Penticton firefighters Tyler Guy (left) and Joel Black, wearing protective gear, safely dispose of needles at the Main Street location of Prospera Credit Union in 2017. The sharps were found inside a suitcase outside of the building earlier in the day. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Crime, substance abuse, public safety and housing listed as Penticton priorities

Penticton City Council to bring up priority issues at UBCM

Penticton City Council has set their priority issues that they will bring up with senior government officials at this year’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Held annually, UBCM provides a voice for local governments of all sizes and from all areas of the province to come together and discuss issues and opportunities of common or emerging interest. Positions developed by attending cities assist in the formulation of new policies, both at the local and provincial level. All members of city council are planning on attending.

For the 2019 UBCM event, Council has scheduled the following meetings:

— Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Hon. Judy Darcy: Council is requesting that the Ministry expedite their work on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to provide mental health and addictions care early, close to home and sensitive to Penticton’s needs, and that the Ministry work with Interior Health to identify potential solutions to this ongoing crisis, including psychiatric hospital beds.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP said drug addiction driving crime rate

— Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Hon. David Eby: Council is requesting that the Ministry work collaboratively with our local government to ensure the safety of our citizens is considered in sentencing and bail condition decisions.

— Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Hon Mike Farnworth: Council is requesting that the Ministry/Solicitor General review the RCMP police and administrative support strength provided to unincorporated communities which are served from officers stationed in municipal detachments, to ensure they are meeting the mandate to uphold public safety.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP have the busiest detachment in B.C.

— Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Hon. Selina Robinson: Council is requesting the ministry continue to work closely and collaboratively with the city to support housing needs across income bands.

In addition to the four minister meetings, members of council have also registered at several convention programs on topics including: financing reconciliation, funding resources for local government and the mid-size city forums.

“This is council’s first UBCM event since being elected in 2018,” said Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki. “With council having provided input on their priorities, staff have put together a full schedule of meetings and events to attend over the course of the week. The information shared and the conversations held will provide insight and feedback on matters that all communities across B.C. are considering, while also allowing interests specific to Penticton to be heard. To keep our community informed on this year’s event, I intend to share updates as the week unfolds.”

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