Penticton chamber offers letter of support for mayor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton chamber offers letter of support for mayor

The Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce has offered a letter of support to the mayor over the city's emergency shelter dispute with the province.
May 28, 2021 - 12:11 PM

Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is lending its support to Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Penticton city council in its dispute with the province.

The business group wrote an open letter of support for the mayor to B.C. Premier John Horgan regarding the city’s temporary winter shelter at Victory Church, located at 352 Winnipeg Street.

The shelter has been mired in controversy since the province used its powers as a higher level of government to keep the shelter open, overriding the city’s mandated March 31 closure.

READ MORE: Penticton homeless

The chamber conducted a survey of Penticton businesses regarding their experience with changes to the neighbourhood brought about since the shelter opened.

The survey found:

  • 61.82 per cent found people sleeping in the doorway of their business or on their property
  • 45.45 per cent have had to deal with human waste on or around their business premises
  • 43.64 per cent have had to deal with complaints from their staff
  • 40 per cent have involved the police
  • 38.18 per cent have had customers and/or staff harassed

“We do not dispute the need to provide shelter and care for those experiencing homelessness, however we do support our mayor and the recent declaration from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, to decide where any future shelters should be located in their community. Furthermore, we strongly feel that the province should provide additional funding to support shelters,” the chamber stated in its letter.

The chamber described further shelter support coming in the form of additional police funding, and funding to address addictions and mental health issues.

“The chamber understands fully that we need to ensure that the safety of the city’s most vulnerable are provided shelter, however, we ask that the province work with elected local officials and allow them to make decisions that best meet the needs of the community,” the chamber said.


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