The news that local musicians will entertain on the sidewalks of downtown Vernon is welcome.
For years, the city has prevented street buskers from performing, on the basis that they break the law by panhandling.
This is absurd. Musicians give a service, and providing a container into which appreciative listeners can drop a few coins is not panhandling.
The attraction of leisure time in the city centre to watch musicians and artists, and visiting sidewalk cafes, is one of the biggest reasons for travelling to Europe.
As part of the Vernon’s revitalization of the downtown core, this is a step in the right direction.
But we need to go further.
On 30th Avenue, a tax is currently charged to any business which places furniture and equipment on the sidewalk, even though those same businesses contributed financially to the widening of the sidewalks in the first place.
If the city is serious about making the downtown core attractive to visitors, this tax – and the harassment of musicians and artists – should be eliminated.
Besides which, money will probably be saved, as the administration cost probably far outweighs the revenue collected.
Jim Elderton, Vernon