Blackbird Security Inc. has been chosen to provide safety ambassadors to help patrol the Trans-Canada Highway corridor through Duncan. (File photo)

Security firm chosen for highway corridor

490 Trans Canada Highway will house corridor safety office

Blackbird Security Inc. has been chosen to provide safety ambassadors to help patrol the Trans-Canada Highway corridor between Beverly Street and Boys Road.

Duncan city council decided to recommend signing a one-year contract with the Vancouver-based security company at its meeting on Aug. 19 as part of the Valley’s new Safer Community Plan to address crime and public disorder in that section of the TCH.

As well, North Cowichan’s council is recommending the approval a two-year lease on 490 Trans Canada Highway, the north half of the old Duncan Music Store, that will serve as a new Corridor Safety Office.

Both councils have to approve the lease and the contract with Blackbird Security.

The initiatives are the first stages of the Safer Community Plan initiative that was endorsed by both Duncan and North Cowichan last month, which called for establishing a corridor safety office and coordinating municipal bylaw enforcement and RCMP resources in that area.

Staff from North Cowichan have taken the lead on identifying potential properties for the community safety office and on lease negotiations, while staff from Duncan were given the responsibility for the safety ambassadors.

A staff report written by Rob Conway, North Cowichan’s director of planning, that was presented earlier this year, said a study by Community Futures Cowichan on the issue determined that the primary concerns for business owners in the corridor area are social issues, safety and security.

RELATED STORY: NEW ASSOCIATION POSSIBLE FOR DUNCAN HIGHWAY BUSINESSES

Conway said the study cited a current level of “public disorder” as a shared concern among business owners, and identified a high level of frustration regarding the lack of assistance and response businesses receive from law enforcement authorities, government agencies and local government.

At the time, the local governments each committed $10,000 to develop the plan and to get the initiative started.

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN BUDGETS $10K FOR ‘DUNCAN STRIP’ CRIME STRATEGY

The plan was developed in consultation with local business owners, Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Valley School District, health and social service providers, RCMP and many others.

Blackbird was chosen out of four proposals by security companies to provide daytime safety ambassadors for the contract.

The safety ambassadors are intended to become the “eyes” on the street that will enable RCMP and bylaw staff to respond to concerns based on immediate information when incidents are occurring.

They can also provide focused patrols in problematic areas.

A Duncan staff report said Blackbird was selected due to the company’s understanding of the unique nature of the task, and the fact its employees have the required skill sets for the work required.

The city will have final approval on all employees assigned to the contract.

The contract is only for one year in order to ensure that the city can review the effectiveness of the contractor’s ability to maintain the same or suitable staff.

The contract is worth up to $74,000 and the cost will be split equally between Duncan and North Cowichan.

The safer community office will cost $37,000 per year to lease, and renovations to the 1,700 square-foot space are estimated at $30,000, with all costs again equally split between the two local governments.

Plans also call for increasing the number municipal foot and bike patrols in the highway corridor.

North Cowichan’s bylaw department has acquired bicycles, uniforms and personal protective equipment, and the department has scheduling bicycle training, naloxone administration training, and de-escalation training as part of the initiative.

If both councils approve the lease for the community safety office and the ambassadors, staff will get started immediately on the implementation plan.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pair of 11-year-old Cowichan highland dancers heading to Virginia for competition

Amelia Marsh and Maya Sundstrom are excited about the possibilities

Chris Wilkinson column: Where are you on the Happiness U-Curve?

With age and maturity, the focus turns away from social competition and toward social connection.

Music trivia tournament in Duncan a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

Drivesmart column: Wet weather driving dos and don’ts

Wet pavement alone can increase stopping distances by more than 10 per cent.

Guest column: Why “Weir” Ready: with James Buchan

This is part two of a feature series by the Cowichan Watershed Board

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read