A downtown residence was served an eviction notice Friday morning.
It was the second served last week under Yukon’s recently enacted Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act. The territory’s SCAN office has been open for six weeks.
The Yukon government, in co-operation with the property’s landlord, is ousting the tenants for their alleged connection to illegal drugs.
The Justice department is not releasing the names of the tenants being evicted, or the controlled substance allegedly being produced, used or sold in the residence.
Under the federal Controlled Drug and Substances Act, it could be anything from pot to amphetamines to cocaine.
“We’re happy to see the legislation is working,” Downtown Residents’ Association president John Pattimore said on Monday.
Frustrated with the disturbances caused by drug houses in the downtown area, the association has supported the safer communities legislation since its inception.
“We’ve been loud and clear in Whitehorse and even throughout the rest of the Yukon — we don’t want drug dealers, prostitutes or bootleggers in our community. Period.”
Although the legislation could be seen as “radical” or “controversial,” it doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional or “unduly harsh,” he said.
“What about all the people who have been damaged by drug use in the community?” said Pattimore, who has seen many cars moving along some downtown streets and making quick stops at certain houses.
“They must have done something wrong or else they wouldn’t have been investigated by the SCAN investigators and they wouldn’t find themselves evicted.
“On the other hand, nobody deserves to freeze to death,” he said.
“They should get some help, but they shouldn’t be taking precedence over someone who is just down on their luck.
“Who should take precedence on getting social service help — the criminal or the person on the street who’s struggling with a problem?
“So we should think along those lines before we complain about the brutality of this legislation.”
SCAN is triggered when a neighbour makes a confidential complaint to Justice department investigators.
Then investigators stake out the property to see if the illegal activities are habitual and if they’re adversely affecting the community.
It’s civil legislation, so investigators only need to be convinced illegal activity is probably happening. It’s different than what’s needed to lay a criminal charge, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Next, the department approaches the landowner to try and resolve the problem informally. If that fails, the government can apply for a community safety order to shut down the property, terminate the lease or turf out the offenders.
In this case, Justice department officials approached the landlord, who worked with them to serve the eviction notice.
Those evicted through this legislation may just move to another area, but the government will follow them and kick them out of that place also, said Pattimore.
“They’re going to get hounded at place X, place Y, place Z, until they leave, or until they quit.”