I think it is important to note that the majority of the regulations in the Good Neighbour bylaw have been sensibly implemented in our community for many years, with very few complaints.
The recommended amendments are proposed to help deal with some very complex issues in our community. The bylaw amendments alone will not rectify these issues. Pragmatic enforcement of laws is just one part of a multifaceted approach to ensure Kelowna is a place where everyone feels welcomed and safe.
After valuable public feedback, I would like to address some of the concerns raised regarding the bylaw amendments. First, it is not our intent to punish those individuals wanting to help vulnerable people in our community.
We need to find a balance that allows us to help those most vulnerable in our community while ensuring a safe community for all. What is not readily known to all is that there are recorded instances where well intentioned generosity has had some very negative consequences.
City Council has directed staff to further consult with Festivals Kelowna and street performers to determine how best to move forward.
Through consultation with Festivals Kelowna and the Downtown Kelowna Association, several Busk Stops were identified as appropriate places for great street entertainment to take place downtown. There are currently no restrictions on locations for buskers to perform in other town centres and neighbourhoods in our community.
Under the proposed bylaw amendment, it is recommended that a busking permit no longer be voluntary but a requirement of all street performers so the rules and code of conduct are consistent and fair to all participants.
When this consultation is concluded, Council will then decide on a final product and whether to proceed. Much like with most outcomes, not everyone will be fully satisfied with the final result but our fundamental commitment to our residents remains how to best implement a program that benefits the community as a whole.
I also want to remind residents that the current Good Neighbour bylaw along with the proposed amendments does not prohibit someone from using a musical instrument or partaking in other artistic endeavors in public spaces, so long as there is no expectation of receiving payment/compensation.
When it comes to all of our bylaws, issuing a fine is the last resort for a Bylaw Officer when dealing with a complaint. Each situation is fundamentally unique so we want to make sure our Bylaw Officers have an assortment of options and actions to deal with these complex situations.