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 installing a sharps container 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 outside of the downtown core, 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 core, 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 our website.
- 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 www.kamloops.ca/ca or call 250-828-3582.
Corporate Services and Community Safety Director
City of Kamloops