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Editorial: Downtown Duncan facing crime, drugs, littering epidemic; we must all be part of the solution

There are more of us than there are of those creating the problems.

We have a problem in downtown Duncan. It’s a problem that’s not going away and only seems to be getting worse with time.

There are actually multiple components: drug use, crime, general littering and homelessness. It’s all contributing to a marring of our unique and wonderful city.

Will Arnold, owner of Experience Cycling in Duncan, and others, commented in our Wednesday edition about these often intertwined problems and warned of consequences. Arnold himself has been going out every morning to try to clean up in the area around his business. The number of needles and sheer amount of filth he faces are astounding. The threats he’s faced from the criminal element are frightening. It is a testament to his love of the community and determination to be part of the solution that he, now accompanied by several other volunteers, continues.

It’s not just the area around Arnold’s business on the Trans Canada Highway. Recently, neighbours of the overdose prevention site on Trunk Road have started talking about the similar problems they are facing. Other neighbourhoods also face such issues.

The drug crisis shows no signs of abating. To limit its impact on the general public in the form of dirty needles littered across parks, sidewalks and planters, a true needle exchange program needs to be put in place, where users are required to bring their old needles back before being given a new one. The needle drop off boxes around town are not adequately solving the problem. It is apparent that more incentive is needed.

All of us need to make sure we’re not part of the littering problem. From cigarette butts to fast food containers and general packaging, it goes in the garbage, not on the ground. If there’s no garbage nearby, you’ll just have to take it home and dispose of it there. You bought it, it’s your responsibility. And if you’re with someone and see them littering, apply a little peer pressure.

There’s no magic solution that’s going to fix everything. But if we all take ownership and take pride in our beautiful city, like Will Arnold, there are more of us than there are of those creating the problems.