Skip to main content

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

“Some members of the street-entrenched population” are causing problems. Some of the problem people are homeless, some are addicts, some are mentally ill ... but no one category defines the problem at hand

Along the beach -- night time in Penticton

Every community suffers from these things.  Problems resulting from homelessness ... overuse, excessive use, and addiction to drugs and ... spray-painted scrawling doodles, that most do not find artistic, and which have to be cleaned up ... panhandlers and street-people.

Last Summer, the City of Penticton decided it was time to take action because, as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Peter Weeber stated:

A very small amount of people are causing a tremendous amount of problems in our community.”

In a July 2018 media release, the city pulled no punches making it clear that enough was enough:

Penticton is a beautiful and safe community. Penticton is our home. If you are here to enjoy all Penticton has to offer, “Welcome.” If you are here to break the law, drink and use drugs in a public place, occupy and damage city and private property, your life is about to get complicated.”

The City of Penticton is taking a zero-tolerance approach to all unacceptable behaviors and illegal activities.

The communication went on to say, “It is time to take our community back from a small group of people that cause a high percentage of the problems. We encourage residents and visitors to report any activity that threatens the safety and beauty of our home”.

Over the weekend I asked Mr. Weeber about managing, solving, and finding a balance to problems that were occurring in Penticton, and he said to me ... “The issues we are experiencing can only be managed not solved.  Successful management of the issues require collaboration and balance.”


Meantime an hour and a half north, in the City of Vernon, a February 13th editorial in the Morning Star stated: “The impact of the street-entrenched population on downtown business can’t be tackled without also tackling or at least mitigating the overarching issue of homelessness."

City Councillor Scott Anderson disagreed strongly however, stating,Yes, it can.

The issue is not homelessness. Not all homeless people are causing problems. Nor is it drug use...not all drug users are causing problems. Nor is it mental illness...not all mentally ill people are causing problems.”


With that, Anderson circled back to how Penticton in particular is dealing with the issue:

"Solving" homelessness will not solve the problem, nor is it impossible to alleviate the problem without solving homelessness. What we need to do is make it apparent to the trouble-makers than Vernon is no longer a free for all, and we can do that the same way Penticton did - through enforcement and a zero-tolerance attitude.”

That took me back to Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber in Penticton, and the obvious question of whether they were still facing issues, and how they were being dealt with. 

We will maintain a hard stance on managing inappropriate behaviours in the community”, he commented to me.  And then quickly followed up stating ... “There must to be a balance in our approach and there are no quick solutions to the challenges we are experiencing in Penticton”.

And like Penticton, there are no quick solutions in Vernon either. 

Again, quoting Councillor Anderson, “We may not be able to solve the problem completely, but we can make it very very difficult for people to remain troublemakers in Vernon”.

Striking the right balance between implementing possible solutions quickly, and what can and should be done over time, isn’t an easy task.  Nor does figuring out the partnerships, and pieces of the puzzle, that will come together to help create solutions to complicated problems.  According to CAO Peter Weeber:

“BC Housing, Interior Health and the non-profits are one dimension supported by the city in a variety of ways. (Meantime) The City deals with inappropriate behaviour through bylaw enforcement and our contractor the RCMP.”

As it stated at the beginning of this piece:

Every community suffers from these things.  Problems resulting from homelessness ... overuse, excessive use, and addiction to drugs and ... spray-painted scrawling doodles, that most do not find artistic, and which have to be cleaned up ... panhandlers and street-people.”

Remember though, it’s not just in Vernon and Penticton.  It’s Kamloops ... it’s cities in metro Vancouver ... Victoria ... Vancouver Island ... and the North.

There is no one single ‘one size fits all’ solution, but there are ideas which can be brought forward, and discussed, in every community across the province.  They can be implemented and tweaked, and then perhaps shared with other regional communities, and perhaps through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

Again, there won’t be a one size fits all solution, but ideas will grow and multiply if we only take the time to look for them.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and now I am very much interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this topic.  Please take a moment to write them down in the Comments Section directly below this blog post.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It seems the call for blood donors is being responded to, however ... “This effort is a marathon, not a sprint” says Canadian Blood Services

A week and a half ago I wrote the commentary ... “ While the national inventory is currently strong, an increase in blood donor cancellations is a warning sign of potential challenges to maintaining a health inventory of blood ” It was written as a result of talk about a potential blood shortage that would occur if people stopped donating due to the COVID-19 virus. It seems the call to Canadians was responded to, however, as I was told this afternoon ... “ T his effort is a marathon, not a sprint ”. As it now stands now, donors are able to attend clinics which are held in Vancouver (2), Victoria, Surrey, and in Kelowna, so I asked if there any plans to re-establish traveling clinics to others communities - for example in Kamloops, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke or Cranbrook, and perhaps further north at perhaps Ft. St. John? According to Communications Lead Regional Public Affairs Specialist Marcelo Dominguez, Canadian Blood Services is still on

FEDLSTED -- Rules will have to relax-- the question is how and when

The media has created a fervour over the mathematical models that allegedly help governments predict the future of Coronavirus infections in the general population. Mathematical modelling has limited use and value. We need to understand is that the data available on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Canada is far too small for statistical reliability. The data available for the whole world is useless due to variables in how nations responded to Coronavirus infections. There is no commonality in steps taken to combat virus spread and no similarity in the age demographics of world nations, so the numbers you see on the daily tracking of world infections are not useful in developing a model of infection rates that can be relied on. Mathematical models of the future spread of Coronavirus are better than nothing, but not a whole lot better.  Mathematical models must include assumptions on virus spreads, and various factors involved. As they are used in projections, a small erro

WUN FEATHER -- can we just put those two names to bed for a while? You can call me an ‘Indian’ and I won't mind. And let's not call the farmers and ranchers ‘Settlers’ anymore

Hey there # TeamCanada !   I can't take it any more! Well, I guess I can, but I don't want to. I want to talk about the names we call each other. My very best friends, and all my Elderly Aunts and Uncles call me an Indian. I have walked into the most magnificent dining hall at the Air Liquide Head office, Quai D'orsay in Paris, France, surrounded by the worlds top producing Cryogenics team, and Patrick Jozon, the President of Air Liquide, has seen me enter the room, and yelled: " Bonjour! There is Warren! He is my Indian friend from Canada! He and I chased Beavers together in Northern BC!" And over 400 people turned to look at me and then they all smiled, and nodded. To most European people, an Indian is an absolute ICON!   The ultimate symbol of North America. They love us. And then, one time I had just gotten married and took vacation days off to take my new wife to meet my Grandmother; I was so proud. But as soon a

Labels

Show more