Open drug use and vagrancy at the former Legion building in downtown Vernon continues to be an issue. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Fines urged for owners who let their property go to “Sh**sville” in Okanagan community

In dealing with former Legion building, city looking at options

From prostitutes circling at dusk to homeless people seeking shelter or addicts using drugs, Vernon’s former Legion building may be empty but it sees a lot of activity.

The building, on the corner of 33rd Street and 31st Avenue, has become a hub for some of the city’s most vulnerable, both day and night.

Records indicate there were 30 complaints in 2019 (to Aug. 18) documented by bylaw at the site. Although that is significantly lower than 141 in 2018, the city suspects that is due to the fact that the Bylaw Compliance Department is now located directly across the street.

READ MORE: Homelessness, open drug use continue to plague Vernon

“The nature of the complaints is primarily for people sleeping in-and around the building, drug use, sharps, unsightliness, stolen goods, etc.,” according to a City of Vernon report.

A retail cannabis store is slated for the site, but it is subject to demolition of the building.

Now city politicians are getting impatient to see the relic torn down.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal would like to see fines imposed on owners that, “let their houses go to S**tsville.” Nahal referred to this building along with drug houses in the city.

“I think that’s something that we need to get more aggressive on,” said Nahal.

Municipalities do have the authority to take remedial action.

Graffiti is another problem the city is cracking down on.

The Anti-Tag Team was brought back this summer (following a 10-year hiatus) and is slated for 2020. The team identified 2,063 tags around town so far this year (1,271 of which have since been removed).

“The Anti-Tag Team makes note to businesses that they are being vandalized and would make steps to remove it for them if they participate,” said Rachael Zubick, Community Safety Office co-ordinator.

Morning cleanups have also been looked into but staff report it would be a significant cost — an estimated $146,175 annually if provided by city employees.

Several groups already provide cleanup downtown and the city continues to provide pick-up of large items illegally dumped on roads, alleys and public property.

One proactive way the city is cleaning up is by adjusting trash pickup times downtown to 10 a.m. or later.

“At present, our current contract requires the downtown businesses to put their garbage and blue, bag recycling out prior to 7 a.m., which is difficult for businesses as most do not open until after 9 a.m.,” said Chris Ovens, manager of roads, drainage and airport, in a report.

READ MORE: Mobile needle exchange considered in Vernon

READ MORE: Vernon councillor seeks cost info for hiring private security firm to help combat petty crime


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Video: Bobcat infiltrates Salmon Arm couple’s coop

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

CSRD green light’s Blind Bay cannabis store, provincial approval required

Public survey shows 55 per cent in favour, 42 per cent opposed to proposed outlet

Driver of speedboat in fatal Shuswap Lake houseboat collision denied parole

Court says Leon Reinbrecht unwilling to accept culpability for “reckless, thrill-seeking behaviour”

Mould mitigation at Sicamous elementary school near complete

School District #83 superintendent says health concerns have been resolved

17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Samajam gets Okanagan kids in the groove

Children make music at Performing Arts Centre show Saturday

North Okanagan woman pleas for return of stolen scooter

‘It’s been another kick in the teeth… how do you get ahead and keep your head above water?’

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Volunteer spends hundreds of hours restoring piece of railway history

Revelstoke Railway Museum now home to an authentic Kalamazzo No. 2 Section Handcar

Future of Penticton francophone school secured following funding announcement

$11.5M in funding means École Entre-lacs now independently owned and operated

Most Read