Penticton is dealing with a homeless and addiction crisis and it's looking for a little help - InfoNews

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Penticton is dealing with a homeless and addiction crisis and it's looking for a little help

Politicians will gather at the Vancouver Convention Centre later this month for the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention.
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September 12, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Homelessness and the opioid crisis are significant issues throughout the Okanagan and Kamloops regions but one city in particular is looking for solutions.

The City of Penticton is trying to rally other B.C. municipalities to its cause. At a meeting later this month, Penticton councillors and staff will try to get province-wide support for three separate initiatives to help tackle the problem. If they are accepted, it will give them far more weight when asking the provincial government for help.

Penticton is calling on the province to “fund significantly more licensed rehabilitation facilities and beds in every local government to enable all those who seek assistance in recovering from addictions an opportunity to beat addictions.’

In another effort to help the needy, it’s asking that rooming houses be subject to inspections to protect “vulnerable individuals” from unscrupulous landlords.

It’s also calling on the province to “ensure all forms of social services (mental health services, addiction services, social assistance services, employment services, etc.) also referred to as “wrap-around services” are available to individuals housed in homeless housing at the housing site or within a short walking distance.”

Despite the fact that 13,000 Kelowna residents signed a petition against that type of housing and many in Kelowna are calling for more treatment and supports for people suffering from addictions, there are no resolutions from Kelowna city council on homelessness going to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. In fact, there are no resolutions at all from the region’s largest city.
Kamloops, the region’s second largest city, only has one resolution going to the convention. That asks that producers of packaging and printed paper be responsible for that material to be recycled when it’s used in commercial and industrial settings. Currently it’s only covered for residential use.

Another big concern these days is the use of e-cigarettes. Lake Country and West Kelowna have both put forward resolutions calling for tougher regulations for that product.

In all, there are 277 resolutions going to the conference with 26 coming from the Thompson Okanagan.

Some of the local resolutions deal with wildfire and flooding issues while others are more bureaucratic in nature.

But some are likely to draw more public interest, such as West Kelowna asking that B.C. cities be allowed to use photo radar and Lake Country wanting odors from cannabis operations controlled.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District wants local governments to have the right to implement on-line voting and to ban or restrict the speed of boats during floods.

The conference runs from Sept. 23 to 27 in the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The event includes study tours, clinics on things like the "Moose Hide Campaign: Taking a stand for Safety" and "Hydrogen 101" along with policy sessions on things like ride hailing, tourism and forestry. Leaders of all the political parties will speak, including Premier John Horgan on the Friday morning to wrap it up.

All the resolutions can be seen on the Union of B.C. Municipalities web page.

That document also contains a long list of actions the province has taken after resolutions were passed at last year’s convention. Those include things like a survey of the public’s feelings on Daylight Savings Time, allowing cities to create rental zones and cannabis growers no longer having to apply for permission from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Here are some samplings of resolutions from other regions:

• Tahsis wants caves to be protected
• Cariboo Regional District wants a share of cannabis tax revenues
• Vancouver wants cities to be able to implement 30 km/h speed zones
• Courtenay wants a share of liquor taxes to help pay for police
• Richmond wants a ban on a wide range of single use products, including plastic and paper bags while Powell River wants to charge deposits on those items.
• Squamish wants electric bikes to be exempt from provincial taxes
• Sicamous wants to be consulted before backcountry closures are imposed
• Bulkley-Nechako Reginal District wants residents to have the right to stay and defend their homes against wildfires
• Victoria wants people as young as 16 to be able to vote
• Langley wants municipal candidates to be able to spend $5,000 on their own campaigns, up from $1,200 and other people’s contributions to be tax deductible
• Burns Lake wants hunting of cow/calf moose to stop until populations recover
• Grand Forks wants to be consulted before B.C. Housing buys land for supportive housing.
• Chetwynd wants more coroners hired
• Powell River is calling for free tuition for post-secondary education for B.C. residents


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