Call for Vernon homeless camp at City Hall quashed | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Call for Vernon homeless camp at City Hall quashed

City of Vernon councillor Scott Anderson.
November 25, 2019 - 3:34 PM

A proposal to ban camping in Vernon's Polson Park — while allowing a camp at City Hall — along with shortening the amount of time homeless people are allowed to camp, will not move forward.

The two motions put forward by Councillor Scott Anderson were defeated with Anderson the only councillor voting in favour of the proposals during today's Nov. 25 meeting.

One of the motions put forward by Anderson proposed to ban camping in Polson Park and instead open up the grounds at City Hall for camping.

Current City bylaws allow camping in certain parks from dusk to 9 a.m. and Coun. Anderson's other motion proposed to change this to 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“Let's bring the issue... right back to City Hall,” Anderson told today's meeting. “(And) give Polson Park back to the taxpayers.”

Anderson said his motion was meant to bring the homelessness issue to the forefront and show the community that City Hall was listening.

However, while Councillor Kari Gares said she appreciated where Anderson was coming from, she could not support the motion.

Councillor Brian Quiring was more outspoken.

“It's going to be terrible for the downtown,” Quiring said. “No one's going to camp here.”

Quiring said the ban would simply move the issue to another area of the city.

Anderson said that was “exactly the point.” He said said Polson Park was the first place tourists saw when they entered the city.

“Polson Park used to be the gem of Vernon,” Gares said. “We've lost that over the years.”

While Anderson said people were too scared to use the park, Councillor Dalvir Nahal said she was “more afraid of the goose poop” in the park.

Quiring said he would be in favour of a total camping ban in the park but did not propose a Notice of Motion putting the idea forward.

He also spoke against changing the time from 9 a.m. to 7 a.m. pointing out, services at the Upper Room Mission and the Salvation Army begin at 9 a.m.

“Where are these people suppose to go for a couple of hours?” Quiring said. “I'm not seeing it as a good idea.”

Ultimately, both motions were quashed with Anderson the only vote in favour. Councillor's Akbal Mund and Kelly Fehr were absent from the meeting.

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