LETTER: New parks bylaw will cause harm to unhoused residents

From reader Dylan Griffith...
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An encampment outside Nelson City Hall was torn down June 26. The tents had been pitched as a protest following the closure of a local social services hub.

RE: Nelson council lays out where and when unhoused residents may camp, July 4

First, a quick clarification: the use of drugs in public was never decriminalized, for the simple reason that it was never criminalized – the Controlled Drugs and Substances Acts prohibits possession, but says nothing about use.

As to the City of Nelson’s parks bylaw, the proposed changes do not “bring Nelson's bylaw in line with [the Supreme Court’s] decision.” They knowingly betray the intent of that decision by creating a loophole through which the City hopes to escape from its legal obligations to some of our community’s most marginalized citizens.

Not only are these changes likely to cause harm to unhoused Nelson residents, but they could end up costing all of us a hefty chunk of change should anyone decide to challenge this ill-conceived and almost certainly illegal bylaw in court.

Dylan Griffith

Nelson