Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog didn’t mince words in a statement to senior levels of government asking for help in what he categorized as a public safety crisis resulting from failed provincial and federal policies.
His statement follows an altercation Sunday, March 12, in an encampment of unsheltered people that resulted in two people being seriously injured when they tried to retrieve allegedly stolen items from the encampment.
Krog said in the statement that Nanaimo is facing a public safety crisis resulting from the failed policies of senior government that is beyond the city’s capacity to control or repair.
“I call upon the federal and provincial governments to recognize their responsibility to our residents and to step up and take meaningful action now,” Krog said in a city press release. “Our city is not able to fix the underlying issues that have led to the problems we are facing and the kind of situation that unfolded here on Sunday. When government is no longer able to protect people and their property, we are in a dangerous place.”
The release outlined some of the city’s responses to public safety, homelessness and the housing crisis, including its health and housing action plan, its arm’s-length systems planning organization, its downtown safety action plan including community safety officers, and increased staffing for Nanaimo Fire Rescue and Nanaimo RCMP.
“Despite our efforts to increase public safety and clean up the downtown – at significant cost to taxpayers – we continue to struggle with the effects of senior government policies that have failed to curb violence from known offenders or help the most vulnerable among us,” Krog said. “As a result, some people feel they have no option but to take matters into their own hands.”
At a meeting March 6, council passed a motion to pen a strongly worded letter to senior government levels about the local impacts of the mental health and addictions crisis.