Photograph of Duncan City Hall by Sharon Vanhouwe.
The City of Duncan has issued what it calls a “position paper” on the social problems being experienced by the community, as well as city’s commitment to finding solutions.
Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples calls the city’s position paper a tool “developed to outline the varying responsibilities of each level of government, and to detail the ongoing commitment of the City to support businesses, residents, and unsheltered individuals” as efforts continue to find solutions.
Mayor Staples goes on to say, “there is no easy fix, no one-size fits all response to address what is happening. It will take a multi-pronged approach.”
According to Chief Administrative Officer Peter de Verteuil: “In recent years, frustration has been mounting, which is understandable as the issues have grown. However, misinformation, uninformed accusations, and increased stigmatization are not acceptable, and they do not help address these issues.”
In its news release, the City says it has focused on “doing what it can with its limited resources and authority, while lobbying for provincial changes.”
Duncan has undertaken a number of measures to resolve problems for vulnerable people, residents and homeowners, and businesses.
They include the Safer Community Plan, increased neighbourhood supports, increased spending on security and bylaw enforcement, and lobbying various provincial cabinet ministers for assistance.
Duncan council would like to see more action to create treatment beds, mental health facilities, affordable and supportive housing, and “the capacity and resources to ensure courts and correctional supports and services are there to address the disruptors and criminal elements such as drug dealing and theft.”
Mayor Staple says federal and provincial governments are helping to meet community needs and the Cowichan Valley must remain “focused on long-term solutions that provide support, dignity, and safety for everyone.”
Duncan City Council says it is advocating for the following changes at the provincial level:
- Revisit the Mental Health Act to improve treatment for those where other
- supports are insufficient
- Establish improved preventative measures (educate youth on addiction issues, expand counselling and outreach etc.)
- Provide additional court and corrections facilities resources to improve escalating sentencing
- Impose larger penalties for those pedalling the poisoned drug supply
- Improve neighbourhood security around the Overdose Prevention Site, shelters, supportive housing sites
- Increase supportive and affordable housing programs
- Increase treatment and recovery programs and beds
- Review the sharps distribution program
- Educate about safe supply