City defended over homelessness

City defended over homelessness

Vernon business launches petition

A Vernon official insists that actions are being taken to address transients and the impact on businesses.

A petition that is circulating calls for the city to take a hard stance on transients and illegal activities.

“I will see what’s presented to council Monday. I’m not sure how many have signed it,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“People have a right to circulate petitions.”

However, Cunningham says the city is working diligently with social agencies on homelessness.

“I’m spending my time to resolve the issues,” she said, adding that senior government has been lobbied for additional resources, including for housing.

Cunningham owns a business on 30th Avenue.

“I haven’t seen anything significant at our end of town,” she said.

“As we grow as a community, we will have big city issues and we have to look at the macro issue of why we have more homeless. There are many of us working every day on this.”

The petition was launched by Vicki Eide, with Dean’s Tailor Shop on 33rd Street.

“We need the city to acknowledge there’s a problem. There’s a rampant problem,” said Eide of needles, prostitution and other activities such as defecation.

The petition has been circulated among 100 businesses.

“There is a fear on the part of their customers and themselves,” said Eide, adding that some of Vernon’s truly disadvantaged are also concerned about what is happening downtown.

“These aren’t our usual homies. It’s way out of control.”

Eide wants a task force to look at drugs and prostitution, and she says there may be a need for a red zone where transients are restricted.

“This is the worst year I’ve seen in my 26 years downtown. There are no rules or guidelines. It’s a free for all,” she said.