A debate is raging in Terrace that may have some resonance in our city for some, the question of public drunkenness and uncivil behaviour.
It’s been a concern of some in Prince Rupert who have raised the issues of public drunkenness, vandalism and anti social behavior here on the local bulletin board htmf and in the coffee shops of the city.
In Terrace it seems the problem is much the same if not worse, according to one local councillor there. Councillor Marylin Davies is quoted in a front page story in the Terrace Standard that those that there should be standards set for public behavior and that those that “cannot meet them, should leave town.”
We’re not sure how easy it would be to banish the people that continue to wander the streets in a stupor, somewhere we’re sure is a civil rights lawyer that will argue that mobility rights dictate that you can’t be banned from a community. But the argument does go to show how prevalent the problem seems to have become. And how some answers are needed to what seems to be a growing a community problem across the Northwest.
There will no doubt be many in Prince Rupert who will read the accounts of Davies' recent tour of her city and see a reflection of this one in her words and her ideas.
Councillor calls out public drunks
The Terrace Standard
Sep 05 2007
CITY COUNCILLOR Marylin Davies says something needs to be done about public drunkenness.
She favours setting standards for public behaviour and if people cannot meet them, they should leave town.
“I’m not talking about the homeless or low income people you might see. What I’m talking about are the incorrigible alcoholics,” said Davies last week after a ride-along with the RCMP.
“What we have to do is set standards and if people don’t want to accept them, no problem. Move along,” said Davies.
“When it comes to alcoholics, I’m not very charitable. I’m sorry.”
Davies said she and other municipal councillors have discussed the problem but not in a formal, public and organized fashion.
The problem, said Davies, is that the behaviour of public drinkers affects others who want to enjoy themselves in public spaces.
And the spectre of public drunks provides people thinking of moving to Terrace with a bad enough impression that they might strike the city off the list as a place in which to invest and live, Davies added.
A good portion of the problems tied to public intoxication take place in and around George Little Park.
When it comes to activity in George Little Park, Davies said it’s not uncommon for librarians to phone the police because of what’s going on there.
Just two weeks ago, she said she was passing by the bandshell at the park and noticed two people fornicating.
“It was about 4 p.m. and on the stage, actually on the edge of the stage.”
“If you want to do that, go into the bushes, that’s fine, but not out in public,” she said.
The councillor said officers are so busy as it is, they might not be able to respond quickly to what she calls “irritating crime.”
What Davies now wants is for anybody with an idea of what could be done to contact city council.
“It might be they’ve read a report about something, or have come across something that could trigger something else that might work,” she said.
“They can call city hall, they can call me, they can contact the city’s talk-back line. We want to hear from them.”
The councillor’s comments take in other public order matters.
Davies is also researching initiatives in Vernon which address public order in that they give authority to the city to cut off utilities to crack houses.
Her RCMP ride-along last week is an annual event inasmuch as the city pays for a substantial portion of the RCMP budget here.
“I also think it’s important we support them. Too often they’re the first to get blamed when something goes wrong,” Davies said.
“I think we’d all be amazed with what they do out there.”