Survey data details North Shore safety concerns

By Jill Sperling
September 26, 2017 - 4:45pm Updated: September 26, 2017 - 5:24pm

KAMLOOPS — The results of surveys put out to North Shore businesses and customers this summer were made public today (Sep. 26). 

The North Shore Business Improvement Association asked participants to answer a number of questions about safety concerns. 

Nearly 140 businesses, and almost 1,000 consumers took part in the Safe Street Surveys. 

Businesses like Totem City Motors are fed up with an increase in perceived transiency, vandalism, and drug activity. 

"We've witnessed other people just on the side here in the back of me in the grass passed out with needles in their arms, we're finding needles all over the car lot, and the cleaning pads that they give out," said Sales Manager Ryan Borowski. 

Totem City Motors is located at the south end of the Tranquille Market Corridor, an area experiencing a spike in street level problems. 

"What the good news is, is this isn't a North Shore problem," NSBIA Executive Director Steven Puhallo said. "Your tighter commercial areas is where it's happening. We saw it in the downtown. What we saw for our part as the North Shore Business Association is really it's the south end of Tranquille Market that got hit the worst over the summer."

More than 76 per cent of survey respondents were from the Tranquille Market Corridor, and the majority of responses noted an increase in the homeless transient population and problems with loitering and drug use around their businesses. 

The consumer survey noted similar issues.

"We found that the businesses, when we talked to the ones in Brocklehurst, 8th Street, 12th Street, Fortune, North Hills Centre, they didn't see a big increase," Puhallo said. "They didn't see a big surge like we saw in the south part of the Tranquille Market area. And then talking to our consumers they echoed that really closely, which we found really interesting, but they also added the transit exchange at the north end of Northills Centre as one that our businesses didn't determine."

84 per cent of consumer respondents said they had felt unsafe going to a business in the trouble area. 

Just up the street, the owner of Red Beard Cafe says it has been a pleasant summer. 

"This is the best year we've ever had in terms of, yeah, there have been transient people around but we haven't seen any of the problems associated with that," Mitchell Forgie said. "We've seen aggressive panhandling in the past, but we haven't seen that this year."

While others have blamed the services of ASK Wellness for an increase in North Shore problems, Forgie feels his business benefits from the close proximity. 

"I think that, personally, having them right there is a great resource, because they sort of manage and create respect amongst everything that's going on in the neighbourhood."

The NSBIA has already begun working with service and enforcement partners, and the city to find solutions. 

"The North Shore is a great place to live, work, and play," Puhallo said. "We do have that one trouble spot that happened over the summer, and now we're dealing with it."

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