Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)

Penticton Chamber of Commerce pens letter of support in shelter battle

The letter included the results of a survey the chamber conducted with businesses

The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce has thrown their voice behind Penticton city council regarding the ongoing dispute with BC Housing.

It is the latest addressed to a member of the provincial government over the Winnipeg Street shelter that is still operating out of the Victory Church building in Penticton.

The letter, addressed to Premier John Horgan, is dated May 25, 2021 and was sent by the chamber’s board of directors.

In it, the chamber writes of their support of Mayor John Vassilaki’s own letter to the Premier, which was posted in both local media publications and in the Victoria Times Colonist.

The President of the Union of B.C. Municipalities also spoke in support of Penticton’s council over the “dangerous precedent” being set by BC Housing and the provincial government.

READ MORE: Minister Eby receives warning over ‘dangerous precedent’ in Penticton shelter dispute

READ MORE: Mayor runs ads in newspapers urging Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

The full letter can be found below.

To Honourable John Horgan, Premier Province of British Columbia Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

Dear Premier Horgan,

“A catalyst in the community”

The Board of Directors of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is writing this letter in support of Mayor Vassilaki’s letter to you dated May 12, 2021, regarding the temporary shelter at Victory Church. This shelter has had a negative impact on our vulnerable senior population and on our business community.

We conducted our own survey with the Penticton business community with respect to their experiences with the change in their neighourhood since the shelter was opened. The following results reflect the observations and perceptions of those who responded to our survey.

* 61.82 per cent have found people sleeping in the doorway of their business or on the property

* 45.45 per cent have had to deal with human waste on or around their business premises

* 43.64 per cent have had complaints from their staff

* 40 per cent have had to involve the police

* 38.18 per cent have had customers and/or staff harassed.

We do not dispute the need to provide shelter and care for those experiencing homelessness however we do support our Mayor and the recent declaration from UBCM that the Province should allow local elected officials, who represent their municipalities, to decide where any future shelters should be located in their community. Furthermore, we strongly feel that the Province should provide additional funding to support shelters. This support would include but not limited to:

* funding for additional policing as a direct result in the increased risk of health and safety matters,

* funding for services to address addictions and mental health.

The Chamber understands fully that we need to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable are provided shelter. However, we ask that the Province work with the elected local officials and allow them to make decisions that best meet the needs of the community.

Sincerely,

Jonathan McGraw, CA, CPA

President, Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce

Cc

Honourable David Eby

Mayor Vassilaki and City Council

Executive Director, Downtown Penticton Association Chair, Tourism Penticton

Chair, Penticton Industrial Association

Chair, the City of Penticton Safety and Security Task Force

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HousingMunicipal Government

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Firefighters were called to a grass fire on a hillside slope behind the post office in Summerland on Friday shortly before 2 p.m. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Firefighters extinguish blaze behind Summerland Post Office

Fire on hillside slope occurred Friday, June 18 shortly before 2 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Most Read