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

Reuben Forsland in his East Sooke studio with the guitar he crafted from hemp wood that he hopes will start a conversation about sustainability. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
East Sooke artisan strikes a chord with custom guitars

Guitars include wood from Hendrix childhood home in Seattle

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

A man accused of choking a 15-year-old in his tent in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night has been arrested by Victoria police. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man accused of choking, sexually exploiting 15-year-old in Victoria tent arrested

Police arrested the 38-year-old in Beacon Hill Park Wednesday afternoon

Leon the squirrel gets a fancy snack of almonds and sunflower seeds from a well-meaning local, who really should be leaving Leon to his own foraging devices. (Submitted)
Squirrels don’t need your nuts, thanks

Consider birding instead of wildlife feeding, SPCA suggests

Island Health has extended an overdose advisory for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health extends overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The extension warns of an increase in opioid and stimulant overdoses in the region

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Most Read