Mayor John Vassilaki (File)

Mayor John Vassilaki (File)

Penticton mayor backpedals comments about making people with mental illness ‘normal’

“I didn’t mean it to come out the way people take it” says John Vassilaki

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said he didn’t mean to degrade anyone with his comments about making people ‘somewhat normal’ again.

The mayor’s comment came out during March 16’s heated meeting when council once again rejected BC Housing’s request to extend the Victory Church shelter’s temporary permit past March 31.

The mayor’s comment instantly caused a firestorm of criticism through social media, some calling on the mayor to resign.

The mayor has not tried to clarify his comments until this Tuesday when a Penticton reporter asked him if he’d like to speak on those comments.

During the discussion of the extension, Vassilaki said it was going to cost BC Housing $1.7 million to run the Victory Church shelter for 12 months.

That would be around $40,000 per person living in that shelter which has 42 beds.

“If they’re going to take this $40,000 per resident and put it into a Riverview, just think how much good they could do with those folks. Maybe they could get rid of their addictions and mental health issues and make them somewhat normal,” Vassilaki said during that metting.

On Tuesday, the Mayor offered his regrets for the words that he used.

“I didn’t mean it to come out the way people take it. Sometimes when you are in a meeting, and you are speaking you don’t have time to think of what word to use. Sometimes a not politically correct word comes out and that’s what happened in this case,” he said in Tuesday’s special meeting on the shelter.

“I didn’t mean harm to anyone or to degrade or belittle anyone whatsoever,” said Vassilaki.

“I’m not like that and I never will be.”

READ MORE: Penticton council holds closed meeting

READ MORE: Penticton council unanimously rejects Victory Church shelter extension a second time

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

mental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Your old lawnmower is an environmental disaster. (courtesy photo)
The perfect lawn is pretty hard on the planet

According the government of Canada, an older mower running for an hour can produce as much air pollution as a new car driving 550 kilometres.

File photo
Princeton fees and services set to increase by three per cent

Fees and charges provide the municipality with $1.515 million annually

(Stock photo)
Snow levels above normal in Okanagan

Spring temperatures, rainfall will affect risk of flooding

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read