The letter from June Hamley on June 29 opposing condos in Cottonwood park was very interesting but I found it a bit odd. I am not quite sure why I, or any one else, would find it more “creepy” to be overlooked by a man “from Alberta” while meditating in the Zen Garden but not find it creepy to be surrounded by addicts smoking crystal meth or shooting up. I do understand that addiction is a medical problem not a moral issue. And I have great compassion for anyone suffering from any serious, chronic medical problem.
But I do not think addiction or any other medical issue can be solved with sympathy alone. People who are addicted need therapy, counselling, and treatment — not platitudes or greenhouses in Cottonwood Park. They need a treatment/daycare drop-in centre and not a public park dedicated to enabling their addictive behaviors.
How many young Nelsonites see these letters from adults who not only support the “street life” but actually seek to encourage it? How many of our youth are being introduced to hard drugs in Cottonwood Park and on Baker Street? What area will we next be asked to dedicate to vagrants, panhandlers and addicts — Lakeside Park? Gyro Park? Where does it end? As long as we do nothing and continue to enable unregulated panhandling, public intoxication and open use of drugs in our parks and on our streets this problem will increase until we have the same sort of chaos in our little city we see in places like Vancouver and Surrey.
We need action not enabling. We need a treatment centre with a daycare drop-in and a by-law regulating panhandling. It is time we made it clear that Nelson is not going to continue to just enable people with problems but that we are going to take the necessary steps to both help the addicted and reduce homelessness and poverty in our enlightened community.
Tira Evans, Nelson