Panhandlers in Kamloops taking up music to circumvent bylaw
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | 9:06 PM PT
A crackdown on panhandling in Kamloops, B.C., has seen more street people picking up musical instruments despite their seeming lack of talent, a city official said.
The city set up a co-ordinated task force in March to deal with crime and safety in the downtown core and enforce rules against panhandlers, said community safety and enforcement manager Jon Wilson.
Many panhandlers then came up with a creative way to circumvent the bylaws by turning themselves into performers, Wilson said.
"We have observed an increase in the activity with people that aren't necessarily as musically talented as the traditional buskers would've been," he said Tuesday.
"It's individuals that are picking up a harmonica just trying to create music in order to be able to have a cup out or whatever to receive money from people that pass by."
The city is now looking at ways to regulate busking, including a permit system, which could allow officials to control the quality of music performed on the streets.
Gay Pooler, general manager of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, said some long-time, legitimate buskers welcome regulations on their trade.
"They feel the same way we do about, I mean, a lot of the ones we have that are regulars, they are musicians, they're good," Pooler said.
"They don't want to have these other ones infringing on their territory."
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