KAMLOOPS - North Shore business owners have had their voices heard about street issues in North Kamloops and Brocklehurst.
The North Shore Business Improvement Association has released the results of its Safe Streets survey of about 140 North Shore businesses and nearly 1,000 customers.
More than three quarters of the respondents were from the Tranquille Market Corridor, the commercial area from the Tranquille Road, Fortune Drive and 8th Street intersection, to the Overlanders Bridge, according to a media release issued today, Sept. 26. The majority of the problems reported were in an area from Yew Street south to Overlanders Bridge.
About 78 per cent of business owners said they had noticed an increase in the transient population in the past year, as well as often noticing loitering and drug use, the business association says.
More than 50 per cent of business owners said they often have problems with street level drug users either using, or suffering after effects from drugs, in or around businesses. More than 29 per cent said this is sometimes a problem, while just over six per cent said this is never a problem.
Drug use debris is often noticed by 59 per cent of responding business owners, according to the survey, and 58 per cent say it's an ongoing concern.
As for graffiti around businesses, 34 per cent of respondents said it's sometimes an issue, while 31 per cent say it's often an issue. It's rarely an issue for about 17 per cent of respondents and never an issue for about 15 per cent.
More than half of the responding business owners said street vandalism has increased this year compared to last year.
About 54 per cent of those responding said they don't believe street level problems have the attention of any form of government, and just two per cent of respondents believe enough is being done to counter these problems on the North Shore.
The majority of customers who responded to their survey were from either the North Shore or Brocklehurst. Nearly 60 per cent said they often experience problems with drug use or loitering at the businesses they shop at.
Most people said these issues have deterred them from shopping at a business sometimes or often. More than 60 per cent of customers said they have not reported these problems to the authorities.
The business association said after the business-only survey was originally released, local residents demanded their own survey.
“There have been a lot of complaints, situations, and areas of concern that our business and commercial property owners have raised with us over the summer,” North Shore Business Improvement Association executive director Steven Puhallo said in the release. “Instead of going forward with these concerns as secondhand stories or anecdotes we wanted to get a good, direct, sampling from our businesses through this survey.”
Puhallo said there was high demand for a homeowners survey for residents in the area.
“We were flooded with pretty specific and demanding requests that we do a survey for homeowners, for everyone who lives in our business improvement area,” Puhallo said. “That would be way outside our mandate as a business association. But it was clear that the customers who shop, eat, and visit our businesses wanted their voice heard as well.”
The online customer survey had 998 respondents take part in it.
“The biggest take away is that our business members, and their customers, didn’t experience street level safety issues across most of the North Shore,” Puhallo said. “The concerns and negative experiences were primarily expressed in the far south end of the Tranquille Market area.”
Puhallo said the association has shared the results with local government, enforcement and social services. He says specific concerns are being addressed, and other organizations have responded positively to the results. The association plans to do the survey annually.
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