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

SFU Pipe Band comes to Chilliwack

Champion bagpipers will play on Leap Day

Agassiz Anglican Church hosts benefit dinner

Door prizes, entertainment and a catered dinner

LETTER: We’re all shook up

Harvey Andrew of Agassiz reminisces about earthquakes in a letter.

Barking news: Annual Pet Lover Show returns to Abbotsford!

Largest animal showcase in Western Canada brings fur and feather fun

Hockey 4: Simply for the love of hockey

No scores kept, no MVPs named — in Hope they just play for fun

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citizenship, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Most Read