Meth party

Bylaw officers lat summer breaking up what former Penticton city manager Peter Weeber described as a "meth party" in Okanagan Lake Park.

City officials are taking aim at public disorder with a set of bylaw amendments going in front of council Tuesday.

The first change to the Good Neighbour Bylaw would make it an offence to sit or lie on sidewalks on the 100 through 300 blocks of Ellis Street, 200 through 400 blocks of Martin Street, and the 100 through 700 blocks of Main Street.

The bylaw already places limits on panhandling, so the changes, which would only be in effect May 1 through Sept. 30, are aimed at those who are sleeping, loitering or causing a nuisance in those designated areas.

Other amendments change the definition of street to include vacant storefronts, ban the connection of recreational vehicles to the city sewer system and prohibit the installation of lights that shine onto adjacent properties.

“The proposed amendments will give bylaw (officers) authority to address these concerns and identify behaviors that (impact) the perception of safety and enhance residents’ quality of life,” bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert writes in her report to council.

“With significant investment occurring in the local business community and new development activity taking place in these areas of the downtown, addressing these concerns will support those who have invested significantly in the community and those wishing to contribute positively to the future of our city.”

Her report notes the ban on loitering in designated areas has already been run by an outside lawyer to confirm it complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that sidewalks proposed for action only represent about 17% of the total sidewalk length in downtown Penticton.

The other major proposed bylaw amendment provides for $100 fines against those who run afoul of the city’s smoking regulations.

Those rules ban smoking in most public places, but specifically within 7.5 metres of a transit stop or doorway and within 30 metres of a school or playground. Vaping, tobacco and cannabis are all covered by the regulations.

The proposed amendments will be considered during council’s afternoon meeting, which begins at 1 p.m.

Councillors will also be asked to endorse a new plan that would make it easier for people to use downtown public spaces for initiatives deemed by staff to increase vibrancy, such as performances, pop-up stores and beautification projects.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to loosen restrictions on cannabis dispensaries and increase to 14 the maximum number allowed in the city.

Prior to regular business, council will sit for committee of the whole, which will include a presentation from Riddle Road residents asking that the Three Blind Mice trail area be designated a public park.