Park situation frustrates Polson family

Online petition asks for Polson Park to be made safe

Illustration of Vernon’s Polson Park courtesy of

His great, great grandfather, Samuel Polson, donated the land to the city more than 100 years ago for a park that would become the heart of Vernon.

Now, Vernon’s Lee Polson is among hundreds of citizens frustrated with what the park bearing his family name has become: a haven for the homeless and drug users, and leaving many residents feeling unsafe about venturing into Polson Park.

“It’s not just a homeless issue; the biggest issue is the drug use and drug paraphernalia leftover,” said Polson, a father of two young boys, who said, personally, he doesn’t feel unsafe when in the park but understands those that do.

“You have to deal with people who have mental health issues. You could get into an altercation with someone who has mental health or drug issues, and are not of clear mind to think properly.”

At least one daycare operation in Vernon has decided against bringing kids to the park for safety reasons.

A shooting occurred in the park two weeks ago in mid-afternoon just as pictures from a Vernon high school’s graduation class was wrapping up. One man was injured in the shooting.

The Supreme Court of B.C. has ruled it is a human right to camp in a public park if no shelter space exists.

Vernon council allows the temporary shelter in Polson Park and other designated public spaces from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. when shelter beds are not available.

Polson said he is frustrated with the situation, and expressed that frustration in a phone call with Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund.

“I had a good talk with him and I know their hands are tied,” said Polson, who wants to work with the city to find a solution to the problem.

“We need to stop talking about it and start doing something about it,” said Polson, who is among more than 800 people (as of 1 p.m. Thursday) who have signed an online petition called Make Polson Park Safe Again, organized by a group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Vernon, British Columbia.

“Why is it that we are allowing 30 or so tents to shelter transients along the (park’s) boardwalk?” states the petition, which can be viewed and signed at

“It seems that everyday, if somebody isn’t calling 911 because of a shooting or an overdose, there’s people getting high in the toilet stalls central to the family-oriented area of the park.

“People are feeling less and less safe about bringing their children there.”

The petition calls for the boardwalk area to be either fenced off, or have the homeless placed in an area that “isn’t making the signature park a safety issue for the children.”

Just Posted

Two North Okanagan students receive Premier’s Scholarship to study abroad

Two North Okanagan students are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15-to-19 year-olds, including one in Coldstream

Van fire extinguished

Fire damages vehicle and fence Wednesday night in Vernon

Life’s a beach for new/old radio station

KISS-FM becomes Beach 107.5; goes back to old CJIB call letters

Beairsto students decorate Christmas cookies

Beairsto students get creative in the kitchen

Sagmoen case adjourned, again

Small, yet mighty, rally again on Vernon courthouse steps

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter, household net worth

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

Charges in car wash shooting stalled

Court waits for police watchdog report on Salmon Arm incident.

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Vernon civic candidate signage rules relaxed

Candidates permitted to post unlimited signs on public property

Seaton serves up Christmas lunch

Seaton Secondary’s full turkey and ham lunch was enjoyed by over 185 students Dec. 13

Column: The close-knit community of Cherryville

By Jim Cooperman, Observer contributor Nestled beneath the foothills of the Monashee… Continue reading

Most Read