Kentville mayor wants police to take corrective action to address loitering

Wendy Elliott
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A lone commissionaire stands on duty outside the TD Canada Trust building on Webster Street in Kentville to deter loiterers. 

He’s 25, but he looks younger. The lone loiterer leaning against Lawton’s Drugs on Main Street has encountered law enforcement before.

“The commissionaire and the police, yeah, they threatened me with jail.”

On a sunny weekday afternoon, there is no sign Kentville has a loitering problem. That same day, however, Mayor David Corkum called on the town’s police service to target downtown loiterers.

Deputy Mayor Mark Pearl read a letter on June 24 to the police commission asking police to enforce Kentville’s existing bylaws around smoke-free places, idle-free parking and animal control.

The mayor’s letter stated that public awareness campaigns have not worked and fears about community safety and business retention seem to have reached a high point.

Corkum said that while “council and senior staff appreciate diversity, peace and good order. Related to the issue, balance must be found. The correct balance is not being applied.”

A commissionaire, hired by the TD Bank, appears to have all but eliminated loitering in that area of Webster Street, he said.

Police commission chair Coun. Nola Folker-Hill responded by asking Pearl if the mayor was giving operational direction.

Pearl said that Corkum was not directing the police to take action, but voicing “concerns, asking staff to take corrective action any way they see fit, as long as the goal is accomplished.”

Police Chief Mark Mander said the town should engage in gathering a community, social-economic and holistic perspective on the issue, “not just an enforcement strategy. Why fine people who cannot afford fines?”

The chief said he would prefer examine ”all the components together. Going back to the 1880s, this has been going on, and it calls for a multifaceted approach.”

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Recent comments

  • Peter Barteaux
    July 01, 2014 - 18:12

    Lol I think the towns mayoe has way to much time on his hands worrying about a lone person thats hanging around town, maybe he should use his time trying to bring people to settle in his and and keep the young people from leaving as a person that lived in kentville and the valley in Genral it's not hard to see why one would hang around town what the heck else can you do high unemployment no programs in place to help people advance in there life or gain skills. Mr Mayor why don't you stop warming the chair you sit in and go talk to this young person and see if there is anything you can do to help him.

  • John Doe
    June 29, 2014 - 11:23

    I am for one glad that they are addressing this matter. I do an almost daily walk through town and around the square often maneuvering around these loiterers that are too lazy to get out of their own way. Most times its through a cloud a cigarette smoke (isn't there laws for that?). If anything its an eyesore. Your probably thinking that I should walk elsewhere but I am a tax paying citizen (with a job) who often supports the business on my way through. Why are these people not working? Why is EI not coming after them? Why do these local farms have to hire foreign employees to work instead of these people? Oh right read the above..... They're lazy!!

    • Concerned Citizen
      July 02, 2014 - 18:22

      Dear John, I'm sorry to inform you that giving someone who's in poverty and can't afford housing or a vehicle a ticket for smoking or loitering isn't an overly effective enforcement strategy since many of these people lack the financial standing to afford food let alone pay a ticket, they'll be back there tomorrow and the day after. The solution is a social safety net, that provides programming for mental health, retraining or further education to help these people do better for themselves and ultimately society. Sweeping them under a rug where no one has to see them because its inconvenient to you or "unsightly". It's unfortunate that their tattered clothes and appearance makes you feel uncomfortable, before you criticize these people, try walking a mile in their shoes, chances are they didn't grow up wanting to be in the streets of Kentvile, they probably had dreams like you or I and something at some point in life went wrong. Maybe instead of thumbing your nose at them you should try talking to them and finding out more about them.

  • Anonymous
    June 28, 2014 - 09:37

    This is absolutely absurd. In all seriousness, does the Mayor and Town of Kentville have nothing better to worry about than some typical loitering that naturally occurs in any town? Mayor Corkum is quite frankly making a fool of himself by publicans voicing his concern for such a minor issue. I think it's time for some serious prioritization to happen in council chambers.

    • joe ross
      June 29, 2014 - 06:33

      And he(mayor) is one of the appointments to the Ivany Commission ................doesn't look good for the future when someone who can't run a nickle and dime town will now be giving advice on how to run the whole province................time to get out and head west.............north,south,east....anywhere but here

    • Bill Boyd
      June 29, 2014 - 19:50

      And don't forget chair of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, etc, etc.. It's easy to be elsewhere working on the abstract, gathering titles and hob-nobbing with the great and good of the province than rolling up your arm sleeves and getting on the job you were elected to do (or not). Like shaking up an adminstration that's not by any measure adequately serving the people of Kentville.

  • Anonymous
    June 28, 2014 - 09:35

    This is absolutely absurd. In all seriousness, does the Mayor and Town of Kentville have nothing better to worry about than some typical loitering that naturally occurs in any town? Mayor Corkum is quite frankly making a fool of himself by publicans voicing his concern for such a minor issue. I think it's time for some serious prioritization to happen in council chambers.

  • george
    June 27, 2014 - 23:11

    the loiterers aren't hurting anyone and should be allowed to be where they want. I am not concerned over them, let them be

  • ConcernedInKentville
    June 27, 2014 - 14:50

    wow another slam dunk by Corkum. He's on a roll!!!! I'll be calling him at home.

  • george butler
    June 27, 2014 - 11:05

    I agree with chief mander on this one . the mayors need to shake his head .he don't what the youth in kentville anyway s if you don't wear a shirt and tie you don't fit in his class there has to be a happy medium for every one and has for cutting police jobs is nuts with the drug problem in kentville get the town to cut jobs where you have people getting payed for 8 hours a day and only work 4 there where the cuts should be not the police dept

  • Simon
    June 27, 2014 - 10:49

    Time to start making calls to Corkum and complain. Call him at home and office! Numbers are in the phone book. Let's go!

  • Brent O'Connor
    June 27, 2014 - 10:43

    The mayor and council needs to spend some time talking with those they call loiterers and get an understanding of how they can assist these citizens of Kentville. It seems our Chief Mander has a good understanding, too bad that leaders aren't taking the counsel of experienced staff. I am downtown on foot most every other day, and have never, ever felt uncomfortable with any of the groups gathered in town.

  • Kimberly Bush
    June 27, 2014 - 08:28

    are you kidding me? so now we will hear the grumbling of the police... they are facing cutbacks and now another ' issue' for them to handle .... perfect timing I say .... smdh