Frustration boils over

Bob Sattler of Hi-Pro Sportswear is fed up. 

He is tired of coming to work in the morning to find trash, feces and loaded shopping carts strewn about his property. 

This morning, he showed Vernon's civic leaders just how fed up he is. 

Beyond frustrated, he dumped the contents of three shopping carts on the steps of City Hall.

"I parked my truck in front of their door and asked to speak to bylaw. I waited for 30 minutes and nobody came out, so I dumped it on their steps."

If this incident sounds familiar, that's because it has happened before, kind of.

Almost a month ago, Sattler loaded up trash and the belongings of a shopping cart he found on his property and walked it over to the Vernon Gateway Shelter and dumped the contents at the front entrance. 

For his actions, he was awarded a $110 fine from bylaw.  

"It's going to cost me $60 dollars to dump a truckload of garbage at the city dump, so I'll take the $110 fine. At least it is may be putting the notion into the councillors' and mayor's noggin that this has got to stop."

That fine issued to Sattler in April was paid for by the manager of the Vernon Gateway Shelter.

Sattler's business is located in an area of Vernon that has essentially been ground zero in a battle of heated discussions as of late over Vernon's street-entrenched population.

Coldstream Avenue has developed a reputation as an area where Vernon's street-entrenched population congregate. Many business owners believe that is in large part because of the social agencies located nearby. 

Both the John Howard Society shelter and the Upper Room Mission operate in the area and provide services for those in society who are marginalized.

Sattler said he tried taking the items on his property to the shelter this morning and was told that the contents were not owned by clients of the shelter. Sattler asked them if he could throw it in the trash, and they said: "go ahead."

"You phone bylaw, they don't do anything. You phone RCMP, they won't do anything, unless it turns into a violent act, to me that is too late. I ask for help removing this stuff, what can I do? Nobody wants to give me answer."

Sattler's frustration is shared by many business owners in downtown Vernon. 

"I don't know what to do," says Sattler. "My hands are tied in many ways. I am just frustrated."

Sattler has hired security to monitor his property, but still, he finds the issue has not improved.

An Activate Safety Task Force has been created with the aim of addressing the effects some of the street-entrenched population has on local business

The task force is expected to present its findings and recommendations to council in the summer. 

"I really don't know what the answer is," says Sattler. "We are the bad guys when we do things like this, but I am trying to be the good guy... I don't know where to turn." 

Sattler says he wants an answer. He wants to know what his rights are, and what he is supposed to do when this happens, again. 

"I've got a heart. I'm not trying to be mean to these people that are marginalized... I want answers."

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