Campbell River city councillors will be holding a “special meeting” August 13th, after downtown businesses surveyed said they feel the downtown is unsafe, and the alleys are filthy.
The meeting will be held from 1:00pm to 5:00pm via virtual video calling.
A survey conducted in June by the Downtown Business Association was aimed to take the pulse of downtown businesses, including how businesses were coping with reopening.
The survey results found that downtown business owners thought the area was generally clean but could be better.
However, behind businesses is another story, as the BIA says “lanes and alleys are filthy with needles, litter and human waste.”
When asked if they thought the area is safe, “only seven businesses, said unequivocally, downtown was safe.”
Concerns include theft and “aggressive behaviour by street people.”
Numerous businesses said people sleep in their doorways and on roofs, and one business owner compared downtown to a “low scale Vancouver East Side.”
Following survey results, the BIA sent a letter to Mayor Adams, council, the RCMP and the Downtown Safety Office addressing their concerns.
Though it says city bylaw enforcement staff are helpful, it adds that more of them are needed.
The BIA is also asking the city to spend more money on safety and cleanup, as well as more foot and bike patrols around the area at night.
Mayor Andy Adams says COVID-19 has changed the environment downtown because, with less businesses open, “…there are less people and less activity, which means some of the more undesirable activities are more profiled and visible.”
He says council, senior management and all city staff are equally as concerned as stakeholders and businesses.
“We are holding a special meeting with council and inviting all of the stakeholders to come and work with council as to what we can do to improve the situation and make it a safe and welcoming environment in the downtown core.”