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

Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley City mayor urges people to stick to health order rules

Stay strong and support local businesses, says van den Broek

A classic Porsche Speedster replica caught fire on a Langley road around 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Darren Carlson/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Porsche replica car catches fire on Langley road

Township firefighters responded to the incident on Saturday evening

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives. (Photo: flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Local agency given more bucks to combat anti-racism

Langley Community Services one of 36 organizations given added funds

Langley Township council passed a tree protection bylaw in 2019, but one resident says the municipality does not do enough to preserve valuable trees. (Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley Township fails to protect enough trees, writer says

Resident said community should not cut trees then find man-made solutions to mitigate climate impact

The Langley School District has issued another COVID-19 notification for Peter Ewart Middle School. (Langley Schools)
Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read