The City of Kelowna supports a push by the Business Improvement Areas of BC (BIABC) for all three levels of government to deal with street issues and crime.
“We recognize there is a vulnerable population that suffers from addiction, mental health, and homelessness in this province – and there is no disputing the need for our elected leaders to address those issues as a matter of urgency,” said Teri Smith, president of BIABC in a statement. “However, there is an immediate need to advocate for small business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve that are also being drastically impacted.”
A media release from the city said that council invested 35 per cent of this year’s budget to support community safety, making it the largest single operating investment. This includes 70 safety-related positions in the last four years, including funding for 39 new RCMP positions.
Kelowna’s Community Safety Plan, released in the spring of this year, aims to reduce risk, vulnerability, and harm, by coordinating the efforts and actions of many organizations that support safety and wellbeing in the community.
The city has and will continue to advocate to the provincial and federal governments for a greater criminal justice response to prolific property crime offenders and for greater support for people in Kelowna with complex health and mental health needs, the release said.