Penticton’s first kindness meter is now in operation in the 200-block of Main Street, collecting money to help the homeless. Steve Kidd/Western News

Kindness meter in operation

After being approved just the week before by city council, the kindness meter was unveiled on March 30

Paul Braun huddles against the cold, watching as a crowd forms around a brightly decorated parking meter newly installed on Main Street in downtown Penticton.

Situated just outside the breezeway off the 200-block, this is Penticton’s first kindness meter, intended to collect donations for the homeless, like Braun. The breezeway is also his favourite spot for panhandling, and he’s not so sure the meter is a good idea.

“The people that sit outside and collect the money, they want to eat tonight, not next month,” said Braun, adding that he isn’t sure where the money is going and is concerned that it might end up in the hands of an organization that keeps a chunk of the money to cover their administrative costs.

“That pole isn’t going to give me a place to sleep. Sometimes you need band-aids or a shave once in a while,” said Braun, displaying a pink strip covering a cut on his hand. “It costs you money to go down to the pool to take a shower.

“It’s not cheap living outside.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the meter isn’t intended to stop panhandling, even though that was a major focus of the report introducing the idea to council at their March 22 meeting.

“I don’t think the kindness meter is going to stop people from contributing. It certainly isn’t going to stop panhandling. There are some people that want to contribute, and want to ensure their giving go to actual food and not maybe feeding some addiction,” said Jakubeit. “This is not by any means a method of trying to limit or stop panhandling. It’s one of the strategies in 100 Homes Penticton to help with homelessness. We were willing to give it a try and see how the community is receptive to it and how it works out.”

More: Penticton gives kindness a boost

Bylaw supervisor Tina Siebert said the meter will be emptied as often as needed, and all the money will be passed to 100 Homes Penticton, who the city is partnering with for the initiative. In turn, they will redistribute the funds to the Soupateria, Salvation Army Compass House and other service groups working on homelessness.

Local artist Diane Way volunteered to decorate the meter so it couldn’t be mistaken for a regular parking meter.

“The quail really struck me as something different. They’re quirky, and fun, they’d rather run than fly,” said Diane Way.

“I just wanted to make it a happy scene.”

The breezeway location was chosen because it is a visible spot, and one of the places that generates the most complaints about panhandling.

Braun has received multiple tickets for panhandling. It’s a legal activity but the city has the authority to regulate where it occurs: breezeways, in front of ATMs and a few other locations are prohibited under the Good Neighbour Bylaw. But Braun said the meter isn’t going to change his behaviour any more than the tickets.

“I am just going to sit here. I’m not going anywhere.”

More: Homeless Penticton man receives multiple tickets

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

Just Posted

After a decade, the impact of Value Village in Penticton

No local non-profit said they had received support, while some had suffered after Value Village opened

Penticton Art Gallery’s latest three exhibits open to the public

Scott Price, Corrine Thiessen, the Art of Theytus Books, and the En’owkin Centre’s NAPAT artists are here until March 15.

Princeton RCMP make quick arrest in armed robbery after ‘brief struggle’

Princeton RCMP have arrested a suspect in connection with an armed robbery… Continue reading

Events in Osoyoos are facing difficulties that have already lead to one cancellation this year

The town and event organizers will be working together to solve the issues.

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Classic tale seeks North Okanagan ballet dancers

Anne of Green Gables, by Ballet Jorgen, in Vernon

North Okanagan youth ready to make some NOYSE

Showcase of excellence features talents of young local performance

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

Rockslide obstructing traffic on rural Shuswap road

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read