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Couples finding paradise by the dashboard light inside Thompson’s derelict vehicles, committee hears

‘They’re having sex in those vehicles,’ councillor says during plea for targeted bylaw crackdown.
derelict vehicle David C Tomlinson getty images
A stock photo of a derelict vehicle, which are being used in Thompson as substitute bedrooms, according to a city councillor who spoke at the recreation and community services meeting Sept. 21.

The issue of derelict vehicles and what goes on inside them was fodder for discussion at the first recreation and community services committee since June on Sept. 21.

Observing that only 13 tickets have been handed out for derelict vehicles this year, less than at the same point of 2020, Coun. Les Ellsworth was incredulous.

“I can go on one street – one street – in the trailer court and there’ll be more than 13,” he said, suggesting that the city needs to focus on a single type of bylaw infraction at a time instead of using a scatter gun approach. “Can we agree as this committee to take one month and focus on derelict vehicles in Thompson and let’s see if we can get some of that cleaned up?”

Carol Taylor said that a schedule was made with the former bylaw inspector to take that sort of approach, but she has now left the job and the position is vacant.

“She felt that the derelict vehicles were going to probably take two months because you’re right, there are a lot of them,” Taylor said.

Ellsworth said the vehicles aren’t just an eyesore but are being used for purposes they were not intended for.

“People are sleeping in them,” he said. “They’re having sex in those vehicles just next door to people’s property. It’s not just about the derelict vehicles, what’s going on in the derelict vehicles. It’s frustrating for our taxpayers. It’s frustrating for us as a council.”

He suggested that perhaps the city needs three or four bylaw officers.

“You don’t have the resources to do the job,” Ellsworth said of the city staff. “There’s areas of our city that have got to get cleaned up. If you don’t do nothing, it just gets worse.”

Committee chair Coun. Braden McMurdo asked city administration to begin a campaign against derelict vehicles when the bylaw inspector position is filled

“Increasing the complement would be a budget discussion but I’m certainly open to it because I think Les has made a number of really good points.”