The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has called on the City of Vernon to accelerate efforts to address the impacts of homelessness, poverty, addictions, and criminal behaviour in our business community.
Their call was answered on Monday, July 9, as council unanimously agreed to carry the recommendations put forth by the Activate Safety Taskforce, even pushing to expedite many of the recommendations.
Vernon’s Activate Safety Task Force was formed in response to concerns brought to council by Vernon’s business community. Darrin Taylor, Chair of the Safety Task Force and Chamber representative, addressed council on Monday with the recommendations produced through research gathered at weekly meetings over several months. Bylaw, local RCMP, community members and business owners were some of the participants providing feedback to the task force.
Taylor pointed to a joint effort between law enforcement, the municipality, the community, and business owners as the path forward for our community. It is a complex issue requiring involvement and support from more than one single group or organization.
“It is difficult to strike a balance between support and services for the homeless and drug-addicted, and also enforce the law and discourage unsafe, harmful behaviour that contributes to urban decay. But this is the balance we have to find, and it is achievable” said Taylor, describing the challenge ahead. “We must raise the bar.”
The Safety Task Force summarized their report into eight carefully researched issues. Included in the report were tactical, actionable recommendations for addressing each of the eight issues. The City and Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce were very pleased with Taylor’s presentation and the Task Force’s recommendations.
“The Chamber supports the recommendations as presented (Monday) to City Council,” said Markus Schrott, president of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. “We are very pleased Council has accepted the Safety Taskforce report and recommended City administration begin prioritizing the recommendations.”
A copy of the Safety Task Force report is available below: