North Cowichan will place a sign to help deter panhandling at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway and Drinkwater Road.
The decision at the municipality’s council meeting on Jan. 29 follows a similar move by the City of Duncan last month that will soon see the same signs placed at a number of major intersections within the city’s jurisdiction.
They include the intersections of Trunk Road and the Trans Canada Highway, Coronation Avenue and the TCH, and Cowichan Way and Trunk Road.
The initiative by the Safer Working Group, a partnerships between local governments in the Valley, the police, social and health agencies and the business community, is intended to help deal with the fact that there has been a significant increase in panhandling from medians in the Valley in the last few years.
Panhandling at intersections is a safety issue, and other jurisdictions have reported accidents, and even deaths, as a result of the practice.
Before North Cowichan’s council decided to put a sign at the intersection of Drinkwater Road and the TCH, Coun. Rosalie Sawrie asked if more effective ways could be found to deal with the panhandling problem.
Mayor Al Siebring said the sign strategy is part of a whole suite of initiatives by the Safer Working Group to deal with crime and other issues along the TCH corridor that goes through the community.
“This is not stand-alone,” he said.
“It’s a part of a large and broad strategy that the SWG is developing.”