North Cowichan council will be meeting privately this week to sort out how it wishes to proceed with Duncan city council in dealing with serious behaviour issues along the highway strip, according to North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.
Both communities received a report from community consultant Randy Churchill that outlined a range of actions aimed at taming the behaviour of street people who are creating difficulties for residents and business operators along and near the strip.
“(Duncan) Mayor Staples and I met earlier this week, and we agreed provisionally – subject to approval from our respective Councils – that we might phase in the recommendations by starting “small”; renting some space for a Community Safety Office and initially providing core but minimal staffing while the rest of the plan is fleshed out,” Siebring said in an email response last Friday to a Cowichan Post request for an update on the issue.
Churchill did recommend establishing a store front community office to house and co-ordinate the efforts of various agencies and municipal departments, including bylaw enforcement. Campbell River is currently implementing similar measures, with some success, after Churchill analyzed their street difficulties.
“Everyone on both Council agrees there is a “serious problem on our streets” as you put it,” Siebring wrote in his email.
“I can’t speak for Mayor Staples, but I absolutely support the essential framework on this. The report, in my opinion, strikes an essential balance between addressing the public disorder piece while acknowledging the need for continued and even increased social supports to be delivered in parallel with trying to “clean up” the behaviour in the corridor.”
Staples did not respond to a Cowichan Post email request for an update from Duncan’s perspective.
Patrick Hrushowy is a 45 year veteran of journalism, communications consulting, and business background, who just can’t stop writing.