Residents, business owners, taxpayers and neighbours really need a remedy to another tent city
The province must bring into force the Community Safety Act to provide remedy for taxpayers, residents and business owners negatively impacted by another homeless encampment beside city hall.
In 2013, in an effort to replicate the successes of Safety in Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) legislation in six other provinces and territories, B.C. passed the Community Safety Act. The Act was not immediately brought into force. Then Bill 13, the Community Safety Amendment Act (CSA), was introduced Apr. 4, 2019, and received Royal Assent on Oct. 31, 2019.
“It should be as clear to our political leaders as it is to taxpayers that once again this region is faced with a serious issue with which it is unable to cope,” Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.
“The U-turns by the Victoria council is the latest example that the city has little ability to solve regional, provincial and national crises alone. By it’s recent actions, it’s made portions of the city unsafe and unavailable to the public.”
If the pandemic had not intervened, it was expected that the Community Safety Act would be brought into force by regulation in 2020 and a phased approach would be utilized to incrementally enforce the Act.
“Taxpayers are afraid to go to city hall and Centennial Square which has become a no-go zone. Neighbours as well are afraid for their safety and worried about a negative impact on their property values. It’s bad enough there’s a pandemic and a drug crisis, many of the 1,500 downtown business owners are now having to deal with the additional burden of increased crime and lack of business because of the tent city.
“None of this right or acceptable, and city hall still hasn’t figured that out, ” says Bartlett.
SCAN legislation creates a civil remedy solution to address properties where specified criminal and nuisance activities are taking place that negatively affect a community, according to the Union of BC Municipalities.
BC legislation will allow the public to submit confidential complaints to the Director of Community Safety (appointed under the Act). The director will have the authority to send a warning letter, resolve an issue through “informal action” or, failing all else, apply to the court for a community safety order.
A community safety order can require someone to vacate a property, prohibit an individual from entering/occupying a property, terminate a lease agreement, close a property from any use or occupation (for a maximum of 90 days), or “include any other provision the court considers necessary to make the community safety order effective.”
Are you too afraid to visit your own city hall? Grumpy Taxpayers, Sept. 7, 2020.
Available for Media Interviews:
Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899