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OUR VIEW: A black eye for our city

This can’t be the kind of community anybody wants.

If anybody thought that the number of unhoused people congregating on Campbell River’s downtown was a disgrace, it’s nothing compared to the actions of a few misguided individuals last Friday night.

The presence of people experiencing homelessness on our city streets is a complex and frustrating problem, nobody will deny that but to let it descend into the violence reported by the Campbell River RCMP is shameful beyond words.

This can’t be the kind of community anybody wants. There is no excuse for the actions of these few. Regardless of why you think it was justified, victimizing those who are already suffering in our wealthy and privileged community, is unacceptable.

It’s up to the leaders of this community to resolve the problem – the RCMP, City Council, provincial and federal government representatives. Solutions to this problem are not going to come easily and they’re not going to happen right away. This a difficult issue being wrestled with by communities all across this province. It’s the number one issue in our community right now and to resolve it requires a community-wide effort that must have heavy provincial government involvement.

If people are frustrated, you should direct your ire towards the provincial government, that’s who has the legal responsibility for mental health, addiction services and housing. City Council is the easy target but actually the body with the least amount of power to resolve the situation.

However, they do have some influence and in this civic election campaign, voters should demand answers. But the answers don’t lie in violent actions. We must exercise compassion and civility.

It might require greater expenditure on more law enforcement to really do something about this issue but keep in mind that is going to cost you, the taxpayer, more dollars. But maybe that’s what’s needed in the short term.

Of course, many will decry the increase in the tax burden of residents but it’s going to hurt somewhere, whether it’s in the pocket book or in the black eye our community now has been given by those inciting violence on our streets.

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