Be thankful for, not critical of commissionaires

If I may, I would like to educate him about the bylaw officers.

Be thankful for, not critical of commissionaires

Re: “Hot dogs and paving”, (Citizen, Feb. 21)

I have to agree with at least half of what Mr. Sawchuk said in his letter on Feb. 21. The panhandling irritates me considerably. I have no idea about St. Julian Street, never having had the opportunity to visit there. However, I have to take exception to his comment about the bylaw officers and Tim Hortons.

If I may, I would like to educate him about the bylaw officers. First of all, they are not employed by the City of Duncan. They are paid by the Cops of Commissionaires and employed by them only. The Corps is responsible for securing contracts and placing employees to work for that contract on a percentage basis. The commissionaires (of which there are only two) are pad a couple of dollars more than minimum wage to do the job they do. They are responsible for traffic violations, parks patrol, delivering information flyers from City Hall, and moving on panhandlers and tent encampments from within the city limits, as well as any other job they are asked by the supervisor to do. They do not carry weapons of any kind — not even pepper spray. They probably travel between three and five miles a day on foot. In all weather.

Because there are only two of them, there is a huge area that must be covered on foot every single day, and they do their best to get this done. If some issues are not attended to immediately, it’s likely because they are a mile or so from that area. They do not get coffee at Tim’s. If there might be an occasion where you will see one of them there, it’s because there is no facility at City Hall that they can call their own as a lunch room. There is one office (not three) for the supervisor. There is one care for use between the three of them.

They are verbally abused every single day for doing their job. One of them has actually been attacked. As they travel alone and are on foot, they are vulnerable to the possibility of three or four who might jump them when approached. They pick up garbage and dirty needles (with Hazmat equipment kindly and thoughtfully provided by the supervisor) on a regular basis.

I could go into more detail, but these letters are edited for length. Anyone who thinks I might be blowing smoke, let me tell you, I know firsthad of what I speak. It’s easy to be angry when you are handed a $40 parking ticket, but they don’t make the rules, they are employed to enforce them. If you think it’s any easy job, walk a mile in their shoes some day. Just for fun. Think of this: what if no rules or bylaws were ever enforced? What if there were no commissionaires? This may become a possibility in the near future. Rather than diss them for what you don’t see them doing, you should be fighting to protect their thankless jobs and give a pat on the back and a thank you for their presence once in a while.

Class dismissed

Danette Schutte

Duncan

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