Last night’s Activate Safety Task Force town hall in Vernon drew close to 160 people.
Chairperson Darrin Taylor says people didn’t mince words but he feels the tone was still constructive.
“I think even those of us that have been around for a long time are beginning to be shocked at the sort of behaviours that people are seeing, but it was an opportunity for us to gather a significant amount of input and data.”
Taylor says it was positive, people were respectful but frank.
“Everything from open drug use, prostitution, threatening behaviour, drug trafficking, theft and assault.”
There were also reports of fires being started.
He says generally there’s an underlying sense of fear and absence of security.
But Taylor wants people to understand this isn’t a discussion about homeless people or addiction.
“These behaviours are reflective, It’s beginning to seem, of a relatively small number of people who are engaging in what can only be described as criminal behaviour.”
Taylor says the tone is there’s an appetite to have something done about it.
But he says it’s not going to be quick and easy.
And he knows people want action, not just talk.
“What we’ve been asked to do is making recommendations to council, so at that point it’ll be incumbent upon city council to take a look at those recommendations and they’re the ones that can take action.”
The task force will meet weekly as it works to present recommendations to Vernon Council July 9th.
Taylor says for now there is nothing planned for more public input but he’ll listen to anything anyone has to say.