So far — so good — for Vernon’s new bylaw covering camping in City parks.
Temporary shelters have to be taken down and removed between 9 am and 9 pm, with violators facing a 100 dollar fine.
Bylaw compliance officer Al Harrison says a soft enforcement and information period started today in Polson Park.
“It went well. There was a few people in the back (of the park). They were pretty compliant when we showed up. They were packing up and trying to get out. We had some equipment standing by to remove some of the abandoned camps and some of the refuse that was left around there,” Harrison tells Kiss FM.
Harrison says they wrote a few warnings just to let people know they are now enforcing the bylaw.
“We won’t be physically removing anybody or any of their belongings at this point, until we get further direction. So right now it’s just a soft enforcement and informational.”
Harrison says the homeless residents have known about the new bylaw for the last few weeks which was given final approval by city council last Monday.
“We dropped off pamphlets and leaflets for them over the last week and put them up around the park so they would be aware of it.”
Harrison says many of the residents went to the Upper Room Mission until they can set up their tents again at 9 pm.
“They don’t have to leave the park, they just can’t keep their stuff there, so they find somewhere to store their stuff and then they come back to the park. Hopefully it’s not too inconvenient for them and they can continue on like they have. They just can’t hang out there all day long like they have in the past.”