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Council approve Safe Streets bylaw by 5-3 vote

Council gave first three readings to a new Safe Streets Bylaw, which addresses behaviour on streets and sidewalks such as aggressive panhandling, loitering, littering, sidewalk obstruction, graffiti, open drug use, needle disposal, as well as the creation of structures, temporary shelters, and campfires on streets and sidewalks.

It wasn’t unanimous, however, as council voted 5-3 to pass the bylaw. Councillors Murry Krause, Cori Ramsay and Frank Everitt voted against the adoption of the bylaw. Coun. Susan Scott was not at the meeting.

The bylaw still requires final reading at the next meeting of council in order to be official.

Council also considered an option to amend the city’s Parks and Open Spaces Bylaw. Currently, this bylaw restricts camping at city parks and open areas, but an amendment was contemplated to designate area(s) where overnight camping could occur under certain limits, while also clarifying the city’s authority to remove people who are camping, creating fires, consuming alcohol, and engaging in nuisance activities in parks and open spaces. A motion to pursue an amendment was defeated.

Council did agree to advocate for additional barrier-free housing options in Prince George. This would involve council’s intergovernmental resolutions committee, the Union of BC Municipalities, and direct communications with provincial government officials.

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