Downtown safety in focus

Downtown business owners are encouraged to attend a safety meeting on Feb. 6.

"A facilitated meeting will be held ... to discuss various issues and concerns in downtown Vernon, and particularly safety," the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says.

Organizers have been directed by the city to invite businesses impacted by ongoing concerns surrounding homelessness, drug use and public safety.

The number of people sleeping rough in Vernon has steadily risen in recent years from an estimated 144 in 2016 to an estimated 153 in 2017, to the most recent estimation of 161 in 2018.

Meanwhile, 98 units of supportive housing in two projects are set to open in the next few months, which is expected to help alleviate many of the associated problems and perceptions of decreased safety.

Facilitator Urban Matters has been contracted to provide the city with an independent report on the meeting for council's review. 

City staff are working with the Vernon Social Planning Council on the arrangements.

The meeting will take place at the Schubert Centre from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

In advance of the meeting, any chamber members who want to share their experiences regarding safety concerns are encouraged to email [email protected].

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