Looking for a wild time? In the South Okanagan? If you’re thinking Penticton, think again says the city.
On Thursday, the City of Penticton issued a four-paragraph press release that was bluntly titled “The party is over.”
“A very small amount of people are causing a tremendous amount of problems in our community,” Peter Weeber, Penticton’s chief administrative officer, told Global Okanagan on Friday morning.
Weeber added that city council has made it clear that it supports local business, which pays bills, while “the problem makers aren’t paying any bills.”
The zero-tolerance strategy is something the city has been discussing for some time, said Weeber. As to why it was released this week, Weeber said the tipping point was a ‘meth party’ that city bylaw officers and the RCMP broke up on Wednesday afternoon at Okanagan Lake Park. According to Weeber, the party users completely blocked off the public washrooms, using it as their private club until police showed up.
“It was right in the middle of tourist season and it was the most blatant display of criminal activity,” Weeber said.
“So absolutely it was a tipping point. It’s that time of year where downtown is flooded with visitors, and what people are seeing on the streets is not our community.
“This is going to cost a lot of money, but we have no choice. Council has made it clear; we have to respond.”
Here’s what the city’s release said:
“Penticton is a beautiful and safe community. Penticton is our home. If you are here to enjoy all Penticton has to offer, “Welcome.” If you are here to break the law, drink and use drugs in a public place, occupy and damage city and private property, your life is about to get complicated.
“The City of Penticton is taking a zero tolerance approach to all unacceptable behaviors and illegal activities.
“It is time to take our community back from a small group of people that cause a high percentage of the problems. We encourage residents and visitors to report any activity that threatens the safety and beauty of our home.
“If you see something that’s not right, please call Bylaw Services at 250-490-2440 or 250-809-4367 after hours or call the RCMP detachment at 250-492-4300. For emergencies, call 9-1-1.”