It was a controversial decision, now a Vernon city councillor has changed his mind about a proposed city-wide ban on shopping carts in public places.
Brian Quiring says that on reflection, he believes it won’t lead to a desired solution and may even push the street-entrenched population to desperation.
“For several weeks now I’ve been rethinking my position,” Quiring tells Beach Radio News. “First of all, we get elected to lead and we make decisions and sometimes we make decisions that we reconsider and I believe I was wrong.”
Quiring says he drives by Linear Park, where the homeless often camp and hangout, daily.
“They’re desperate and I think by taking away what little they have will lead to further desperation which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.”
Quiring is hopeful to find other solutions, pointing to housing and supports for addiction and mental health issues.
He says his change of heart has nothing to do with a letter to council from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association which has urged council to change its mind on the plan.
Association lawyer Meghan McDermott calls the proposed shopping cart bylaw a breach of Canada’s Charter of Rights.
“This seems to be a very thinly-veiled attempt to make the lives of homeless people even more difficult, seems to be very, you know, discriminatory,” says McDermott.
McDermott says it would be “ridiculous and irrational” of council to move ahead with the bylaw which was debated on July 23rd, after a recommendation from the Activate Safety Committee.