It’s increasingly apparent that federal and provincial officials are only concerned about what goes on in large cities.
As an example, funding for affordable housing is available in larger centres but not in Vernon. Activities directed towards drug overdoses are limited to anything bigger than Kelowna and Kamloops, but not in the North Okanagan.
“Whenever there are solutions from the federal or provincial governments, they go on population base,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham told her Vernon council colleagues Monday.
“We see a lot of money invested in downtown eastside of Vancouver and I understand that, but we have the same issues. Victoria had a tent city and they invested a huge amount in affordable housing but we have significant issues here.”
No one is suggesting that Vernon have a safe injection site like those proposed in Kelowna and Kamloops. However, used and unused needles are regularly being found in the downtown core and yet the city and social agencies don’t have sufficient financial resources to respond properly.
Ottawa and Victoria need to understand that homelessness, drug use and other social issues are not just limited to large urban centres. They occur in communities of all sizes.
Now is the time for the provincial and federal governments to take action.