City working with agencies to deal with concern about drugs, other issues

By Doug Collins
September 18, 2017 - 6:51am

KAMLOOPS — Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh says the City is working with a number of partners to try and ease concerns from businesses and residents about issues ranging from panhandling to drug use on city streets.

The City issued a news release saying they are working on a number of strategies.

Singh says they are working on issues around temporary shelters, nuisance behaviour, panhandling and drug use. He says they are working with the RCMP, Interior Health, not-for-profit agencies and various community associations.

He says the crisis will be a key topic at the UBCM convention next week.

Singh says the city needs to find effective, balanced and compassionate solutions to the problems. 

North Shore businesses and residents have been complaining recently about the increased problems in the area around the Tranquille Corridor, but the problem is not limited to that region by any stretch.

There are issues in virtually every corner of the City, and virtually every community is facing the issue.

That's why Singh says it's critical to get the discussion going on a wider scale, and that's what they're hoping to do at the UBCM.  You can read the complete City news release BELOW:

 

City of Kamloops | Press Release

 

City of Kamloops Working with Partners to Address Community Concerns

Kamloops, BC – The City of Kamloops would like to acknowledge citizen inquiries concerning various social and safety issues throughout the city, including visible drug use, discarded needles, homelessness, and aggressive nuisance behaviours. The combination of these concerns is leading to a feeling of unease, with some residents feeling unsafe in our community.

The problem our community is facing is an evolving crisis that is being felt across the province and country. The complexity of these issues requires long-term investment and a community response; they cannot be solved in one day, or even one year. The response is not one organization’s responsibility.
Over the past 14 months, the City of Kamloops and our community partners have been working collaboratively to provide a balanced response that includes a model of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and enforcement.

Collaborative initiatives include:

Regular multi-stakeholder meetings focusing on increasing knowledge and building solutions
RCMP, Bylaw Enforcement, ASK Wellness, and Interior Health regularly working together to better understand street issues and coordinate a collective response
Mental Health First Aid training for City Bylaw Officers to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues so they can offer assistance when needed
Installing additional sharps bins throughout the community
The City’s partnership with BC Housing to continue working together towards increasing affordable housing units in Kamloops

Quote from Deputy Mayor Singh:
“Together with our community partners, we are working on issues around temporary shelters, nuisance behaviour, panhandling, and drug use, among others. Because there is no single approach to solving these issues, we are working with multiple partners, including representatives from the RCMP, Interior Health, not-for-profit agencies, and the general public, including community associations.”

We recognize that despite these efforts, these issues continue in our community. This crisis will be one of the key topics of discussion at the Union of BC Municipalities 2017 Convention at the end of September. City representatives will meet with provincial leadership and representatives from other municipalities to share and learn from each other.

Going forward, the City will coordinate community outreach and engagement meetings to enable citizens to help formulate an effective community response to these issues. We must work together to build effective, balanced, and compassionate solutions to address many of the issues our community currently faces.
 
Resources for Residents:

If you are interested in having a sharps container installed at your business or in your neighbourhood, please contact ASK Wellness via phone or text at 778-257-1292 or email ODP433@askwellness.ca 
If you find discarded needles or other drug paraphernalia anywhere in the city, please contact ASK Wellness via phone or text at 778-257-1292 or email ODP433@askwellness.ca
If you find discarded needles or other drug-related materials in the downtown area, you can call the CAP team at 250-572-3009.
If you are interested in learning about the Block Watch or Crime Prevention Programs available, visit www.kamloops.ca/crimeprevention or call 250-571-3862.
To learn how to dispose of needles safely, and learn about services available to at-risk youth in our community, visit http://www.kamloops.ca/socialdevelopment/needledisposal.shtml.
To learn about services available to at-risk youth in our community, visit http://bit.ly/youthservicesmap.
To learn more about ASK Wellness Society and the services it provides, visit www.askwellness.ca.
If you are interested in joining or starting a community association, visit http://www.kamloops.ca/socialdevelopment/communityassociations.shtml or call 250-828-3582.

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