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

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read