The situation with disturbances and unruly behaviour in downtown Campbell River is getting worse, Mayor Andy Adams said.
At a tourism Advisory Council meeting, Mayor Adams was told by Comfort Inn owner Jonathon Shade that the behaviour of people experiencing homelessness in downtown Campbell River is having a significant impact on the hotel’s business. The Comfort Inn shared reviews the hotel has received due to the disturbances in the downtown core.
The mayor also spoke to the management of the Berwick seniors complex who said that the behaviour downtown is having a significant issue on their business as well.
After investing more than $40 million into Campbell River, they are have having issues placing tenants into ground floor residences for fear of the activities that are going on right outside the patios of those residences.
“Everything from shooting up to drinking to defecation to trying to break in. Quite disturbing,” Mayor Adams said at the Sept. 6 city Committee of the Whole meeting.
Council has been wrestling with the problem of downtown disturbances for years, hearing from downtown businesses through such things as the downtown safety committee.
“Just wanted council to be aware that those conversations have continued. But they’ve also escalated,” Mayor Adams said. “And as of this morning, there is another tent down in the Roberts Reach Park. And there are significant belongings and material in the longhouse at Ostler Park that had been there for the entire weekend that are still there. On my way to City Hall this morning, there was a footprint security guard heading over in that direction. But I can say that it was an area of concern for parents taking their kids to the playground at Ostler Park throughout the weekend. And also for the tenants of Discovery Harbor that are going down to either use the commercial businesses there or get to their own personal watercraft.”
Coun. Ron Kerr said he also talked to the same businesses.
“The point I want to make is this is not new. This is not news,” Kerr said. “This has been happening for years. (The businesses) have basically given up. Things are getting worse. Absolutely. But they have been worse. For years. This is something that we have not been able to address, have not been able to take care of. It’s a blight on our downtown. And just acknowledging the fact that that it’s happening is not the answer. You know, we have to do a lot more.”
Adams said that the Comfort Inn and Berwick confirmed that the situation has “escalated to a different level than in the past.”
The mayor said that if you are reading the Vancouver Sun or the Vancouver Province or the Victoria Times-Colonist, you will see a similar escalation in communities right around the province.