City's war on anti-social behaviour progressing, but frustratingly slow to some | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City's war on anti-social behaviour progressing, but frustratingly slow to some

The City of Penticton rolled out a beefed up security presence in the downtown core earlier this summer, but improvements in anti-social activity and unsavoury behaviour aren't being made fast enough for some.
September 06, 2018 - 5:05 PM

PENTICTON - Downtown Penticton Association Executive Director Lynn Allin says Penticton’s merchants are feeling the effects of a long summer of trying to deal with unsavoury behaviour in the city’s downtown core.

She says the issue is complicated because much of the bad behaviour the city and its downtown merchants are trying to deal with are not criminal acts.

“It makes it more difficult for police to deal with. We can see improvement with the additional bylaw officers the city has provided, in moving people along,” Allin said a day after a presentation at Penticton council’s Committee of the Whole meeting yesterday, Sept. 4, in which Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber updated council on city efforts to deal with anti-social and illegal behaviour in the city.

Allin said merchants are feeling discouraged things are not changing more quickly. She says the association is encouraging the city to provide more bylaw officers.

“It’s the menacing, nuisance behaviours that police can’t arrest anyone for, but they can be told to move along,” she said, adding the bylaw, public works departments and the clean team have been a huge benefit to the downtown this summer.

Allin personally believes progress has been made this summer, but understands the frustration association members feel.

“I believe we are addressing the issues we’re seeing. I know our members wish it was happening faster,” she said. “It’s a large issue. Businesses are feeling a real cost, not just the nuisance factor. They’ve paid for lights, security cameras, vandalism repairs, additional garbage disposal - some costs are beyond dollars, less tangible things like losing staff. Business people are dealing with a lot right now, that’s where they are getting a little exhausted."

She says the association will be returning to council to “present some real asks” in the coming weeks.

“We’ll be talking about where we’d like to be, what we’d like to have,” she said.

“We’re all working on this. It’s an issue that’s crept up on Penticton quickly, but we all want a vibrant downtown. It’s an emotional thing,” she said.

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