November 06, 2015 - 6:30 PM
VERNON - Vernon food truck vendor Dave Braybrook had to call the cops three times in one day this week — and now he's speaking out.
The friendly Irishman and owner of the Sizzlin’ Shamrock hot dog stand says he’s had problems with transients disrupting business ever since he set up on the sidewalk at the corner of 30 Avenue and Highway 97 downtown Vernon. He was assaulted on his first day in August 2015, and just this week, on Thursday, Nov. 5, he had to call the police three times.
It all started around the busy lunch hour when a man showed up with a blood on his leg, Braybrook says.
“He’s really agitated and he grabs for some of my food,” Braybrook says. “I told him he had to leave because I’ve got food safe (requirements).”
The man proceeded to knock the table of condiments to the ground and grab Braybrook by the throat.
“We both had each other like that, and I told him he didn’t want to be messing around anymore, to just take a hike, and he did,” Braybrook says.
The man returned later that day and threatened Braybrook and his wife, which resulted in another physical altercation and call to the RCMP. Braybrook also had to call the cops that day because of a street person acting disruptively near the food truck.
“I’m getting tired of it. I’ve been giving to the community and I do like most of the people — I’ve got lots of friends on the street — but there is a scumbag element that we have to get rid of,” he says. “I really do feel that people are intimidated to come down here.”
He’s calling on local government, the RCMP and the Downtown Vernon Association to take a more proactive approach to cleaning up the streets and promoting a safer atmosphere.
“I’m not blaming them but I think there’s something more we could do. We have to crack down on this,” Braybrook says.
For a start, he’d like to see more foot patrols by the RCMP and possibly a review of the city’s panhandling bylaws. He’s sensitive to homelessness and low-income issues, and is known to hand out a free hot dog to those in need, but says he has to draw the line somewhere.
“We have a right to operate business safely and profitably,” he says.
Despite the challenges, Braybrook doesn’t want to pack up his food truck and move somewhere else. He likes being on Main Street and believes businesses like food trucks could actually help deter unsavoury activity in the downtown.
“I love this location and I’m not going to let anyone scare me away,” he says.
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