Conflicting authority on Lewis Street accomplishes nothing

Bylaw and security and police all sending different messages to these people.

Conflicting authority on Lewis Street accomplishes nothing

Well the residents of Lewis Street cautiously waited for the promised weekend of full police and bylaw protection as stated by the mayor and police.

The weekend arrived and we did see police and bylaw on Saturday morning giving wake up calls to the people camping on Lewis Street but by 11 o’clock they were gone and the tents were still up.

No significant presence for the rest of the day or night.

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday and the tents and people remained.

On Sunday I spoke with quite a few people living in the tents and questioned what they were told by the bylaw and police and security. It seems depending who talks to them, the agenda is different. Then Warmland apparently counsels these people in a manner totally contrary to all of town and police efforts.

Police and bylaw and security tell different tales; some give wakeup call and tell street people to clean up and collapse tent and cover with tarps then it is OK to stay here. Others require to fold down tents, clean up and move on. Police direct clean up, fold up tents and go somewhere else, suggesting McAdam Park or Victoria or Nanaimo. Warmland on the other hand, by stories from street people, advise people that they do not have to leave or even obey police or bylaw for it is their constitutional right to be here on Lewis Street. Also they are told they are safer here due to the presence of police for there is violence in McAdam Park.

The overview of this weekend is a token presence by town and police with no real effect. It shows police on overtime and I expect bylaw also on overtime as their idea of protection is 9 to 5. We also have a provincial shelter telling street people to ignore all authority and inciting a situation contrary to the public interest and safety.

Well in my last public letter I said we needed some public action from police and the town and we got it. I said let this action speak for itself and it sure did.

This token response on overtime was a total failure and really, do they think the people on Lewis Street or the public in general would be fooled by this display?

By actions we see a government organization by appearance undermining the agenda of the town and police and the town. Bylaw and security and police all sending different messages to these people.

Well if this was action to be seen of what they could do — IT FAILED MISERABLY!

Larry Woodruff

North Cowichan

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