Dale Bass likened a proposed wellness center in Rayleigh to a concentration camp. She told KTW that a “loud but small group” lobbied for treatment to be imposed on individuals, with prison the alternative
A Kamloops city councilor faces backlash after comparing a proposed wellness center in Rayleigh to a “concentration camp” on local radio last week.
Speaking to Radio NL during that station’s town hall monthly segment, Coun. Dale Bass described the proposal as a “concentration camp”.
A wellness center away from the city center for people with addiction issues was started by local business owner Reid Hamer-Jackson and implemented by Coun. Denis Walsh in a notice of motion asking staff to study the idea.
The proposed location is at the city-owned Tournament Capital Ranch location.
Hamer-Jackson’s idea stems from his multiple visits to the VisionQuest recovery center near Logan Lake.
Bass told Radio NL’s Brett Mineer that she would vote against Walsh’s motion, which will be debated at the December 14 board meeting.
“I’m supposed to be objective. I’m not at all objective about setting up a concentration camp in Rayleigh, ”Bass said on air.
“And that’s how I see it. Apparently we’re supposed to force people into this camp, force them to take classes and that never works for anyone, you know that. Take them away from easy access to the local services they need and simply put them out of sight.
Bass said some people had suggested people be rounded up and led to the proposed Rayleigh center, to be fenced in and forced to follow the rules.
“I’m sorry, that doesn’t sound human,” Bass said on air.
Darpan Sharma, who runs the Politics Kamloops Facebook page, wrote to city council complaining about Bass’s comments.
He told KTW he was “upset”. Bass likened the proposed wellness center to a concentration camp. He also took issue with Bass’s comments regarding Hamer-Jackson, owner of Tru Market Truck and Auto Sales on Victoria Street West.
Bass called Hamer-Jackson a car salesman when she said she trusted the experts in the field.
Hamer-Jackson spoke about the problems of the streets and came up with the idea for a wellness center after visiting the VisionQuest recovery center.
Bass told KTW that she was harassed by Hamer-Jackson. She said she sympathizes with the issues he has encountered, such as crime and vandalism, and said the council has tried to make improvements, but anger is often misdirected against the council.
Hamer-Jackson responded to Bass’s comments.
“I think she is very misleading,” he told KTW. “I had textual conversations with her. If the harassment is asking someone to go see a 90-acre salvage model, if it’s harassment, then I’m sorry. I harassed other people, [Coun.] Bill Sarai and others.
Sharma said it wasn’t the first time Bass had said something rude, the comments he said included social media posts.
“I don’t think she really knows what a concentration camp is if she compares this proposed facility, where people could have a chance to move on with their lives and get rid of their addiction with enveloping services,” he said. Sharma said.
“A concentration camp is a place where people are killed in an inhuman manner. If I were a Jew, I would be very, very disappointed and upset by this comparison. Six million Jews were killed in concentration camps and comparing this facility to concentration camps is highly irresponsible. “
Bass told KTW she was concerned Walsh’s notice of motion was directed at a “loud, but small group” who have been telling council for months that they don’t want to see the homeless – who , according to her, were described as “unwanted” – and for them to be transferred to Rayleigh.
Bass said the group had also pressed for treatment to be imposed on individuals, with prison being the alternative. She said that concentration camps have existed in many ways throughout history, including the residential school system in Canada. Bass said she viewed the Rayleigh proposal this way.
She said her word choice could have been better, but maintained the intention remains the same and that she will not apologize.
“No, I’m not apologizing for what I said because I believe it,” Bass said. “I can’t apologize for believing that everything in there is set off by this loud crowd. I can’t apologize after being exposed for months to such anger, dehumanizing anger.
Sharma said he was concerned not only about the unprofessionalism but also about Bass’s objection to the idea ahead of the board debate on the matter. He said speculation on how the facility might work is “baseless” and premature before a proposed study of the idea.
Bass said the proposed site in Rayleigh is not served by sewers or water, arguing it would be a waste of staff’s time to investigate something that cannot be done.
“He [Walsh] should know that, ”Bass said, adding that the land is also in the city’s plans to remain part of the sports complex, the Tournament Capital Ranch. “He should know all of this. This is another reason why I think this is all aimed at this loud crowd.
In an email response to Sharma’s complaints, Deputy Mayor Dieter Dudy raised concerns over Bass’s comments on Radio NL.
He said Bass had the right to voice his opposition to the motion and told Sharma his last word on the matter was “at the polls.”
Sharma has said he voted for Bass in the 2018 municipal election, but does not plan to vote for her again in October 2022.