City staff raise park concerns

Vernon’s Polson Park has become a challenging place for some city employees

Vernon’s Polson Park has become a challenging place for some city employees.

Council was informed Thursday that safety and security have become issues for some parks employees when they are on duty in Polson Parks.

“There is frequent harassment,” said Shirley Koenig, director of operation services, during a report on key issues facing the department.

In a recent case, an individual in the park picked up a female student employee, threw her over his shoulder and ran around.

Employees have also witnessed beatings and other examples of violence.

“This is a concern for our employees. How we do put these people into the park safely?” said Koenig, who says the city is considering how to address the situation.

“We are trying to figure out how to direct staff to continue to do their job when there are elements that are unsafe.”

The acting officer-in-charge of the Vernon RCMP says his officers recently met with city bylaw compliance to discuss safety and security in the park.

“We will focus more foot patrols on Polson Park,” said Insp. Jim McNamara, adding that the presence of private security could also possibly be beneficial.

McNamara says he will look at statistics dealing with Polson Park, but he doesn’t believe there has been an increase in criminal activity.

“One or two incidents can create a perception that there’s a problem in the park,” he said.

 

“The last thing we want is people to not go to the park because they don’t feel safe.”