Larry Fisher of Fisher’s Hardware said the Feb. 6 meeting had little outcome

Larry Fisher of Fisher’s Hardware said the Feb. 6 meeting had little outcome

Issues with street-entrenched people increase for Vernon business

Fisher’s Hardware rep leaves meeting, feels like discussion “beating the same old bush”

The issues haven’t changed. The frequency of the issues has.

Larry Fisher of Vernon’s Fisher’s Home Hardware, located at the same location in downtown Vernon on Coldstream Avenue and 33rd Street for 84 years, attended a meeting Feb. 6 at Vernon’s Schubert Centre with members of the downtown business community, service providers, and the Social Planning Council of North Okanagan.

RELATED: Vernon meeting focuses on homeless

They were there for a discussion session facilitated by Urban Matters, a consulting firm that specializes in supporting communities with innovations to address complex social issues.

The two-hour meeting was to focus on issues and concerns related to the impacts of homelessness within Vernon’s Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Fisher left after the first hour.

“When they did the musical chair thing (roundtable discussion), it was time to leave,” said Fisher. “I didn’t think too much was said or done, and it’s the same old deal. These meetings have the same old results.

“A lot of stuff mentioned has been talked about many times before. It’s beating the same old bush.”

Fisher’s Hardware, said Fisher, is at Ground Zero.

Their property adjoins the Gateway Shelter and the former Enlighten Salon, which has been turned into another shelter facility. Unlike other businesses that have a storefront on a city sidewalk – and Fisher makes it clear he’s not diminishing their problems – Fisher’s Hardware has adjoining property, paid parking in behind the store, a compound area, and back of the store.

Staff constantly deal with trespassers through their property, he said. They remove garbage of all types, including shopping carts, on a daily basis. They collect spent needles, drug-related paraphernalia and condoms. The sex and drug trade business, said Fisher, is right at hand. They clean up human feces.

They deal with shoplifting as a result of interaction of the street-entrenched people on their property and travelling to and fro, he said. There’s outside theft, loitering, graffiti, vandalism, sleeping in entrances, concern by fearful shoppers, said Fisher, that do not like the presence of some of the street people, and feel intimidated by them. There’s the loss of paid parking from people out behind the store that don’t want to park there anymore because “there’s always somebody pooled around their cars.”

“It’s the whole gauntlet,” said Fisher, who said he did not speak at the meeting, and thought the meeting was handled “differently.

“The issues at hand seemed to be smokescreened by the social system,” he said. “Their approach to the whole thing was like ‘what can we do for the homeless,’ never mind what can we do for the business people and the community that’s encroached by them.”

RELATED: Majority of people living on Vernon’s streets are men

Vernon Coun. Scott Anderson reported to council Monday that there was a misconception in the public, social media and mainstream media about what the meeting at the Schubert Centre was about.

“It’s not about complex social problems, it’s not about homelessness, it’s not about crime and not about vagrancy,” said Anderson. “It’s about all of those and some of those but in a very narrow focus, and the focus is, and has been, all the way from the (city-mandated Activate Safety) task force on, the issue has always been the impact of some members of the street-entrenched population on businesses. That’s what it’s about.”

Urban Matters said they would compile their pages of notes gathered from the two-hour meeting and report to Vernon council.

“It’s disappointing,” said Fisher of the meeting. “Everyone goes there anticipating it’s going to be a day of action. Everybody knows what the issues are, the issues are the same, they’re all listed on those pieces of paper, but they’re increasing.

“Each meeting you go to it’s the same issue with an increasing frequency to the problem.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dawn Low is the first female CAO for the City of Revelstoke. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review file)
Armstrong welcomes new CAO

Dawn Low previously served as CAO in Revelstoke since 2019

18-year-old skier Logan Leach follows his guide, Julien Petit, down an alpine track. The Lumby athlete who is visually impaired has been named to Alpine Canada’s Ski Team ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Contributed)
Lumby’s Logan Leach named to national ski team

The 18-year-old visually impaired athlete officially joins Canada’s Para-Alpine roster ahead of Beijing 2022

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is the first ski area in Canada to signify its commitment to ending working poverty, by paying all its staff and contracted workers a living wage. (Contributed)
Vernon ski area first in Canada to pay living wage

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club invests in staff and contracted workers

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

A young child has been taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child struck by vehicle in downtown Vernon

The young child has been taken to hospital with unknown injuries following the incident on main street

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

"They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

The Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is working to identify and repatriate students buried at the Brandon Indian Residential School

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read