A poll suggests that Vernon readers believe the City should implement an approach similar to that of Penticton. (Morning Star image)

Vernon should implement Penticton’s stance on ‘trouble-makers’: poll

Of those who voted, nearly half agreed that Vernon should further consider what Penticton has done

Despite some opposition, some Vernon residents support Coun. Scott Anderson’s recent suggestion that the City should take a page out of Penticton’s book when it comes to dealing with “trouble-makers,” a poll suggests.

In an online poll, 48.53 per cent of voters said the City should follow suit with practices put in place by the City of Penticton.

“If you are here to enjoy all Penticton has to offer, ‘Welcome.’ If you are here to break the law, drink and use drugs in a public place, occupy and damage city and private property, your life is about to get complicated,” said the City of Penticton in a July 2018 news release. “It is time to take our community back from a small group of people that cause a high percentage of the problems. We encourage residents and visitors to report any activity that threatens the safety and beauty of our home.”

Another 35.29 per cent of voters said the City should assume more of a tough-on-trouble-makers stance as suggested by Anderson on social media.

Only 8.92 per cent of those who voted said a more complex approach is required, while 7.35 per cent said an overhaul of the justice system, as recommended by Couns. Kelly Fehr and Akbal Mund, is pivotal to the issue.

“Although compassion is a beautiful thing, sometimes it can create a bigger evil. Making it less desirable to tolerate (troublesome) people in a community we are trying to keep strong (and) vibrant,” commented Lori Steele on the poll.

“When our local businesses are struggling and closing because they have less rights… then there is a problem,” wrote Julie Brown.

Another nine people provided their feedback, in various degrees of support, on a tough approach.

“It’s pretty bad when our elders are scared to walk down the streets of Vernon,” added Davidoff Fairfull.

“Or we could decriminalize poverty so our overburdened justice system can focus on the dealers and career criminals it needs to,” countered Shawn Wallinder.

The ongoing debate falls on the heels of a social media post in which Anderson said that the City needs to “make it apparent to the trouble-makers that Vernon is no longer a free-for-all, and we can do that the same way Penticton did.

Related: Vernon councillor calls for ‘zero tolerance’ for ‘trouble makers’

Related: Justice system needs ‘major, major overhaul’: Vernon councillors

“There is no magic bullet here. There’s no way you can stop it but you can certainly mitigate it and we can mitigate it a lot better than we’re doing.”

In response to Anderson’s comments, Couns. Mund and Fehr said changes to Canada’s justice system need to be implemented to help with issues municipalities face surrounding homelessness, addictions and mental health.

“This is a big challenge,” Fehr told The Morning Star Monday. “Until we deal with the justice system, municipalities and the RCMP have major, major challenges. We have to bring other groups like correction services into the fold and be part of the solution.”

Fehr, co-executive director of the Turning Points Collaborative Society, whose goal is “to promote and lead effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime and poverty by working directly with individuals, service providers and the broader community,” said the justice system needs a “major, major overhaul.”

“It’s a great punishment tool, but it’s not a rehabilitation tool,” said Fehr. “Until we really start focusing on our justice system, it’s not going to have any impact.

“We can lock up as many people as we want but if we’re pumping out better criminals and sicker people, we’re not doing our community a decent service.”

Anderson said he would like to see the City implement the 40 recommendations made by the city-created Activate Safety Task Force.

“Every single one I’d be in favour of implementing,” Anderson told The Morning Star. “A comprehensive attack like that will actually make a difference. But there is no answer to make everything turn into Sunnyville.”


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Small landslide closes Vernon road

City crews estimate Okanagan Bench Row Road will reopen at about 2:30 a.m.

Avalanche at SilverStar sends one to hospital

A man has been sent to hospital after an isothermal avalanche at SilverStar March 20

Spring street sweeping starts

Vernon’s street sweeping and flushing will occur every day for the next four to six weeks.

PHOTOS: Spring has sprung in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The new season is bringing warm weather across the region

VIDEO: Sunny skies in the forecast makes for a great start to spring

Mostly sunny skies with a chance of rain by Friday evening in the Okanagan Valley

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

Kelowna RCMP tackle man in Glenmore area

A witness saw RCMP make an arrest on Valley Road just after 6 p.m.

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Give a hoot and don’t touch baby birds

SORCO raptor rehab reminds residents to stop before they touch baby bird

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Father, former child soldier, seeks better life for family in Shuswap

Salmon Arm volunteers begin fundraising effort to help family resettle in Canada

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

Most Read