The City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan are partnering to address crime and public disorder within the highway corridor.

The highway corridor exists between Beverly Street and Boys Road along the Trans-Canada and the two local governments are teaming up with bylaw enforcement and the RCMP to set up a corridor safety office.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said this is a three-phase project.

“This is a process that will ramp up enforcement, as necessary; we start with the community ambassador piece, where people build relationships with folks on the street and try to get them into services,” said Siebring. “If that doesn’t work and these people are engaging in public disorder, then we move in bylaw enforcement people and we try to work with it that way.”

Siebring said, “If it ramps up beyond that, that’s when we call the RCMP, so it’s a three-phase process.”

A plan will be developed through consultation with local business owners in the highway corridor, Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, health and social service providers, RCMP and many other stakeholders.

City of Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said this office is required for a variety of reasons.

“To support the businesses along the corridor from the impacts of us not having the proper amount of shelter beds and spaces required for people with mental health and addiction issues,” said Staples. “It’s because we don’t have enough of those things in our community and businesses and residents are having to deal with the consequences of that.”

Both governments will advocate for more resources for the existing community health and social service organizations, as well as more long-term housing and treatment facilities.

The implementation plan will be back before both councils in August.