With recent events of violence and a sense of growing public disorder, there is no doubt in my mind that Public Safety is the main issue in the minds of Nanaimo citizens. We have an increasing population of street people, and an increasing number of property crimes. This is evident in all areas of the city, but especially in the downtown. Public concern has been directed at Council, and on January 28 there was a Nanaimo Safety Rally held in the parking lot near Dairy Queen at Country Club Mall. Organized by the Newcastle Community Association, 150-200 people showed up to vent frustrations and demand action for improved safety in the community. I was there, along with Councillor Perrino and Mayor Krog.
I want to thank those who organized or attended. Your concerns are valid and I share them. A major frustration is that solutions are beyond the jurisdiction and resources of the City. We have hired more police and safety officers. But many of those responsible for the disorder suffer from serious mental health and addiction problems. Some may belong in jail, but the justice system puts them back on the street. Most of them belong in secure, involuntary treatment centres. Instead, the provincial government gives them free drugs to perpetuate their self-destructive lifestyle. And the City has no control over the court system or the provincial health care system. All we can do to urge the senior governments to take alternate actions to deal with a problem which is getting worse by the week. Mayor Krog has been a vocal leader is advocating for secure care facilities. If you agree, please support him in contacting provincial government representatives to voice your thoughts. Contact information is available from the Mayor's office at City Hall.