April 30, 2015 - 7:20 AM
The fact recent headlines from City Hall were about backyard chickens, drive-thrus and transit fares tells me things are fairly quiet on the municipal front in Kamloops. These are typical day-to-day issues dealt with by all municipalities, but nothing which requires strong leadership one way or another.
Whether or not my neighbour has chickens in their backyard is not going to affect my sense of security or the overall well-being of the city. Whether the city bans drive-thrus or not will not significantly change the amount of greenhouse gases in our city. The majority of automobile idling is done at stop lights. Reducing traffic congestion through more transit is the better solution to reducing emissions.
The suggestion that all transit fares go to $2 doesn’t seem to have ruffled any feathers. I’m wondering what Thompson Rivers University students think about it though, since, while the plan is for adult fares to drop to $2, the cost of the TRU U-pass monthly pass increases each year.
Contrast this with Surrey which is grappling with 18 shootings in 45 days. The victims and the alleged perpetrators are mostly young men involved in the drug trade. The City of Surrey has vowed to hire 100 more RCMP officers to help deal with crime in their city. That’s a huge increase in policing resources. It’s a huge problem for any community to be dealing with. I don’t envy Surrey at all. They’re in a very difficult situation. No one would want so many shootings in their community.
To put it in perspective, based on our population, that’s equivalent to eight shootings in Kamloops over the last six weeks. It would be like the City of Kamloops hiring 18 more officers, increasing the number of RCMP from 118 to 136. Hiring 18 officers would be a huge expense given that in a typical year, Kamloops hires one or two new RCMP.
The issues in Surrey are multi-layered, from disaffected, disconnected to youth, to the lure of fast money, to community groups who don’t trust police. Policing is one part to the solution. Police provide safety and help bring the guilty to justice. Policing is definitely needed.
But there has to be other parts to the solution as well. There needs to be ways to connect the youth to positive role models, so they see opportunities outside of crime. Different parts of the community need to come together so that there is not silos of ‘us’ and ‘them.’
Kamloops city council has time to grapple with chickens, drive-thrus and toonie bus fares partly because other issues have been dealt with. But I hope council doesn’t lose site of the bigger issues, such as connecting youth with community, making Kamloops a welcoming place to newcomers, and helping police build bridges between with youth workers, mental health workers, homelessness advocates and others working to keep people out of the criminal justice system.
Taking care of the small things helps to keep the bigger issues away.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015