Several rallies were held in the previous communities Conway was placed in lead to his removal. Chilliwack residents are now hoping for the same. (Black Press file)

MLA speaks to high-risk sex offender’s placement in B.C. neighbourhood

Liberal Laurie Throness says ‘His place of residence is difficult to defend’

When high-risk sex offender James William Conway was moved to Chilliwack last year, the local MLA said although he was notified, he didn’t have any objections.

However, Laurie Throness now believes Conway’s location is less than ideal.

“Last year, I didn’t object to his placement in Chilliwack because he has to live somewhere in B.C.,” said the Chilliwack-Hope representative said.

“But now that we know (where he is) and know families are on either side, his place of residence is difficult to defend.”

Throness was the Solicitor General for Corrections during his first term, and published a review on our provincial penitentiary system called Standing Against Violence: A Safety Review of BC Corrections in December 2014.

RELATED: Chilliwack Mayor and neighbours protest high-risk sex offender in town

“I have a good relationship with BC Corrections,” said Throness. “I have been communicating with (them) this week.

“Of course my first concern is public safety. But there’s no immediate danger to children. Mr. Conway is locked down tight.”

Conway remains subject to more than two dozen “very stringent conditions,” including 24-hour supervision and an ankle bracelet.

“I am told that he has been completely compliant for the past three years,” he added.

However, Kelly Wood, who lives near Conway and organized a rally against his placement in their family-friendly neighbourhood, worries about what the convicted sex offender can get away with.

RELATED: Dozens rally outside presumed B.C. home of repeat sex offender (VIDEO)

“It’s just so violating,” Wood told The Progress during an earlier interview. “He was waving at my girlfriend as she drove by and she called me freaking out. Called Corrections and they said since he’s able to do what he wants in his own home.”

Since learning who her neighbour is, Wood said she’s barely slept and hasn’t eaten in days. “All I can think about is this creep and it’s bothering me that I’m even thinking about it this much … but at least I can do my due-diligence (as a mother now).

“My son would ride his bike past (Conway’s) gate before. Now that I’m aware, he isn’t allowed.”

And while Throness agrees that Conway’s current placement is no longer as originally described, the region’s recent growth may have played a factor.

“In the sense of proximity, it was a more remote area three years ago,” he said, adding he’s recently toured the area.

“There’s a brand new subdivision going in there, and there’s a clearing across from (what’s believed to be Conway’s) residence, so the area’s becoming less remote (daily).

“Unfortunately, there’s no long-term solution for Mr. Conway. He’s disable and may never get better. So I will continue to work with BC Corrections to explore other options for a long term solution to ensure the public is safe.”


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Absolute discharge for mischief charge against Sagmoen

Trial starts at 9:30 a.m. in Vernon Law Courts

More work for proposed rural Lumby cannabis plant

Regional District directors want more information and public meeting from applicant

Vernon’s Unity MMA fighters show heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home W’s

SilverStar to open backside of mountain Saturday

The annual ‘ribbon drop’ will occur 8.45 a.m. at Bergerstrasse Gate.

Kelowna Chamber nominations open for Top 40 Over 40

The Kelowna Chamber has announced its Top 40 Over 40 nominations

Your morning news in 90: Dec. 13, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Letter: Hopping for happiness

Last week, my two kids (10 and 6) set up a hopscotch on the main street.

Okanagan Symphony presents Yuletide Tales

Christmas concert features three classic Christmas stories

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

Activists protest at Shuswap pig abattoir

Incident at meat processing plant under investigation by Salmon Arm RCMP

Giving the gift of nature

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Most Read