The alley behind the cold weather shelter has seen recent conflicts between businesses and homeless.

The alley behind the cold weather shelter has seen recent conflicts between businesses and homeless.

City of Trail council meets with RCMP to reclaim downtown core

Conflicts between businesses and homeless prompts city of Trail to call emergency meeting

Trail City Council held a special round-table Governance and Operations Committee meeting in an effort to take the downtown core back.

Recent confrontations between downtown businesses and homeless persons prompted council to meet with Trail and Greater District RCMP on Monday, Apr. 19 and pass a series of motions to take action.

“This is a very challenging time for our community,” said Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin. “We just passed the first year of COVID, and now we have an escalating housing, mental health, and opioid crisis happening in our midst.

“This situation is trying on everyone, and many people have just had enough, and they feel hopeless.”

Council heard recommendations from RCMP Cst. Sherri Karn who said that Trail has seen a rise in its vulnerable population, many of whom endure homelessness, substance abuse and mental health illnesses.

Yet, many are not from Trail. In the West Kootenay, people from communities like Nelson, Castlegar or Kaslo come to Trail to receive post-treatment care at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital’s Daily Pavilion and/or the Kiro Wellness Centre, explained Karn.

They often seek refuge in La Nina, Trail’s extreme weather shelter, close to a number of downtown businesses, and are unable or unwilling to leave.

“Our call volume to the downtown area has increased due to the warmer weather,” said Karn. “Over the last two weeks we’ve been called a lot more for mental health issues pertaining to the alley and the shelter.”

While RCMP have often asked for patience from the community, this time Karn suggested the city take action, starting with improved lighting in Trail alleyways and installing cameras to help reduce crime.

“A lot of our suspected drug activity and money exchanges are happening in that alley, they won’t happen if there’s cameras present,” said Karn.

Other initiatives include relocating dumpsters in the alley and washing the alleys daily to remove the waste, debris and associated odours left behind.

For public works director Chris McIsaac, lighting and cameras are costly, and the most immediate and beneficial response included maintenance and sanitization.

“The biggest thing we can do to support the businesses downtown is the additional level of service for the flushing and sweeping of the alleys, so that they are cleaned on a daily basis,” he said.

Counc. Carol Dobie made a motion to send letters to Interior Health and support agencies to incorporate safe injection sites, which have also been recommended by Moms Stop the Harm and Rural Empowered Drug Users Network (REDUN).

Safe injection sites ensure drugs are tested and safe, and would reduce the presence of discarded syringes and needles and other paraphernalia in the downtown alleys and other public areas.

In separate motions, council directed staff to look into the feasibility of installing lighting and security cameras, in addition to costs for painting over graffiti.

The city requested information from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary on the public washroom that is planned for the downtown transit exchange.

They passed a motion to boost efforts to lobby the provincial government to increase funding and attention to the homeless and substance abuse, and meet publicly with Minister Katrine Conroy to address the crises.

Council asked staff to investigate the temporary relocation of the dumpsters in the alley behind the homeless shelter, and also pledged to maintain communication with downtown businesses regarding their actions, while inviting input.

For committee chair Sandy Santori, the motions were constructive, yet may be difficult to realize, particularly without provincial aid.

“If post-care is an issue, then here’s a chance for some lobbying of government to provide post-care, say at the hospital in Nelson, some in Castlegar. We need to keep lobbying for funds from the provincial government.”

And providing assistance to downtown business owners and staff, already hit hard by the pandemic, should be a priority, he added.

“We need to move the ones that are behind the Bank of Montreal and The Colander, that whole strip. They (the businesses) have been putting up with this for well over a year.

“It’s a public safety issue for them, their employees are afraid to go outside and take out the garbage.

“I mean how much can a business endure?”

Read: Downtown safety concerns grow for Trail citizen group

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read