Dear Editor:

Has Kelowna’s mayor become oblivious to public concerns? Why does he add insult to injury  when he addresses the electorate with “let-them-eat-cake” outbursts?

Problems of the homeless, the drug addicted and the mentally ill are major difficulties without ready solution. But the mayor’s “my- way-or- the- highway” approach reflects a blindness to reason.

The mayor and some normally-sane councillors belittle the valid concerns of citizens over the promulgation of drug “wet houses” in residential and commercial centres. One councillor has even misconstrued concerns by commenting; “putting a bullet in the brain of all druggies does nothing to enhance debate.”

These responses from our glorious leaders are counterproductive.

The public outcry against wet houses does not come out of spite for those with a drug problem. Quite the contrary. The concerns that I’ve heard are valid and well reasoned. They centre on the fact that those with a drug illness include many with mental illness and deserve proper care and assistance to recover.

The major concerns of our citizens reflect the documented experiences of our community. The wishful thinking of well-meaning planners must be tempered by reality.

Realistic concerns include;  

1. Druggies are humans down on their luck, with basic care needs. Where these care needs can be met without increased risk to society, conscience dictates that these needs should be met.   

2. Those seeking treatment deserve better access to treatment facilities. Druggies with no interest in recovery constitute a major threat to our community and should not be aided and abetted in continuation of a high risk lifestyle.

3. The homeless without severe mental illness or addiction problems should have priority with housing needs, uncontaminated by the behaviour of druggies.

5. Those refusing treatment should only be provided housing that is securely supervised, and away from residential and urban centres.

Unfortunately, the record of drug house residents in our community has been dismal; it is one of high crime, erratic behaviour, with poor supervision and ineffective security. Several are known drug distribution centres, a haven for pushers. 

Police records show wet houses to be centres of 24/7 problems. They result in social displacement with a negative downgrading of neighbourhoods.

No one should fault our leaders for “hoping for the best” in matters of policy. However, not to “plan for the worst” is negligent leadership of the highest order. Are we being forced to become unwilling enablers, or aiders and abettors in a badly flawed policy? Are our glorious leaders victimizing the whole community in attempts to help a few?

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