Editorial: Panhandling signs a good move for Cowichan

Panhandlers are putting themselves at risk on busy roads

The City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan have both moved to put up signs in the Duncan highway corridor to try to discourage panhandlers.

We think these are a good and cost-effective idea.

The signs cost only a few hundred dollars to put up, and if our community follows the pattern of others that have already tried putting up such signs, we’re told that these could be anywhere from “somewhat” to “very” effective in deterring panhandling at some of our busiest intersections.

It’s not that we, or the municipality, lack compassion for people who are out begging for money. It’s that panhandlers are putting themselves at risk on busy roads, and putting others at risk as well, as they may slow or impede traffic.

If you’ve driven through Duncan, you’re probably familiar with the spots where the signs have been put up, as panhandlers have stationed themselves there, cap in hand, for years — Trunk Road and the Trans Canada Highway, Coronation Avenue and the TCH, Drinkwater Road and the TCH, and Cowichan Way and Trunk Road.

Sitting on a median at these locations is not a safe thing to do, and if you get people stopping unexpectedly in traffic for these folks it’s a real traffic hazard.

There’s also a very real question of image. We want to put our best foot forward to attract tourists and others to stop at our businesses in Cowichan, we want people to want to move here. Panhandlers don’t project an image of a desirable place to live or stop. Some even find them intimidating (though they don’t need to). This is not unimportant, as everyone in our communities needs to make a living.

The signs point out that panhandling is actually illegal on roadways and is unsafe, and suggests people give to agencies that help those who are homeless or hard-up instead. We fully support that last as well. There are many very good organizations that provide, food, clothing, and other necessities to those who are struggling. By donating to them, you can help more than one person at a time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan to seek suggestions from First Nation in renaming street

Section of Humbird Street in Chemainus was to be renamed MacMillan Street

Cowichan’s Mikrogiannakis a finalist for BCHL MVP and top defenceman

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Dimitri Mikrogiannakis is a B.C. Hockey League all-star,… Continue reading

Cowichan Tribes to get $750,000 for erosion projects on Cowichan River

Funding comes from the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund

Get ready to enjoy the ride and laugh along with Brentwood’s ‘Spamalot’

Spamalot is a twisted musical take on the tales of King Arthur.

Cowichan T-Birds return to provincials

After an absence of two decades, Cowichan Secondary School’s senior girls basketball… Continue reading

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Vancouver Island RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

On Feb. 21, a member of the Comox Valley RCMP was assaulted… Continue reading

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Most Read