The jury is still out as to whether Vernon’s new anti camping bylaw in city parks is having any sort of positive effect.
Councillor Scott Anderson feels it has been successful in moving the transients out of Polson Park — and out of the city.
“To say that we’re hoping they move on down the road is one way of saying we hope they go home.”
Other members of council say it’s just moved the homeless people elsewhere.
Councillor Dalvir Nahal says many of the homeless that were in Polson Park are now staying in the linear park on 25th Avenue.
“I had wanted to fund some extra beds and that was obviously turned down when I had recommended that because they said it was not a municipality’s responsibility. I disagree with that. I think if the problem is in our backyard we should be doing something.”
Mayor Akbal Mund says those who have moved to the linear park have not done anything illegal.
“They’ve located there. I’ve been by a few times just to see, you know, is it a messy area. But they haven’t put out any permanent structures in that area, which is nice.”
Councillor Nahal says it’s still wrong to suggest the bylaw has been successful.
“It’s made the problem more in your face. So I think it’s more visible. More people are seeing it.”
She’s hoping that will pressure the new NDP government to provide more funding for housing.
Meanwhile, the city Bylaws staff say about 6 people have been camping in Polson Park each night, since the new bylaw banning shelters during the day took effect last month.
Council has now directed Bylaws officers not to enforce the 9 pm to 9 am camping rule past 7 pm because it’s getting darker earlier.