Vernon homeless camp leaves business owner frustrated

A Vernon business owner says City Council is not doing enough to combat the homeless issue.

A Vernon business owner is fed up after he says the city and RCMP have let him down when it comes to a homeless camp parked outside his office.

Warren Trelenberg of S&W Sales says a messy homeless camp with broken glass and dirty needles has greeted him each morning when he arrives to work on the 2400 block of 43rd Street.

“It has looked like that for four days in a row. I couldn’t even get into my warehouse Monday morning due to the junk and people, broken glass, needles, tents laying all over the place,” said Trelenberg.

“I had the RCMP there two days in a row and they told me all they can do is ask them to leave. There is nothing else they can do.”

He says this is impacting his business and that of other building tenants.

“They have trouble getting in the parking lot, it’s a mess. It is impacting business,” adds Trelenberg. “My dumpster got emptied yesterday and it is half full again today. It is getting really frustrating.”

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Trelenberg believes the city is not doing enough to combat the homelessness issue in Vernon. He claims he reached out to the mayor and several councillors, but only got one reply.

“City council is not addressing the problem so the RCMP’s hands are tied,” says Trelenberg. “Coun. Scott Anderson is the only one that got back to me. I am frustrated.

“I spend more than $10,000 a year on property taxes for that property, so I expect something to be done.”

The City of Vernon tells the Morning Star they feel for business owners impacted in the community but have no jurisdiction to handle incidents like this on private property.

“Bylaw Officers have no jurisdiction to remove people from his private property. The RCMP is the appropriate agency to contact,” wrote the City of Vernon.

As for the RCMP, Const. Kelly Brett confirms Vernon RCMP did attend the property once this week when Trelenberg called for help.

“When officers arrived, the subjects were actively cleaning up their belongings to make their way out of the area, prior to being asked by police,” writes Brett, who could not comment any further.

Trelenberg says he is beyond frustrated that no one can really help him with this ongoing issue.

“No one will do anything to solve the problem, it is all over town, it is the same thing, no one seems to want to address the problem properly. It is just unbelievable,” he says.

“You cannot just keep moving these people around. You need to do something for these people, help them, get them a place to stay. I am looking forward to an election this fall. I will be voting for people that want to solve this problem.”

Related: COLUMN: Demystifying the homeless

Related: COLUMN: Vernon’s relationship status with homeless is complicated

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