Suzie Green was out running errands in Penticton Tuesday (April 6) afternoon when she noticed some unusual behaviour: a man walking towards Compass House shelter carrying a large white bucket containing what appeared to be feces.
“I just watched him lift up the bucket and start actively spreading what I thought was bark mulch, but I walked up to it when he was walking away and it was noticeable dog [expletive],” said the Summerland photographer.
The feces was spread around the front area of the shelter where people normally sit and throughout the driveway, according to Green.
When she confronted the man about his actions Green said he replied he did it because he’s “just sick of the homeless people.”
Green contacted bylaw services about the incident but was told it would be a police matter. The RCMP have since been informed of the incident.
Compass House’s operator Tony Laing confirmed that they have been in contact with the neighbouring business owner accused of throwing the poop.
“A local business owner was witnessed by a staff person dumping a bucket of “poop” on our property. We have video of the person going to and from the property with his bucket, but not the actual dumping. We are in discussion with the individual and their head office for resolution,” said Laing.
“Rhetoric on the issue of homelessness in our city has gone from public discourse to actions that are totally unacceptable. We have reached out in person to all our neighbours to mitigate the impacts of homeless persons in our neighbourhood,” said Laing.
Green noted that if the actions were in retaliation, the issue could be solved by making public washrooms more available to people experiencing homelessness.
“There needs to be a little bit more open availability for bathrooms in the community for the homeless population, otherwise what are they supposed to do?” she said.
“I know it’s frustrating but there needs to be more services available.”
Laing agrees. He said there is a need for adequate washrooms for those not able to use the shelters.
“The homeless population in Penticton is bigger than the shelters currently can handle, with 74 beds that are full every night,” he said.
”But the shelter residents aren’t the ones committing crimes at night as they are inside by 11 p.m. every night,” he added.