EDITORIAL: Council in a tough spot

Vernon politicians find themselves caught in the middle of a growing social issue.

Recent court rulings have dictated that the homeless cannot be removed from public parks if there aren’t shelter beds available so Vernon, like many other B.C. communities, has relaxed regulations. On Monday, council voted to allow temporary shelter in designated public spaces from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. when shelter beds are not available.

This is a tough one because the city must abide by the courts but many residents, naturally, are concerned, about what’s happening in the parks. Coun. Catherine Lord can say she hasn’t seen a reduction in public use in Polson Park, but perception can become reality if some residents are convinced there is a safety issue.

Perhaps one of the ways the city can help is a committee structure that establishes guidelines for how the camps are operated and set up. The committee could consist of social agencies, bylaw officers and occupants of the homeless camps. It may not be the total answer, but this could provide some form of structure to the camps.

But the city should not be doing as Coun. Dalvir Nahal suggested and that is putting resources into opening up shelter beds.

The bottom line is that social issues are the mandate of the provincial and federal government and if the municipality gets involved, it can expect considerable financial downloading in the future.

In the end, Vernon council has a role to play with homelessness but it can’t do everything.

Just Posted

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

Makeover for Vernon motel with a history

Crime-plagued Green Valley Motel rebranded as Okanagan Royal Park Inn

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

City tweaks snow removal policy

Clear plan now in place in City of Armstrong

Lake Country seniors receive Christmas surprise

Hampers will be given to 20 lucky seniors in need next week

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

Summerland’s Justin Kripps completes first double-medal weekend of career

High-powered Canadian bobsledders celebrate four-man silver at World Cup in Igls

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

Most Read