Protest for panhandler

Colton Davies

Paul Braun was joined by his lawyer and several members of the public for a show of solidarity on Tuesday afternoon.

The display was a protest against a court case between Braun and the City of Penticton.

Braun lives at the Fairhaven social housing complex on Skaha Lake Road and comes down daily to panhandle on Main Street.

He said he needs to do it to make ends meet.

As for why he chooses to panhandle in there and not somewhere else, he says there's a couple reasons. 

"Because there's shelter. Over there (Nanaimo Square) there's nothing but drunks. I don't want to be pigeon-holed in with a bunch of drunks. I haven't had a drink in 20 years."

Braun's court case is a result of eight bylaw infractions he was given in 2017. 

On Tuesday morning, the City of Penticton issued a two-page statement to try and clear the air on Braun's case.

The city said they've been trying to reason with Braun to move elsewhere since 2014, saying his panhandling next to a breezeway goes against the Good Neighbour Bylaw. 

They added other offenders have moved when asked, but Braun hasn't, which led to them take legal action. 

The city also said they offered to waive 90 per cent of Braun's fines if he complied with the bylaw, but they said that offer was rejected.

Braun's lawyer Paul Varga didn't confirm if that offer was formally rejected or not, but he claimed the information put out by the city didn't tell the whole story of negotiations that took place.

Braun's trial will take place over four days in September. 

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