Police, bylaw resources being diverted to deal with transient camps in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Police, bylaw resources being diverted to deal with transient camps in Kamloops

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October 29, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - City bylaw, RCMP and ASK Wellness all agree this was a record year for the number of transient camps in Kamloops and now they’re looking at how to be more prepared for next year.

The number of transient camp complaints in Kamloops from July to September of this year has more than doubled compared to same period last year.

In last year’s third quarter, there were 85 calls for service compared to 172 in 2015. The total number of calls this year has already far surpassed last year’s total by nearly 60 per cent. There were 230 calls in total last year compared to 392 already this year.

Both city bylaw and the local RCMP have had to redirect resources to respond to transient camps.

“A number of our calls for service so far this year have actually decreased with the exception of transient camps,” David Duckworth community safety said. “That’s kind of what we heard and felt and saw this past summer and that’s where we redirected a lot of our resources.”

The city expects to see a similar number of camps next spring and summer, but they’re hoping to have a four pillar approach in place. Prevention, treatment, enforcement and harm reduction make up the four pillar approach.

“We do anticipate we’re going to have very similar if not increased activities with respect to transient camps in 2017,” Duckworth said. “Enforcement will be a big part but the other three pillars will be of equal importance and we hope to have those in place come next spring.”

Bob Hughes, executive director of ASK Wellness, says a four pillar approach is crucial to not only addressing social issues in the community, but finding a solution for them.

“Four-pillarism is widely recognized as an effective community response to issues of addiction in particular,” Hughes says.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller says an important part of the plan is to make sure enforcement isn’t the only pillar being used.

“It can’t be just all enforcement, but from our standpoint in certain circumstances there has to be an enforcement component with that,” Mueller said. “We’ll make sure that we’re ready to go next year so we’ve got a strategic plan in place to deal with that.”

Hughes says several organizations in the community have began working on an approach that will address the issues of homelessness, transient camps and addiction in the city.

“I think it’s started,” Hughes says. “There is some solid ground work that has been put in place over the summer because of the intensity of street-level activity and river bank activity.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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