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

Penticton students take aim at bullying with Be Kind initiative

The initiative aims to replace Anti-Bullying Day with year-round activities.

Security footage shows grab and go of cash in Penticton business break-in

Marla Black is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who broke into Winemaster

Vehicle taken by gunpoint in Penticton carjacking recovered

Penticton RCMP said the criminal investigation remains very active and ongoing

Festival of all things spicy kicks off in the Similkameen

Organizers say Sizzle keeps getting bigger and bigger

RDOS to study sites for composting facility

Penticton and Okanagan Falls landfills will be examined

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Climate protesters temporarily shut down road in downtown Kelowna

Protesters are demanding politicans take action to stop climate change

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Most Read