The City of Vernon received a summary report of the Feb. 6 session for the businesses and service providers within the Business Improvement Area (BIA) facilitated by Urban Matters. (Morning Star file photo)

Downtown Vernon safety concerns ‘nothing we didn’t already know’

Report from Business Improvement Area meeting fails to impress a couple city councillors

A Vernon politician is blasting a report on business concerns downtown as a “big waste of time.”

The City of Vernon recently received a summary report of the Feb. 6 session for the businesses and service providers within the Business Improvement Area (BIA) facilitated by Urban Matters.

See: Vernon meeting focuses on homeless

The report summarizes the meeting outcomes and makes recommendations to council from the input received at the session.

“A total of 68 businesses from within the BIA attended this session,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “These businesses provided important feedback that helps the city to better understand and address their concerns. Council has directed administration to review these suggestions and come up with recommendations on where the city might take action.”

But Coun. Dalvir Nahal says most of what is contained in the report is information of which council and the community are already aware.

“I just think that this whole thing is just a big waste of time,” Nahal told council Monday. “There’s nothing in this report that we didn’t already know.”

Coun. Scott Anderson echoed Nahal’s thoughts.

“We have a problem and trying to ignore it and minimize it and not take proactive action is not the way to go,” said Anderson, calling the suggestions, “a tone-deaf response to some very real things.

“Word is getting out around the province that you don’t want to set up business in Vernon.”

See: Issues with street-entrenched people increase for Vernon business

Coun. Brian Quiring defends the meeting and report.

“It is information that we knew. But it doesn’t hurt to necessarily hear it over and over again. There are actually some fairly good recommendations in the report,” he said, citing quicker response time to incidents in the downtown as one.

City administration is reviewing the recommendations and reporting back to Council on options, budgets and timeframes for acting on the recommendations of the report.

Key recommendations in the report include expanding understanding and sharing resources on existing programming, expanding enforcement presence in the downtown, increasing clean up and washroom availability downtown and encouraging engagement with businesses when new programs are to be located downtown. The full report is available at www.vernon.ca.

The City has distributed the meeting summary report to the meeting attendees and is working with the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) and the Chamber to distribute the report electronically to its membership. Hard copies are also available at the DVA office for pick up.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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