$1 million cost of social issues underestimated in Kamloops business survey | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Kamloops News

$1 million cost of social issues underestimated in Kamloops business survey


Kamloops businesses have spent more than $1 million to deal with social issues in the last four years, but just 128 businesses responded to a survey that resulted in that figure. That's just 8% of the roughly 1,500 businesses throughout the city asked to participate.

Despite that, social issues like vandalism, graffiti, loitering and drug use are the "top issues" for the business community, according to Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association executive director Howie Reimer.

"Since I've been in this position, and it's only been four months, I get calls daily. It's the number one issue," Reimer said, adding the $1 million tally is "absolutely an underestimation" considering the low survey turn out.

The downtown business group and the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce took part in the survey, which was led by the North Shore Business Improvement Association.

READ MORE: Social issues cost Kamloops businesses $1 million since 2018: survey

The 128 businesses that responded consisted largely of those on the North Shore and in downtown, with some from other neighbourhoods adding their concerns.

Once it was finished, Reimer said business leaders met with local MP Frank Caputo, along with MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar, and mayor Ken Christian to discuss the results and how to move forward.

Data like this, Reimer said, is an important benchmark to understand what is happening in the community. It's time, he added, to conduct similar surveys of the social service agencies tasked with aiding people experiencing homelessness or struggling with addictions on the streets.

"We need to look at social agencies and what's happening with them. Are there redundancies? Where are the gaps?" Reimer said.

His call for a review of social services is similar to a motion proposed by city councillor Bill Sarai last year, and often echoed by mayoral candidate Reid Hamer-Jackson.

READ MORE: Despite building boom, Okanagan city struggling to house 5,000 new residents

Sarai's motion was passed in March 2021, and it listed several tasks for the City to take on as it attempts to deal with social issues in Kamloops.

One of those was to conduct a third-party review of B.C. Housing facilities within the city to determine where they are succeeding and where those facilities may be failing.

There is no word yet on any progress of a third-party review, but Sarai previously told iNFOnews.ca that the City is waiting on a similar review in Penticton, which is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

Hamer-Jackson issued a press release, April 25, on behalf of a West Victoria Street business group, calling for a formal third-party review of supportive housing facilities on the street and throughout the city.

"It’s time the residents and taxpayers of Kamloops have a chance to gauge the success and failures of these operations,” Hamer-Jackson said in the release.

READ MORE: Thompson Nicola directors frustrated with lack of answers from B.C. Wildfire Service over massive 2021 fire

His business, Tru Market Truck and Auto Sales, is across the street from several social service providers. Despite his hopes that the facilities would both help get people off the streets and reduce some of the vandalism he's experienced at his building, that has not been the result.

“We do not want to see B.C. Housing research centre data that has the residents and clients struggling with addictions and mental issues doing a review or questionnaire on themselves, with only 50% participation. We need a comprehensive look at all aspects,” Hamer-Jackson said.

The B.C. Housing research centre he mentioned refers to voluntary surveys B.C. Housing conducts at every supportive housing facility it owns once it is open for six months. The survey asks tenants to report their own progress and overall perception of the facility, which can be found here on the B.C. Housing website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2022

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile