Open drug use and vagrancy at the former Legion building in downtown Vernon continues to be an issue. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Fines urged for owners who let their Vernon property go to ‘Sh**sville’

In dealing with former Legion building, city looking at options

From sex workers circling at dusk to homeless people seeking shelter or addicts using drugs, Vernon’s former Legion building may be empty but it sees a lot of activity.

The building, on the corner of 33rd Street and 31st Avenue, has become a hub for some of the city’s most vulnerable, both day and night.

Records indicate there were 30 complaints in 2019 (to Aug. 18) documented by bylaw at the site. Although that is significantly lower than 141 in 2018, the city suspects that is due to the fact that the Bylaw Compliance Department is now located directly across the street.

READ MORE: Homelessness, open drug use continue to plague Vernon

“The nature of the complaints is primarily for people sleeping in-and around the building, drug use, sharps, unsightliness, stolen goods, etc.,” according to a City of Vernon report.

A retail cannabis store is slated for the site, but it is subject to demolition of the building.

Now city politicians are getting impatient to see the relic torn down.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal would like to see fines imposed on owners that, “let their houses go to S**tsville.” Nahal referred to this building along with drug houses in the city.

“I think that’s something that we need to get more aggressive on,” said Nahal.

Municipalities do have the authority to take remedial action.

Graffiti is another problem the city is cracking down on.

The Anti-Tag Team was brought back this summer (following a 10-year hiatus) and is slated for 2020. The team identified 2,063 tags around town so far this year (1,271 of which have since been removed).

“The Anti-Tag Team makes note to businesses that they are being vandalized and would make steps to remove it for them if they participate,” said Rachael Zubick, Community Safety Office co-ordinator.

Morning cleanups have also been looked into but staff report it would be a significant cost — an estimated $146,175 annually if provided by city employees.

Several groups already provide cleanup downtown and the city continues to provide pick-up of large items illegally dumped on roads, alleys and public property.

One proactive way the city is cleaning up is by adjusting trash pickup times downtown to 10 a.m. or later.

“At present, our current contract requires the downtown businesses to put their garbage and blue, bag recycling out prior to 7 a.m., which is difficult for businesses as most do not open until after 9 a.m.,” said Chris Ovens, manager of roads, drainage and airport, in a report.

READ MORE: Mobile needle exchange considered in Vernon

READ MORE: Vernon councillor seeks cost info for hiring private security firm to help combat petty crime


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon Pee Wee Vipers blitz Penticton

Teigan Kelly scores three times as home side rolls to 9-4 minor hockey league victory

PHOTOS: Pumpkins big – really big – and small invade Armstrong IPE Grounds

Pumpkin launch and biggest pumpkin contest among highlights of 19th annual Harvest Pumpkin Festival

Vernon columnist seeks stories for potential book

Carole Fawcett of The Morning Star’s Boomer Talk column wants to hear from boomers and seniors

North Okanagan Knights split with Summerland

Each team record KIJHL victories on home ice in weekend home-and-home series

Vernon Vipers avenge mid-week loss to Chilliwack

Vipers roll to 4-1 BC Hockey League victory Saturday on home ice

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Boats once plied Okanagan Lake

Lake was used as transportation corridor connecting communities in the valley

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Most Read