Vernon business owners identified a number of issues of significant concern at the City of Vernon’s Activate Safety Task Force town hall meeting Wednesday.
The event was attended by close to 160 business owners and stakeholders.
“The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for Vernon businesses to identify and communicate to the task force the impact of social behaviours on their businesses, workplaces, customers and ability to operate successfully,” said task force chairperson. Darrin Taylor.
Of significant concern to business owners are public drug use, public prostitution, public defecation, theft, increasingly aggressive behaviour, stolen shopping carts, and several cases of fire setting.
A number of solutions were also offered by the business community.
“I think it’s important that Vernon has this difficult conversation about the impact of some members of the street-entrenched population,” said Taylor. “The business community is clearly concerned about a growing problem, and ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t exist simply isn’t an option.”
The Activate Safety Task Force will meet next week to analyze both verbal and written feedback from the business community. It will meet weekly thereafter and hopes to present recommendations to Vernon council, which established the group in response to concerns brought forward by the business community.
Task force members include Vicki Eide and Rick Lavin from the community at large; Susan Lehman of the Downtown Vernon Association; Kari Wilton from City of Vernon Tourism Advisory Committee; Const. Kerri Parish of the RCMP; Kevin Korol, City of Vernon bylaw officer; and councillors Scott Anderson and Brian Quiring from the city.