A rise of misconduct at the Nelson and District Community Complex has put a stress on staff and patrons. Photo: Tyler Harper

10 people banned in two weeks from B.C. rec centre for drugs, squatting

Suspensions were for setting up sleeping bags in washrooms, theft, verbal abuse of staff, and more

Drug use, theft, squatting and confrontations with staff are on the rise at the Nelson and District Community Complex.

Staff suspended 10 patrons during a two-week period in January, according to Joe Chirico, general manager of community services for the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

His report to the recreation commission on Jan. 28 cited several instances of patrons locking themselves in showers or change rooms, drug paraphernalia found in washrooms, people setting up sleeping bags in the washrooms, money and washroom products being stolen, users not paying to access the facilities, and verbal abuse of staff.

“We’ve had patrons say to us they’re not feeling as safe as they used to be,” Chirico said. “It’s definitely increased staff stress. Oftentimes, if you confront people you’ve suspended from the community, they’re belligerent, they can be abusive – not necessarily physically but verbally, and that takes its toll.

“[It] just doesn’t make the facility a family-positive, public place to come to.”

Staff have installed used-needle containers throughout the complex, locked several doors that used to remain open throughout the day, and are trying to funnel all visitors past the front desk, he said. They’re also considering hiring security.

The challenge, Chirico said, is that people have a right to be in a public place even if they haven’t paid to get in — especially when it is cold outside — and the centre suffers from not having a larger entrance for the public to relax in.

“We know we need to be somehow a part of the positive solution for the community, but we’re still trying to figure out how we fit into that,” he said.

“We want to be empathetic, but we also want to make sure the facility is safe for patrons and staff.”

In 2018, a homeless count recorded 101 people living in Nelson without safe, permanent housing – more than a third of whom had been without it for more than six months.

READ MORE: Report shows plenty of homeless youth on Nelson’s streets



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Housing and HomelessnessRecreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Learning Society finds new way to get free books to kids amid COVID-19 pandemic

Debbie Denault is hoping others will join her in handing out free books in their own neighbourhoods

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘I love you this much’: Chilliwack firefighters share drone video on two-metre physical distancing

The Chilliwack Firefighters Association has been doling out helpful, visual reminders about COVID-19

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack teen found, safe and sound

RCMP ‘pleased to confirm’ teen has been located

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read