'Holistic approach' needed to address Kamloops social issues: City bylaw department

By Ashley Legassic
April 8, 2019 - 4:32pm Updated: April 8, 2019 - 5:08pm

KAMLOOPS — Social issues are continuing to put a strain on bylaw resources in Kamloops.

A report by the bylaw department to the City's Community Services Committee details the increase in social issues that officers are responding to on a daily basis.

However, some calls for service have dropped dramatically during the first quarter of 2019 compared to years prior.

In the first three months of this year, there were just eight calls for nuisance properties, compared to 347 calls in the same period for 2018.

Bylaw officers have worked closely with the RCMP to deal with properties that have been identified as a nuisance by the Nuisance Property Working Group, the report says.

Panhandling, public and private graffiti, and persons with alcohol calls have also declined.

"The bylaw department is seeing an increase in requests to deal with the social issues that our community is seeing," acting bylaw manager Tammy Blundell says in the report. "As a City, we need to shift our focus from reaction to action to address the issues we are facing."

Blundell adds that bylaw officers and RCMP are only one part of the puzzle in resolving these issues, and community partnerships are key in tackling city-wide problems head-on.

"We require a holistic approach to community service, taking into account the issue(s) that impact a community and working with the people within that community to solve them," Blundell says. 

The report also states that bylaw officers are continuing to patrol the North Shore and Lansdowne transit exchanges for nuisance behaviours including loitering, drinking in public, panhandling and smoking.

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