Kamloops mayor directed city-contracted security to guard his business | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops mayor directed city-contracted security to guard his business

FILE PHOTO - Kamloops mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson told city-contracted security guards to park at and patrol his used car dealership lot.

The mayor of Kamloops may be in hot water after trying to direct a city-contracted security company to watch over his business.

Neptune Security supervisor Parminder Singh told iNFOnews.ca Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson asked his company to park at his used car dealership on West Victoria Street "three or four times" before they were redirected by City staff.

He said Hamer-Jackson pointed to street issues on his property as the reason to change where they parked a security vehicle.

"In front of Tru Market... homeless people sit over there and burn some things. So that's why we changed our position," Singh said. 

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The mayor's car lot sits across from the Emerald Centre emergency shelter and the Rosethorn supportive housing facility, which are both operated by the Kamloops branch of Canadian Mental Health Association.

Hamer-Jackson has had multiple fires on his car lot, including a torched vehicle shortly after he was elected in October.

Neptune Security patrols the West Victoria Street corridor, among other areas downtown, with funds from the City. The City paid at least $1.6 million for security in commercial areas in the past two years, which also includes downtown and the Tranquille corridor.

Neptune used multiple different parking lots in the past year including the Stereo Warehouse and Sun Life Financial locations. City staff redirected Neptune Security to park at its own 48 Victoria Street West location within the last week because it's public property, according to Singh.

"I thought these guys are connected, the mayor and the bylaw (department)," Singh said. "We have a contract for the city. So wherever they want us, we can park there and do some checks."

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The bylaw department supervisor that told the security guards to move to public property didn't mention the fact that they were parked at the mayor's business. Instead, Singh said it was merely the suggestion that they are contracted by the city, not local businesses, so they should not park on private property. However, the security guards have parked on private parking lots for months as they watched over the area.

Hamer-Jackson told iNFOnews.ca he didn't direct the security company to park at his business, but instead asked them to park at a business immediately next door. 

"I told them to go by Stereo Warehouse, but they parked on my lot," he said.

He said no one at the City specifically told him he couldn't direct a contracted company on his own, adding that he wouldn't want to suggest the security workers park at his business.

"I think that would be a conflict, but the only reason was because of the safety of those girls," he said, referring to sisters Mindy and Nina Sandhu who own Stereo Warehouse.

His direction to the security company is likely a direct conflict of interest.

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iNFOnews.ca reached out to the City's corporate officer Maria Mazzotta, chief administrative officer David Trawin and bylaw supervisor Mo Perri but they didn't respond to an interview request in time for publication.

The fund used to pay Neptune for its security services comes from a grant aimed at supporting the homeless population.

The City was awarded the Strengthening Communities grant twice and the vast majority of the $3 million total was spent on security services in commercial areas.

Yesterday, Dec. 6, Hamer-Jackson told iNFOnews.ca that he doesn't agree with using more than $1 million to fund security services, but he did not mention he directed the security company to his own business just last month.

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.

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