Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise
Coun. Paul Lasseter was told his city was going to be the first in Canada to have a “no camp” policy, during a meeting with police Chief Mark Saunders.
In a meeting held after the winter of last year, Saunders told council his department and the city were working on a no-camp plan.
Lasseter was skeptical of the plan. “I felt I wasn’t going to be able to make the city a no camp city,” Lasseter said.
Lasseter, who has been an outspoken critic of the West Linton camp, said he believes the police chief made up information, without bothering to ask Lasseter for his input.
“I felt I wasn’t going to be able to make the city a no camp city,” Lasseter said. “I had a lot of issues with the West Linton camp and a lot of issues with how they were acting in the community.”
Police Chief Mark Saunders insists the no-camp idea is real. In an interview this week, he says it’s “the best policy we have and the right policy.”
“It’s not a policy that says we can’t go out and arrest somebody if we think they’re doing something illegal. It’s an idea that we’re going to have people in the city who’ve gotten housing, who have a good employment situation and are going to move into the city,” Saunders said.
The idea — first proposed by councillor Jack Deighton, who Lasseter had clashed with in 2014 — would see private residences, as many as 60,000 people, placed under the same restrictions as other city-owned buildings.
If they were found to be in violation, an officer would visit the residence to determine if people inside were homeless. The officer would then make a decision on