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Polson Park boardwalk reopens following camp clean up

Items along the board walk trail Aug. 21, 2017, the day city crews began cleaning up what was left of a large homeless camp.
August 25, 2017 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - Vernon bylaw officers haven’t had to hand out any fines so far in relation to new camping regulations in public parks.

Bylaw started enforcing the rules — which require homeless people to dismantle shelters between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. — earlier this week, and acting senior bylaw officer Al Harrison says individuals have been cooperative.

“They’ve moved. They haven’t moved far, but they are out of the park,” he says. “They are welcome back at 9 p.m.”

So far, some warnings have been given out but none of the campers have been issued a fine, which is possible under the new bylaw regulations.

Harrison says enforcement has been happening in other city parks, as well as the Vernon Recreation Centre where camping is not allowed at all, any time of the day or night.

“It’s a tough issue. The intention for us is not to be mean, it’s to enforce the bylaw as council has brought it forward,” Harrison says.

Since the enforcement began, Harrison says bylaw has received a few complaints about people sleeping in alleys, but not many calls for individuals trespassing on private property.

The City closed down the boardwalk trail to the public earlier this week while heavy equipment was used to clean up the items left behind by campers, but as of Friday the trail is back open.

“Operations (department) is done in there so the boardwalk is back open and free for the public to use,” Harrison says. “It’s a great park. We’re happy to open it up to every body.”


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