Daniel Collerette and his dog were in front of city hall to protest the city’s chaining off of a section of Nanaimo Square. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Homeless Okanagan man protesting bylaw amendment at city hall

A homeless Penticton man is upset about the city’s decision to chain off a section of Nanaimo Square

For Daniel Collerette living on city streets and sleeping in back alleys is not a matter of choice.

Last week, in response to the City of Penticton’s Good Neighbour bylaw amendment, which is going before council Tuesday, the former Quebec resident took his protest to the Main Street steps of city hall.

For him the last straw was chaining off of a portion of Nanaimo Square for use by a local business resulting in moving people who used to sit there, many of who like himself, simply had nowhere else to go.

READ MORE: Letter – Penticton bylaw is not meant to penalize the homeless

“I’m here (city hall) because they’re putting people outside of downtown which is not any better, it’s not the solution they’re just going to have the same problems somewhere else,” said Collerette sitting with his dog beside the large cart with all their belongings. “Everywhere I go now somebody calls the police or bylaw because I’m homeless and they come along and say ‘you need to move,’ but where do we go?

“There is no miracle solution, but this is not something better doing this.”

READ MORE: Penticton group serving dinner to the less fortunate has to move

The amendment would allow bylaw officers to ticket and fine individuals sitting or lying on the sidewalks of several downtown streets from May to Sept. 30.

Some members of council have said the bylaw’s intent is not to move the homeless out of the downtown and city staff has said the fines would only be used as a last resort. Collerette feels this treatment by officials because he is homeless, is like that of a criminal.

“The RCMP they put my stuff in a container and tell me if I don’t leave they will put me in jail but at the end of the day they need to put me outside because being homeless is not a crime,” he said, adding he’s seeing more and more homeless in Penticton each year. “A cop said to me ‘go to your own town.’ Well, I am Canadian and Penticton is in Canada, I can live here.”

Collerette, who works as a fruit picker in the summer and has camped in the bush for the past two winters, said up until a few months ago he had been living in a motel until the manger told him his rent was going from $750 to $1,400 a month.

He and his dog, Bridget, now spend their nights camped at the back of the downtown BMO office building.

READ MORE: City, DPA stand behind changes to Okanagan community’s Good Neighbour bylaw

Collerette’s message to council: “There needs to be more housing people can afford. There are lots of people with drug addiction problems, alcohol problems and needles everywhere, I understand that but there needs to be housing for these people before you can help them. They are not going to go away, just disappear.”

READ MORE: Penticton bakery’s patio space meant to ‘get back town square’

Collerette has his name on a waiting list so if and when a place comes available at one of the affordable housing projects he and Bridget may once again have a home.

“How long will that be?” he asked. “Will it be three months, four months? Where do we go until then?”


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Legacy Group wants City of Kelowna to rethink its downtown redevelopment plans

The plan envisions redeveloping RCMP site, Kelowna theatre, Memorial Arena and city hall parking lot

Deadline to apply for Kelowna neighbourhood grant program is quickly approaching

The grant will match up to $1,500 for community projects

Solution being found after Kelowna housing society misplaces washer and dryer unit

Shannon McDonald wanted to pay it forward with a gift, but there was a communication error

Central Okanagan superintendent outlines priorities for 2019-2020 school year

Infrastructe and program development were main themes in presentation

Lake Country man charged for killing his wife expected to enter plea

Lambertus “Bert” Westervelt was charged with second-degree murder of his wife in April

BC SPCA gala returns to Kelowna

Touchstone Law Group is one of three sponsors for the Kelowna gala

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Most Read