Kamloops homeless outreach facility deemed nuisance 'for life' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops homeless outreach facility deemed nuisance 'for life'

The Loop drop-in centre at 405 Tranquille Road in Kamloops is pictured in this Google Street View image.
Image Credit: GOOGLE STREET VIEW
May 28, 2021 - 7:00 AM

The Loop has been given "nuisance property" status by community services staff in Kamloops.

Glenn Hilke, site coordinator for The Loop, said they "won the nuisance property jackpot," because they have been given that status "for life."

It remains unclear what a nuisance property designation will mean for the outreach centre, and City staff involved in the decision could not be reached in time for publication.

According to Hilke, there will not be fines levied against The Loop, but the reasons for gaining this new "nuisance" status relates to crime reported in the area.

Hilke said he asked whether those crimes were related to their address at 405A Tranquille Road, staff could pinpoint them to that specific location.

He also said the "optics" of The Loop at its location was a big contributor to the decision, but that the City did not take issue with garbage on the street. The Loop was also praised by city staff for encouraging street entrenched individuals to spend their time at The Loop instead of other businesses in the area.

Recently, the North Shore Business Improvement Association decried a lack of accountability on individuals responsible for break ins and other crimes in the area in a letter to the city.

In the letter, the business association tallied $168,000 in damages to North Shore businesses related to vandalism, theft and graffiti, as of May 12.

A recent break in at Jamaican Kitchen on Tranquille Road appeared to be a catalyst for the business association to plea to the city for more accountability on criminal behaviour.

Owner of Jamaican Kitchen, Kamau Metsimela, wants to see The Loop shut down or moved away from the North Shore. After the break in at his restaurant where cash and product was stolen earlier this month, he's fed up with a lack of criminal accountability towards people responsible.

"(The Loop) is not good for the North Shore and the people who live here. It affects the whole area," Metsimela said. "There is no solution at the moment and it's affecting families and businesses."

Since recent federal funding allowed The Loop to expand their services and encampments along the Thompson Rivers have been dismantled, their clientele has doubled. But The Loop is not permitted to operate as a nightly shelter.

Instead, they offer services throughout the day, including meals and their employees help coordinate clients with other services provided in the city.

Hilke said one thing they try to prevent, but are not always successful, is open drug use in front of the business.

He has made efforts to have Interior Health help open a supervised consumption site within The Loop, but there has been little progress so far.

"Having the status made permanent is just one step closer to get us evicted," Hilke said.

Although The Loop was given an additional $31,000 in federal funding, directed by a City of Kamloops committee, the City has clarified in a written statement the funding does not represent explicit support from elected officials. The funding was also not sourced from the City itself.

Rather, the additional funds come from Canada's Homelessness Strategy, and The Loops was chosen by the Kamloops Reaching Home advisory board, the City said.

The City said the advisory board consists of representatives from various sectors such as the North Shore Business Improvement Association, supportive housing and shelter agencies, social service providers and advocates for marginalized communities.

— This story was updated at 5:10 p.m., May 28, 2021, to add information from the City of Kamloops.


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