Calgary

Proposed fines target litterbugs, panhandlers

Tossing cigarette butts or garbage onto Calgary streets could cost as much as $1,000, if recommendations endorsed on Wednesday by a city committee are approved by council.

Tossing cigarette butts or garbage onto Calgary streets could cost as much as $1,000, if recommendations endorsed on Wednesday by a city committee are approved by council.

The standing policy committee on community and protective services pushed through changes proposed by bylaw services staff to crack down on people who litter.

Under the amendments, pedestrians who litter could be fined $500, drivers who toss garbage from their vehicles would be penalized $750 and smokers who improperly dispose of their cigarettes would face a $1,000 ticket.

The city currently has a bylaw that includes a $300 fine for people who leave materials on the street, but it's designed more to deter illegal dumping.

Littering fines vary across the country, from $260 in Edmonton up to $2,000 in Vancouver.

The committee also approved a change that expands the panhandling bylaw, which currently only restricts spoken solicitation, to include people who use signs and gestures.

Anyone who violates that could face a $100 fine.

The change targets panhandlers who ask for money from drivers while at stoplights and intersections.

The amendments will now go to city council for ratification. If passed, the new penalties could be in place as early as next month.

now