Bylaw charges possible for 'street preachers' after complaints

London city bylaw enforcement officials are investigating after receiving several complaints Friday from citizens who believe they were harassed by so-called street preachers.

It comes after a pair of men were spotted at locations downtown wearing placards with language some felt was provocative, and engaging passers-by.

Steven Ravbar and Matthew Carapella were seen at Queens Avenue and Clarence Street then Dundas and Wellington streets.

One woman, who didn’t want to provide her name, told CTV News the men told her she will not go to heaven because she was wearing pants, and not a dress.

She said the exchange made her angry.

The latest complaints come just months after city council approved amendments to the city’s nuisance bylaw, to include incidents in which someone is engaged in a negative manner on the street.

The amendment came, at least in part, becaue of the actions of Ravbar and Carapella last year.

Bylaw enforcement manager Orest Katolyk says a charge under the nuisance bylaw falls under the provincial offences act, and would be handled by the courts.

"When you cross the line and you start pointing out people because they're wearing a skirt or high heels or yoga pants or women working, that kind of impact is negative in the downtown."

The nuisance bylaw doesn't involve a fine or citation as with other city bylaws, instead a person is charged under the provincial act and the matter then heads to court.

Anyone who has a complaint is advised to contact: enforcement AT london.ca