A wave of inappropriate behaviour at the Community Centre and other downtown public buildings has drawn the concern of city officials.
It’s also prompted the city to look at a new set of rules and punishments for unruly actions.
Elle Brovold, the city’s property manager, said city staff have witnessed the consumption of drugs and alcohol inside the facilities, people sleeping in chairs and the hallways, as well as aggressive behaviour towards other facility patrons and staff.
“As with all of our buildings that are open and accessible to members of the public, we have seen some of these inappropriate behaviours happening at the Community Centre,” Brovold said.
In response, city staff last year established a joint risk management committee to address growing concerns at the Community Centre and other facilities.
The committee has been looking at finding ways to put an end to such incidents and at the same time, promote and increase safety for staff and patrons.
Brovold said a number of the committee’s suggestions have already been implemented at the Community Centre including: reconfiguration of the furniture in the entryway, reconfiguration of the front counter attendant and staff training in conflict resolution and mental illness.
But, Brovold said, the committee realized something more was needed in order to provide a consistent approach to how staff deal with inappropriate behaviours and incidents. As a solution, the city has recently drafted a Code of Conduct Policy which was endorsed by city council at a Committee of the Whole meeting last week.
“We hope that the Code of Conduct provides some consistency in how these behaviours are handled so that people know that behaviours that are not allowed at the Community Centre (i.e. sleeping in chairs/hallways) are also not permitted in our other buildings, like the library,” Brovold said. “We don’t want to be moving these behaviours out of our Community Centre and into our library.”
Brovold added that the policy is aimed at reducing the amount of unsafe behaviour and provide safe city programs and services.
“The policy is intended to be a guiding document to clearly define which behaviours are not considered acceptable and provide an outline for how these behaviours will be handled in a consistent fashion,” she said.
The policy prohibits individuals and/or groups at city facilities from using profanity or indecent, insulting or demeaning language, including verbal abuse, insults, put-downs or name calling; disorderly, disruptive or threatening behaviour; throwing items in a deliberate or aggressive manner; lewd, sexual, indecent or offensive conduct; and use of a cellphone or other electronic device for recording in the change rooms or restrooms or in a manner that disturbs city facility users, to name just a few.
Anyone in breach of the new rules is subject to a ban from all city facilities for up to one year.
Complete list of banned behaviours in the Code of Conduct Policy
- Violent conduct including assaults or fighting and attempts to goad or incite violence in others
- Display of abusive or offensive materials, words or images
- Possess any weapon, with or without a permit
- Possess or deposit bio-hazardous substances or articles
- Possess or use drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance or be under the influence of such substances while at the city facility
- Possess or deposit drug related paraphernalia
- Smokes or uses tobacco (in any form)
- Sleeping, camping or placing of sleeping or camping equipment or effects
- Damages or defaces property including placing graffiti
- Play audio equipment at a volume that disturbs others
- Engaging in horseplay, causing unsafe conditions, or engaging in conduct that endangers self or others
- In-line skating/skateboarding/cycling/riding scooter, except where permitted at specific facilities
- Blocking corridors, thoroughfares, stairways, doorways or exits
- Uses restroom for purpose or use for which it was not intended and can include bathing, shaving or washing clothes