Strathcona County is considering ways to regulate panhandlers in the community.

On Tuesday (Mar. 14), Ward 2 councillor Dave Anderson brought forth a motion that would create a report on panhandling in the community, along with proposed solutions.

These solutions include bylaws, fines, and even community support services.

Anderson had gotten the idea for the motion when he heard a story of a mother and daughter who were harassed by a panhandler in Emerald Hills. When the mother called the police, she found out there were no bylaws in place preventing people from panhandling.

Anderson hopes that an introduction of bylaws and fines will help Strathcona County enforcement services get involved with calls about panhandlers.

The county receives about two to three calls a month about panhandlers, with the area of Baseline Road and Sherwood Drive being popular locations.

Ward 3 councillor Lorne Harvey agreed with the motion, saying he has also heard about panhandlers getting out of fancy cars in a parking lot before asking for money.

The only councillor to oppose the motion was Ward 4 councillor Bill Tonita, who said that current enforcement strategies are working.

“I don’t want us to be in the position where we look like we seemingly want to do something for good, but, at the end of the day, it appears that we’re affecting people’s livelihoods or affecting the homeless in a negative way by increasing enforcement,” said Tonita.

The report is expected to be completed later this year.

The City of Lethbridge introduced similar legislation last year, which allows for fines of $300 for littering, graffiti, spitting, fighting, bullying, public urination, and panhandling.