Vernon city councillor changes mind on proposed shopping cart ban
A Vernon city councillor says he’s had a change of heart regarding the community’s proposed ban on shopping carts.
The proposed, and controversial, ban stems from recommendations that were made by the Activate Safety task force, which reportedly studied the effects, and conflicts, between the homeless and the business community in Vernon’s downtown core. In all, 46 recommendations were made, with council voting 4-1 in favour of the proposed shopping cart ban.
“At the July 23, 2018 council meeting, I voted to support a recommendation of the Activate Safety task force, which proposed a city-wide ban on shopping carts in public places,” councilor Brian Quiring said in a press release. “Since then, I have receive a great deal of correspondence from citizens and have given a lot of thought to my decision.”
“On reflection, I believe the proposal for a city-wide ban on shopping carts in public places will not lead to the solutions that we desire. I believe banning shopping carts will only serve to further deteriorate the situation of the street-entrenched population and possibly push them to desperation. This is the opposite of what we want to accomplish as a healthy community.”
Quiring went on to say “I am committed to working to find other solutions that will instead elevate and provide hope for the street entrenched population. Namely, I will focus on housing, and supports for addiction and mental health issues.
“As an elected official, my job is to make decisions, which I do regularly. Sometimes, I make mistakes and I have the ability to recognize that and to change. I look forward to holding constructive discussions with the Mayor and my fellow councillors.”
Earlier this week, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said it will be fighting the proposed ban, with BCCLA lawyer Meghan McDermott urging council to abandon the proposal because it is “flagrant targeting of homeless residents.”
“They’re already so vulnerable,” McDermott said. “What they’re trying to do is at least have a handful of possessions, so they can erect a basic shelter. To try and take that away from them is cruel.”
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