Keremeos’ perennial issues with transients appears to be a topic of contention amongst village residents during recent weeks.
Last week, village resident Ted Douglas was seeking names for a petition to be presented to council, requesting the village deal with transients inhabiting the east end of Veterans Avenue and the Burlington Northern rail trail bed. By Thursday afternoon, June 26, he had collected 60 signatures.
Douglas feels the transients are in the wrong part of the village, too close to the skateboard park, which has become a popular spot for the community’s teens in the wake of the teachers strike. He is also dismayed by the garbage left behind by the campers, their lack of proper toilet facilities and their sometimes uncouth language.
“I just wish the village would stop and take a look at things from the point of view of the residents,” Douglas said.
“We as taxpayers are not responsible for subsidizing farmers and employers of the transients. I can’t understand how people can put their head in the sand about this.”
Chief Administrative Officer for Keremeos, Laurie Taylor, sympathized with Douglas’ and other residents feelings, noting the village had been receiving complaints, both in person and by email.
“I have spoken to Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure personnel about the problem,” she said, “it’s their property, so we would need their authority before we could enforce anything.”
Taylor hoped to set up a meeting early in July between the ministry, RCMP and the village to discuss the problem. However, she was unsure a solution would be found.
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” she admitted, pointing out the issue was an annual one, and there were no simple solutions at hand.
“The problem is perhaps more noticeable this year, since access to the trail beyond the dike was cut off,” she said. “In our discussions with the ministry and the RCMP we’ll have a brainstorming session – maybe something will come out of that.”
A member of the Keremeos RCMP, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Review the detachment has not received an increase in complaints about transients this year.
“In the dealings I’ve had with them, I’ve found them to be, for the most part, respectful and law-abiding,” he said.