The Loop plans to fight 'nuisance' status in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The Loop plans to fight 'nuisance' status in Kamloops

The Loop drop-in centre at 405 Tranquille Road in Kamloops is pictured in this Google Street View image.
June 06, 2021 - 7:00 AM

Workers at The Loop hope the facility can remain in its current location on the North Shore but its unique status among available services for the city's homeless population puts that at risk.

Now that The Loop has been given its 'nuisance property' status, it's there indefinitely, according to Tammy Blundell, community services manager.

"We have the ability to—if we see compliance over time and depending on the level of severity—remove that property from our 'active monitor' list. It will be periodically reviewed, but less and less as time goes on," she said.

But to Glenn Hilke, co-ordinator of The Loop, the nuisance property issue is not the "heart of the issue" in an ongoing battle with city officials.

"They're saying we're incompetent, under-resourced and understaffed. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it's not about that," he told "This is about prime real estate, gentrification, and a minority who have no compassion for people who are struggling in their city."

While Mayor Ken Christian acknowledged that with property values in Kamloops on the rise, and the North Shore community plan in the works to be finalized in the fall, he said the city isn't "hunting" to remove The Loop.

"Our community service officers work on a complaint basis, and there's been a number of complaints around that property," Christian said. "The problem is that he is oversubscribed in terms of the goodwill he's trying to do there, and because of that, the problems spill out to the sidewalks and surrounding area."

In an ongoing dispute between city councillors over the future of The Loop, Hilke said the "elephant in the room" is a shelter, which they've been told they could not operate on the North Shore.

"I've had it with them," he said. "It's an orchestrated crusade to close us down."

Mayor Christian said The Loop's efforts are well-intentioned, but "in the wrong area." In order for the city and housing partners, like B.C. Housing, to offer more solutions to address a growing need, Christian said smaller "day lodges" in varied places around the city would be one solution. He raised the Valleyview area as one of particular concern, but he wasn't are of any current plans for day lodges for that area.

"The Tranquille Corridor is ear-marked for significant growth, with a funky, new-wave and edgy commercial area on the way," Christian said.

The Mayor has a concern that the lack of housing supply will continue to get worse as health restrictions subside, as TRU resumes in-class sessions and tourists start flocking back to the area.

The Loop, and Hilke himself, has recently faced criticism from Councillor Dale Bass in a story last week, then from Councillor Arjun Singh on Kamloops This Week.

While the politics play out, Blundell said co-operation with The Loop has been "positive."

"The property owner and Hilke have been responding positively to our requests. Again, the bylaw has done its work, and in a month when we reassess, we'll go over the service calls that came in," she said.

Hilke said they plan to appeal the decision when possible, but they will work with the city to improve "unsightly" business frontage until then.

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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