Local IssuesMorning Musings

No more excuses Smithers

Smithers no longer has a homeless camp problem, its evolved into a predator camp, and the citizens of Smithers are its prey. In this weeks Interior News “The Town of Smithers” has announced the temporary suspension of its weekly encampment takedowns and cleanups at Veterans Peace Park.”  “Sometimes the condition of the camp, and the behavior of those within the encampment makes things maybe not the best situation for staff,” said Mayor Gladys Atrill. “And we do have a responsibility as any employer to ensure that staff have a safe work environment at all times.”

“It’s as if we have some sort of positive classical-liberal obligation to let tweakers and crackheads turn parks and bus loops and playgrounds into theatres of self-destruction, filth and crime.”


The reward for being too dangerous for Smithers employees is a gift of what might be more than $400 to $800 dollar tents, how long before they are all sold off for another fix? It appears as if they are intended to be permanent structures, nobody is moving out as per the law. The Smithers council,  is complicit with ignoring the very law they signed into existence.



Too dangerous for town staff to do cleanup, so some organization rewards them with brand new tents, that do not comply with the 9:00 AM takedown with a return of 6 PM. No there is 100% intent to disregard the law that Smithers created in regards to camping in local town parks. By making the camp look fresh, replacing the horrible mess created there, some people think the rule created can now be ignored.

If they pose a threat to town employees, what about our kids visiting the library? If they pose a threat to workers, what about the law abiding citizens of Smithers, and or visiting tourists? Who did this, some new welcome wagon group that wants our crime rate to remain high by encouraging all wannabe addicts to move to Smithers?


9:30 AM November 16th, the staff at the Smithers town office can plainly see nothing is being taken down, but why should they, sporting all those new tents.


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For starters why is it when you pass a law that says daily takedown, is the town of Smithers only enforcing it once a week? Are they worried they might move away?

The law was created with the intent to give people without a home a safe place to camp overnight, not make the camp their new home address. We have entered an OVERDUE period of where the town has to stop making excuses that punish Smithers residents, and start calling on the RCMP to permanently evict any camper that is posing a threat to town staff.


The town of Smithers has become and excuse factory and its time they started working for the residents of Smithers.


As for Atrill’s next comment is concerned. “It’s not only good for the people in the neighborhood, it’s good for the people who live there,” added Atrill. “Being able to get debris out of the camp, and any garbage out is beneficial to everyone. It’s definitely our hope to be able to do [the cleanups.]”


Let me be very clear, if any resident or citizen was leaving that kind of debris in any other park in Smithers, or any provincial or federal park in British Columbia, legal action would be taken against you, so why is Atrill repeatedly making excuses and or allowing and or maybe even encouraging these preditors to break the law and refuse to conform to simple laws of decency?


Seriously? I fully understand that we need to protect the employees of the Town of Smithers.

However caving in to the criminal element is not an option, the mayor of Smithers should not  be catering to the lawless element. Quote from Atrillbehavior of those within the encampment makes things maybe not the best situation for staff” Are you serious? Has the town of Smithers lost its policing contract with the RCMP? If these people are that aggressive, arrest them, lock them up. If need be keep them locked up, why is Atrill tolerating the criminal element?

The primary reason the law was changed was the escalating crime rate caused by these preditors, and the open arms policy the Town of Smithers created under Taylor Bachrach while he was major of Smithers.

Quoting Interior News “At its Sept. 12 regular meeting, council brought forward a motion from a closed meeting on Aug. 22 authorizing town staff to take down the homeless encampment at Veterans Peace Park “up to one time per week, until staff feel it is no longer practical.”

Seriously? The same team of people that created the homeless camp now dictating that we will ignore the laws Smithers council was forced to make in to respect the community of Smithers demanding something be done about both the camp and the matching crime rate.



The excuse.

A press release from the town said staff is working collaboratively with WorkSafe BC to develop a Workplace Violence Prevention Program.

“This program aims to establish procedures, policies, and work environment arrangements to minimize, if not eliminate, the risks to workers,” the release stated. “During all previously held takedowns and clean-ups, the Town has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, including having open lines of communication with staff involved.”

Come on folks, let’s call a spade a spade, this is pure political hogwash coming from Atrill. We do not have a problem at Smithers hospital, or at any medical clinic in Smithers, why? Because they have the following signs posted, and they call the police if you are crazy enough to break those rules. Post these signs all around the encampment and the second they violate the rules, have them arrested.




Its odd how the only topic not talked about is why is it so hard to get these predictors to move out during daytime hours. Recall all the stolen propane tanks, shopping carts, bikes and other property to be exchanged for drugs and alcohol, where do you put them when you have to vacate the park daily? Another part of the “code of silence” is in regards to needle junkies, discarding freely available needles in public parks,


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