The City of Penticton plans to continue the work of a safety and security task force through summer 2019. File photo

Penticton continuing to clean up streets this summer

Council endorses continuation of city safety and security task force

Winter is far from over, but the City of Penticton is already making plans for the summer.

City council approved a recommendation to continue a safety and security task force through this summer, adding safe injection sites to its list of priorities.

Corporate services manager Laurie Darcus said safe injection sites are not a high priority item, but part of the discussion around the dangers of used needles.

“One of the conversations was, ‘would there be a potential for safe injection site?’ Instead, what the task force sort of focused on was getting these disposal boxes so that we could at least collect the needles and that they wouldn’t be a danger to the public,” said Darcus, adding the collection boxes are working well, and safe injections sites was just left on the list as an item for discussion.

“It’s not on the top of the list because this is working well, collecting the disposed of needles,” she said.

The task force came together last summer when the Downtown Penticton Association and others aired their feelings and perceptions about the lack and safety and security in the downtown core. This was compounded by incidents like transients taking over in public washrooms as a place to use drugs and vandalizing them, in one case causing over $3,000 damage.

Related:Meth party broken up in Penticton park

Over the summer, a number of actions were taken, including the RCMP doing 500 man-hours of foot patrol and the city taking steps to discourage loitering.

“There was lighting added down laneways and main streets to provide a more bright and, let’s say, enhanced downtown core so that people might want to come downtown and provide a presence,” said Darcus. “We also have a clean team that has been put into cleaning up where people have left a mess and that will continue into next year, with the support of council.”

Related:Dealing with street issues cost City of Penticton $352,600

All told, the city spent $352,600 on dealing with street problems, including $20,000 on picking up used needles.

Related:Needle disposal boxes being installed in Penticton

“Despite the fact that is a big dollar, the safety and security task force feels they have made a big difference,” said Darcus.

Another big focus for the city was working with partner agencies to develop low income and supportive housing.

“If you give these people a place to live, some of them just need that alone, and we wouldn’t be seeing this type of sleeping in the alleyways, sleeping in doorways that gives people a sense of insecurity,” said Darcus.

Council was unanimous in approving the task force, with a mandate to assist city council and the business community in creating a safe and secure city.

Mayor John Vassilaki, along with Couns. Katie Robinson and Jake Kimberley was appointed to the task force. They’re joining representatives from a number of organizations, including the DPA, B.C. Housing, the city’s bylaw department and the RCMP.

Priorities set for the task force include new bylaws to support enforcement, targeting inappropriate behaviour involving open alcohol, drug use and loitering; environmental design, including lighting; continuing the See Something, Say Something campaign; video surveillance of problem areas and private security and safe injection sites.

Related:Brightening up downtown

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Representing himself, Ighani delays trial

Afshin Maleki Ighani trial adjourned until Nov. 21

Man steals poppy box from Penticton Safeway

A man walked into the Penticton Safeway on Nov. 10 and stole a poppy donation box

Penticton’s Jerri & Friends to perform at Slackwater Brewing

The show on Nov. 23 is part of the ongoing Slackwater Sessions at the brewery

Penticton makes Maclean’s list of most dangerous Canadian cities again

City of Penticton was ranked 16th in 2018, and now ranks 19th in 2019

Penticton council fed up with non-compliant property owner

“I’m deeply offended, as I think all of Penticton is, and especially the neighbours.”

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Hergott: Day of remembrance for road traffic victims

Lawyer Paul Hergott’s latest column

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

Revelstoke man who sexually assaulted drunk woman sentenced to 18 months house arrest

For the first nine months he cannot leave his home between 2 p.m. and 11 a.m. except for work

Kamloops RCMP seek driver who hit teenager, then drove away

The 13-year-old boy was in a crosswalk, crossing Seymour Street at Eighth Avenue

City of Kelowna implements two new electric vehicle charging stations

EV drivers will now have four charging options across the city

COLUMN: Shuffling the deck chairs

Reflections after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his new cabinet

Most Read