CIVIC ELECTION 2022 – ‘Independent review of shelters and facilities needed’
In the run-up to the Oct. 15 civic election, ArmchairMayor.ca will be pleased to publish occasional statements from candidates of up to 500 words. Following is a news release from mayoral candidate Reid Hamer-Jackson dated April 25.
KAMLOOPS – Reid Hamer-Jackson, mayoral candidate and spokesperson for the West Victoria Street business and resident group, is calling for a citizen-led third-party independent review into CMHA and ASK Wellness drug/harm reduction clients in beds, rooms, apartments and shelters throughout the city.
“After many years of trying to resolve numerous issues, we have received very little response from former BC Housing Minister Selena Robinson, CMHA Kamloops division, BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay, Bob Hughes of ASK Wellness, MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar, the mayor and majority of the Kamloops city council, or the city’s Community and Protective Services division,” said Hamer-Jackson.
“Due to the lack of action with respect to these facilities, problems have grown throughout our community,” he said. “Furthermore, original intent has not been followed. Bob Hughes told us over 10 years ago the Emerald shelter was going to be a shelter for women and children fleeing violence, with 24/7 nurses from IH. I thought that was great and was in full support. It’s disappointing that this hasn’t materialized.”
The group wants to ask BC Housing Minister Dave Eby to approve the cost of a review, which would include neighbours, residents, clients and staff of all facilities operating in the city as well as local support and emergency services.
“This is for the safety of all parties. Since the drug/harm reduction facilities have been built in the Kamloops region there have been claims of wrap-around services. It’s time the residents and taxpayers of Kamloops have a chance to gauge the success and failures of these operations,” said Hamer-Jackson, explaining that such a review would include overdose deaths, crimes and emergency calls arising from the management, staff, residents, clients or visitors of the facilities.
“We do not want to see BC Housing research centre data that has the residents and clients struggling with addictions and mental issues doing a review or questionnaire on themselves, with only 50% participation. We need a comprehensive look at all aspects,” he said, stating that the views of city residents, business owners, bylaw officers, outreach workers, RCMP members, IHA street nurses, mental health and addictions experts in harm reduction and recovery, and representatives of the BC ambulance services union and BC Housing must be sought.
“This review will help get more wrap-around services to help with the safety of the ASK Wellness and CMHA staff, and to help the city to come up with a plan to help all in our community so we can all enjoy a safer environment,” he said.
For more information, please contact Reid Hamer-Jackson at (250)319-1088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the BC government declared a health emergency in 2016, over a toxic drug crisis in April 2016 more than 10,000 British Columbians have died. The only thing that’s changed since 2016 is that overdose deaths continue to rise and the supply of illegal drugs has increasingly gotten worse. The insanity continues with the recommendations for the distribution of a safe drug supply and a substance-use system of care.
This is a failed position and the government’s record speaks for itself. 10,000 British Columbians have died from the “safe injection site” abject failure. The government’s position of taking the “stigma” out of drug use is well intended but fatal for over 10,000 British Columbians.
Tougher drug laws, effective Police enforcement, incarceration and drug treatment.
Incarcerate those who sell and possess drugs that kill British Columbians. Free housing isn’t a solution to to the drug crisis.
I’m thinking that Reid is not a 1-issue candidate. He has been around the block a few times and likely has a pretty good set of transferrable skills to make a decent leader.
It certainly is time that all agencies, residents and business along with the people whom these “wrap around supports” are designed for, had a say in what is working and what is not. Too much is being swept under the carpet. As a tax payer I want to know if services are actually working to help the folks who need them or are reports being blurred a bit to make it seem like our money is being well spent.
As an aside to Mr. Hamer-Jackson, I presume that your platform focuses on other issues too. The homeless issue has taken a lot of focus away from other needs in the community. I strongly agree that people come first but I would sure like to drive around our fair city without having to put my car in 4 wheel drive to navigate around the potholes or take my dog to the dog park without having to spend hours cleaning either the mud or dust out of her fur or not have to listen to politicians insisting we have yet another vote on a performing arts center that our own artist’s have told me they couldn’t afford to rent anyway and on it goes. To sum this up, YES make sure what is being offered for services for mental health and addictions is working but don’t forget about the rest of us who pay the taxes to support these services.
I am not sure we can find qualified entities to conduct an “independent” review.
But the things is, what’s happening in Kamloops is happening everywhere else in the province.
Although that’s not an excuse to find a radical made-in-Kamloops solution.
Potholes are good…sort of. They help keep road speed down. A performance arts centre has its merits even if local aspiring entertainers may not be able to attract enough paying patrons to support them in helping with venue rental fees. But garage bands types should still be able to use the garage for free.