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Wanna have a beer and a smoke in a Vancouver park? Pete has just the ticket

September 18, 2013

Being homeless isn’t illegal — yet, but there’s already a fine line between living on the street, and breaking the law. Florida Pete crossed that line yesterday in a park near Kingsgate Mall, at Broadway Avenue, and Main Street. Police issued him with a $115 CDN fine for — Pete insists — smoking a cigarette in the park, though the ticket lists the offense as being intoxicated in public. Pete’s on the far end of alcoholism, where a person needs alcohol just to function, so, technically, he’s a walking by-law infraction. Pete explained to me that the same offense on a city street is a $165 fine. and that he got off cheap because he was in a park. if Pete had any intentions of paying the ticket — that’s something like 2300 pop cans — the police miss-spelled his last name.

Speaking of police issuing tickets to the poor, and homeless …

After it was revealed in the spring that the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) were issuing most of their fines for jaywalking to people in the Downtown Eastside, the so-called poorest postal code in Canada, I wrote a post suggesting we make the DTES a car-free zone. Fortunately, the Pivot Legal Society, and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), took a less trivial approach, and filed a complaint with the Vancouver police board, chaired by the city’s mayor, Gregor Robertson. The complaint, based on the VPD’s own data, alleged 95 per cent of tickets for illegal street vendors and 75 per cent for jaywalking were issued in the Downtown Eastside. The Province newspaper this morning is reporting that the police board have dismissed the ticket-target complaint. Click the images to enlarge them.

  1. ~xtian permalink

    Let’s hear it for constructive law enforcement 😦

    Here in Auckland carrying an open alcohol container in a public area is illegal. What bothers me is the huge number of tourists and credit having students who ignore this law every weekend and the fact that it’s the CBD’s homeless and/or addicted population who get snagged by the long arm of the law.

    It’s the same in city parks and on the beaches. If you’ve parked your BMW in the correct space and are having a nice bottle or ten of chardonnay with your wealthy mates – well of course that’s fine. Or more to the point NO FINES FOR YOU.


    • Locals, particularly young locals, behave the same way here on weekends, in parks, on beaches, and main streets, like West Broadway. AFASIK, police leave them be, so long as they don’t get out of hand. A Vancouver wrinkle — loads of people, rich and poor, openly smoke marijuana, usually in the alleys, sometimes on the street, and police seem to ignore that. They also seem to turn a blind eye to the good boys and girls of Fairview riding their bikes on the sidewalks, without a helmet, and talking on their cell phones. The police certainly seem to use by-laws fines to show the street folk who’s boss, but I don’t know what purpose it serves. I mean, to give a homeless, chronic alky like Pete a ticket for being drunk in public? He’s only a problem when he hasn’t anything to drink.


  2. ~xtian permalink

    Auckland’s the same. We’re the South Pacific San Francisco in a few respects.

    Like you – if’n I had teh answers I’d be rich.

    But I’m caught up in bulky trivia – like right now I’m figuring out how to watch “Sherlock” on my 20″ doorstop television without forking cash over to the usual suspects.

    So far I’m looking at a RaspberryPi, a VPN and a regular below the radar charge card.

    I would say this is what keeps me off the streets – but it isn’t. Taxpayers money keeps me off the streets.



    • They’re good people, the Taxpayers are. I nearly arranged to get a RaspberryPi. So cool, so under-powered, so inappropriate to my situation. Did I mention so cool. ARM computer sticks are an amazing development. I’ve only watched part of the Sherlock episode where Moriarty breaks into the Tower of London (I think). Had moments, but I couldn’t warm up to Benedict Cumberbatch (still carrying a torch for Jeremy Brett). He wasn’t the worst thing in the recent STitD.


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