Unlike the movie, we have attracted transients, not a baseball game.
Nelson would have an excellent support system for people who genuinely need temporary help, but it has been overwhelmed by an ever-increasing number of transients. Compared to other small cities, Nelson is definitely a good place to live, especially if you don’t want to work, do not qualify for government assistance and are not ashamed to take advantage of our generosity.
We have free camping, free meals, and free accommodation — plus panhandling is legal and profitable. The solution is not to spend more on social services because the supply of transients is almost limitless. The best and most realistic way to solve our problem is to give priority to Nelson residents who need help.
Transients should only be given short-term, emergency assistance with the goal of encouraging them to return to wherever they came from or to continue on to their next destination. Cottonwood Park’s “free campground” should be shut down and a by-law passed to prohibit panhandling. The problem has increased to the point where tourists are complaining and if tourism drops Nelson is in trouble. We must encourage city hall to take action because the situation is getting worse every year.