The people of Penticton elected Mayor John Vassialki and the five members of council.
Penticton did not elect David Eby. In fact, the NDP was soundly defeated in the recent provincial election.
But, Eby, the attorney general and minister of housing, insulted our mayor, strongly implied that 1,000 tents and sleeping bags could be sent here for a tent city and his actions border on bullying.
Eby’s behaviour is unbecoming of a cabinet minister.
The Province of British Columbia created the Local Government Act, allowing a statutory level of independence between Victoria and the cities. More and more social services are being downloaded to the cities, often without any funding attached.
Last week, Penticton council voted unanimously against extending a one-year exemption to the Victory church to provide an emergency shelter on what was supposed to be a temporary basis.
Can Minister Eby name the two seniors’ homes located within a stone’s throw? Can he quote statistics on police and ambulance calls?
Of course not and we don’t expect him to know that.
But city staff and our elected officials do have the answers. They live here. Staff has done the research. Staff has the knowledge. Mayor and council listen to the people and take recommendations from staff’s research.
BC Housing can go back to the drawing board to find an appropriate site. That’s their job.
Old churches were not designed to be homeless shelters. According to the Official Community Plan, the site is zoned as downtown commercial.
The citizens of Penticton have been extremely accommodating in permitting the handful of shelters and social housing developments that already exist. The City also hired a full-time coordinator to deal with social issues.
This comes at the same time Interior Health pulled funding to Pathways Addictions Centre — a program with a proven track record.
David Eby is considered by many to be among the top five of the shining stars in the NDP caucus. We suggest he start acting like it.