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

VIDEO: A message from Mission’s mayor

Pam Alexis asks residents to support local businesses, stay strong during COVID-19 pandemic

Mission developers donate $10,000, challenge others to donate as well

Gary Toor and Jason Tiegen gve the money to Mission Community Services, hope to raise $20,000

You can design a new banner for Mission’s downtown area

Mission Downtown Business Association is presenting its second annual banner design competition

One woman arrested in Abbotsford on Sunday after stabbing

25-year-old man sent to hospital with serious injuries following incident

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, fear it’s a mistake

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

COVID-19 self-isolation plan or quarantine, returning B.C. residents told

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Most Read