Local landlord Donovan Brown is urging city residents to have their voices heard at the council table regarding a proposed three-year permit extension for the downtown temporary shelter.
“Due to the tabling of the vote on extending and expanding the homeless shelter in downtown Trail, you have time to email the Trail city council and give them your opinion on the matter,” Brown says. “My main encouragement is for everyone to communicate their concerns to council, I strongly stand on the position that the homeless shelter should not be downtown any longer.”
Brown was referring to Aug. 15 Trail council when city officials heard from BC Housing advisors asking for a three-year renewal of the temporary use permit at the 18-bed shelter, located at south end of Bay Avenue. After hearing from several local contingents, Trail council opted to seek legal advice before making a decision. Specifically the city is seeking clarification that if council members agree to a three-year extension, would they be able to cancel the permit before the full term pending yearly reviews of the permit.
“Public opinion at the recent council meeting was almost 100 per cent opposed to the homeless shelter being located where it is and thus against the extension,” Brown explains. “Small businesses and families have voiced concern over the negative impact the shelter has had on our downtown core. People are feeling unsafe walking by the alley, businesses are being vandalized, front and rear entrances have feces that need cleaning up regularly, our bank ATM machines are closed at earlier evening hours and don’t open early in the morning anymore.”
He mentioned related crime, violence, aggression, citing the case of an 80-year-old woman being pushed down a set of stairs.
“She showed up to the meeting and voiced her disgust at the situation being permitted,” Brown adds. “My tenants cannot use the Tamarac stairs due to overcrowding of loitering individuals and their drug activity. The list goes on.”
Brown also pointed to three council members – Coun. Robert Cacchioni, Coun. Sandy Santori and Coun. Carol Dobie, that he notes “were adamantly opposed to the shelter and stuck up for our businesses, families and community.”
Others were on the fence and some voiced significant concern over what would happen if the shelter were to be closed down, Brown said.
“They were really afraid of what would happen to the existing homeless, in particular they do not want to see what they feel would be certain death for many of these displaced individuals. Fair points, for sure.”
Finally, Brown clarifies that the issue isn’t about whether or not the homeless people need help, rather, the issue for Trail is finding another location for the shelter.
“(What’s needed) is a more appropriate location for the shelter and funding for the appropriate and necessary services required to provide the help that these people really need, such as mental health and drug rehabilitation,” Brown said.
“Handing out free stuff just enables them to continue their self-harmful behavior which is not loving at all. We need to remember our most vulnerable population, which is our women, children and the elderly who are not safe to walk downtown by themselves . The homeless are not the most vulnerable,” he said.
“We are all vulnerable and we must not forget about our families who deserve a safe place to live, go to school and to do business.”
Brown concluded by offering insight he’s gained from visiting downtown businesses this past week.
“With the exception of a few who commute from out of town, everyone, and I do mean everyone, business owners and employees alike, is fed up with the appalling situation we face on a daily basis.”
Trail council members can be emailed via the city’s website: trail.ca.
Simply click “Inside City Hall” then “Mayor and Council” in the drop-down menu.
Or, the email address for each council member is the first letter of the council member’s name followed by their last name then @trail.ca.
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