City of Vernon staff are still working on how to implement a ban on the homeless using shopping carts on public property.
While that process is underway, several city councillors are getting criticized for agreeing to a full ban.
Darrin Taylor, who’s task force recommended only partial control, isn’t surprised by the backlash.
“One of the things that I’ve been talking about the last week is, you know, I’d like to harness some of this anger and some of this passion towards you know what exactly are we doing to help those people.”
Taylor notes the task force report recommended getting shopping carts off of downtown sidewalks only.
He says Vernon is a compassionate community and he’d like to see going beyond bans.
“The question I ask all the time, I have been for years – are we doing enough, is our medical system doing enough to help these people in a meaningful way? I mean to just sit back and go okay everything’s good he’s got his shopping cart back. I don’t think that’s good enough. I think we need to do better than that.”
He says these are people who need a hand up, perhaps some medical and psychiatric care.
“I mean I don’t know. To pretend that just leaving people alone and washing our hands of it is okay. I mean I’m not comfortable with that.”
Taylor says he’s not going to second guess the city on what it’s doing and wants to see how it all plays out.
But he says he struggles with the plight of people living on the streets and he holds the province and health care system accountable to be doing better to serve that population.
Meanwhile, the Upper Room Mission isn’t sure what it can do to help homeless people who could lose their shopping carts when the new bylaw is in place..
Co-Executive Director Lisa Church says people are definitely worried and frustrated.
The Mission has ten storage sheds built last year that are full, and on a wait list.
“The amount of sheds that we have doesn’t fill the need but we’re limited as far as space and just being able to manage those sheds as far as staffing and that type of thing.”
Church says it would be nice if there was more of that in the community to offer.
She isn’t sure what the impact will be once the bylaw takes effect.