Vernon business owner dumps street garbage onto city hall steps, hires private security as frustration builds

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Growing frustration for Vernon businesses – Sep 18, 2018

Four months ago, Bob Sattler dumped three shopping carts full of garbage on the front steps of city hall to make a point.

He was frustrated that nobody was taking responsibility for the trash left lying around by those hanging out or sleeping in his back alley.

“There’s excrement, there’s clothing, there’s mattresses, there’s everything left on our property,” he said, adding that he also found a kid’s swimming pool, needles and a knife.

“I brought it over to city hall to show them what I had to go through on a weekly basis,” he said.

“I waited for 45 minutes and then lost my temper and dumped the garbage that I had in my truck on city hall steps to make my point,” Sattler said.

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Bob Sattler says he got frustrated with city hall not tackling the homeless issue in downtown Vernon, leading him to collect three shopping carts full of garbage, which he then dumped in front of city hall. Submitted

READ MORE: Vernon backs down on shopping cart ban

Sattler said he then faced criminal mischief charges.

But the city didn’t appear to be tackling his problem, so he found his own solution by hiring private security, Sattler said.

“It’s frustrating that we have to hire a personal security guard to patrol our own property at night,” Sattler said. “We feel that RCMP and bylaw should be helping the downtown to do the same thing.”

Dean’s Taylor Shop owner Vicki Eide also hires private security at the expense of her own business. She wants the city to step up.

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“Clean it up. Address the issues, the people that need treatment, let’s get them fast-tracked into treatment,” she said.

READ MORE: Planned Vernon bylaw to ban shopping carts could hurt homeless: advocates

Sattler has since gone through restorative justice, which involved sitting down at the table with both the city and police, as each party explained its side.

“I regret [dumping the trash] because it was something I could have paid for, for the rest of my life,” Sattler said. “But I am glad that I did it because it did raise awareness, and I hate to say it, but I felt like a rock star for two weeks with people patting me on the back.”

The city, mayor and police did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The city has said in the past that it is following many of the recommendations made by a recent task force on homelessness.

Business owners in the area said they hope it will be an election issue.

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