Enough is enough

I need to call attention to a serious concern in the core of Penticton. Last week a preteen girl was walking one block to her friends home to walk together to school, three men wearing bandana's over their faces began chasing her. She dropped the saxophone she was carrying as she ran, her friend’s father intervened and although the men had picked up the sax, with his intervention, the girl was kept safe and able to retrieve it.

That afternoon, her thirteen year old sister came home from school, and as she was getting her keys out for her home a man moved menacingly toward her and screamed obscenities and called her names using foul language, she was able to safely get into her home. Shortly after, her mother was also verbally accosted by the same man while on her balcony.

The RCMP were called and the man was arrested, the next morning he was back. This family has lived near the Salvation Army Men’s Shelter for many years without incident, a year or so ago, BC Housing took over. Since opening with the Salvation Army, the men’s shelter had zero tolerance for anyone coming into the shelter under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Since BC Housing became involved they have mandated
that high risk individuals and those with dependencies and under the influence had to be admitted. Now there are major problems in the area.

This family has witnessed daily alcohol and drug use on the creek walkway directly behind their home. Men are openly urinating at the creek and blocking the path. Another individual who lives in the area, will not walk on this public pathway because of constant harassment by the men on the path. We have spent huge amounts of taxpayer money to restore the creek and make it a pleasant place for people to visit, only to allow this inappropriate and inexcusable behaviour by a few, to spoil it for the entire community.

Friends have come to me with this concern. On their behalf, I have filed a complaint with Bylaw Services at the city, talked with the Salvation Army and BC Housing. As well, I put in a call into Superintendent of the RCMP but have not heard back from yet. Please, I am just asking those in power for a coordinated effort to look at this situation and find a solution. The primary concern is the immediate safety of the girls and other
residents, but a long term solution is needed in the core and in other areas of the city.

Citizens of Penticton join me in saying “I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Lynn Kelsey

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