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Williams Lake explores possibility of downtown clean team for drug paraphernalia, human waste

Coincidently Downtown BIA also researching the idea
Garbage in between two buildings in downtown Williams Lake Wednesday, June 7, 2023. The city is looking at the idea of forming a clean team that would clean up areas where people are using drugs. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Council has tasked staff to prepare a report on the costs and logistics associated with creating a clean team for the city of Williams Lake that would deal with litter such as drug paraphernalia and human waste.

Coun. Sheila Boehm made a motion at the regular meeting Tuesday, June 6, saying she would like to see what other cities are doing and the funding models for their programs.Council voted unanimously in favour.

Downtown Williams Lake BIA executive director Sherry Yonkman is in the early stages of seeing if she could create a clean team as well.

She happened to be present at the council meeting so Mayor Surinderpal Rathor invited her to the microphone to share her ideas.

“It is very much in the early stages, but the structure is to model after what larger centres have done,” Yonkman said.

Suggesting the clean team could go out four mornings a week to pick up needles and garbage, she said they could also help with graffiti. The team’s efforts would be within the BIA’s parameters and what they would be permitted to clean up when businesses call for help.

“I don’t have a budget or projections, I have just research I’ve done so far,” she said, adding she has spoke with RCMP Sgt. Josh Smith and met with Krista Harvey, club manager at BGC Williams Lake, who had some suggestions.

Boehm said she would still like a report from staff and said the BIA should be included in the discussions.

Coun. Joan Flaspohler said she has seen a bit of information that some of the other communities give opportunities to individuals that are trying to get off the streets to be part of the clean team.

READ MORE: ‘Without this shelter I would have been sleeping in my car’ – Williams Lake woman who stayed in temporary shelter

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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