Penticton city council approves banishment policy | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton city council approves banishment policy

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January 08, 2019 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - City council is OK with a policy that will facilitate banning of persons from city facilities or lands after approving a staff recommendation.

Director of corporate services Laurie Darcus told city council today, Jan. 8, the policy is “one of those policies you wished you didn’t have.”

Darcus said city staff have been physically assaulted including one staffer who was grabbed by the neck and another who had hot coffee thrown at them. She said there has also been property damage.

The city has been banning people as a result, but there was no consistent process is in place the city, she said.

“This policy will ensure we are applying fairness in our procedures and applying reasonable and justifiable time limits on these bannings,” she said, adding the policy also contained an appeal process.

She said the process allowed staff some authority at the same time providing a guiding document.

Coun. Judy Sentes called the policy “timely” saying staff needed the protection and ability to ban people.

Mayor John Vassilaki also agreed with the recommendation.

“I know we have to protect our staff to ensure no harm, whether it’s physical or verbal, comes to any staff member, but we have to use common sense,” Vassilaki said.

The policy’s goal is to ensure safe and respectful city spaces for citizens, staff and visitors. The city also has a responsibility under Worksafe BC to provide staff with a respectful workplace.

Reasons for banning an individual includes physical or verbal threats, damage to city property, theft, use of profanity, use or exchange of alcohol or drugs, smoking of any substance in prohibited areas, causing a disturbance and intentionally causing a safety risk.

Council voted unanimously in favour of the policy.

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