On Tuesday, the District of West Kelowna council unanimously voted to review Kelowna’s current bylaws regarding fighting, graffiti, possession of drug paraphernalia and smoking for consideration of adoption.
Coun. Rosalind Neis brought forward the motion after witnessing instances of drug use in the community throughout the past month.
“What really brought this to my attention was, three Fridays ago, we had a meeting with regard to some road issues around schools. As I left the meeting there were two young gentlemen outside our doors smoking marijuana,” said Neis. “I said to these young lads, ‘OK guys, this is not the place or time. Take it home, move along.’”
According to Neis the young men walked about 100 feet away and continued to smoke.
Earlier that week, Neis observed another instance of potentially illegal activity. “Three days prior to that, I was driving and I saw two young gals between tennis courts with some sort of straw device, putting something up their nostrils. I was absolutely shocked to see that. I don’t know what they were doing, but it wasn’t good.”
With the knowledge that West Kelowna council recently endorsed the idea of implementing a school police liaison officer, Neis then spoke to Const. Cheryl McKinnon, a Kelowna RCMP school liaison officer, about the best way to help the new officer deal with these issues.
“The advice from Const. McKinnon was that it’s really good that we’ve got this police liaison position coming up, but if (he/she doesn’t) have any authority to deal with these situations, (he/she is) going to be hand-tied,” said Neis.
McKinnon told Neis that the City of Kelowna has bylaws that assist the liaison officer in his/her duties.
“We don’t want to be throwing 15, 16 or 17-year-olds in jail, but if they’re given a fine that their parents will have to pay…when it’s hitting their (parents’) pocketbook, these kids are going to have to step it up.”