West Kelowna  

Dangerous, disgusting mess

The City of West Kelowna is dealing with filthy fallout from a spike in homelessness.

Transients are to blame for a large increase in vandalism and vile messes in West Kelowna, according to a report by city staff.

The report, prepared by parks and fleet supervisor Stacey Harding, says numerous parks in the community have been affected by broken glass, intentional damage, public defecation and urination, graffiti, camp fires and litter.

Meanwhile, businesses are having to clean urine and feces from stairwells. There is concern needles are hidden in the landscaping.

Nearby seniors homes have been impacted by noise.

"The nature of the garbage and items left behind for disposal exposes staff and the public to biohazards of numerous kinds and has enhanced concerns that staff may potentially be exposed to new, dangerous chemicals such as fentanyl," says the report.

Transients are drinking and smoking marijuana in the local library bathrooms, and in several instances, condoms have been found by staff.

The vandalism has also come at a financial cost to replace doors, picnic tables and washroom fixtures. There is also a cost to clean up public washrooms, with people defecating on the floor or even inside the toilet tank.

The south community entrance sign has been shot at with a low-calibre weapon.

West Kelowna has been fighting the vandalism by installing surveillance cameras and increasing security.

The increase in transients is being caused in part by the installation of new facilities, including a new shelter – which police say has increased crime in the area.

"These are unfortunate spinoffs from the (Emmanuel Assembly) Church's honourable, humanitarian efforts to better our community," says the report.

The report says city staff are investigating solutions.


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