'Citizens don't want to go downtown anymore': Nanaimo to invest $400K to improve downtown security
Published Thursday, April 15, 2021 5:36PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, April 15, 2021 5:41PM PDT
NANAIMO -- Nanaimo city council has passed a motion to spend $400,000 to improve security within its downtown core to deal with an increase of people that are dealing with mental health and addiction issues.
“We have a significant problem on our streets in Nanaimo,” Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog told CTV News Thursday.
The decision was made at Wednesday’s finance and audit committee meeting, and also includes an additional $50,000 to be used on hiring a consultant who will create a public safety action plan.
Several businesses and people living in the downtown area have expressed concerns to council over the increase in conflicts, and say it’s having a significant impact on the downtown core.
“Citizens don’t want to go downtown anymore,” said the mayor. “We cannot let our downtown be turned into a warzone like the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.”
It’s unclear how the money will be spent on security, but the mayor says it will essentially mean more boots on the ground.
Krog also emphasized that this is just a band-aid solution and that the long-term solution will be continued housing programs from the province.
He would also like to see a move towards the provision of complex care facilities for people dealing with mental health and addiction problems, which is something the mayor has been advocating for since taking office.