — not just the boot from one community to another.

Reasons behind why some people panhandle on the streets of downtown Sidney and elsewhere can be complex.

A knee-jerk reaction to situations that make us uncomfortable — and pushing them out of the community — is perhaps not the type of generosity the Saanich Peninsula wants to be known for.

Just Posted

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

UVic partners with harm reduction groups to run a drug checking pilot project

The three-year pilot will allow people to test their drugs for fatal ingredients like fentanyl

Public asked to give feedback on proposed protection measures for southern resident orcas

Measures focus on key threats related to contaminants, lack of prey, noise or physical disturbance

Oak Bay double murder trial enters second week

Defence continues to question police handling of crime scene

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

Most Read