Collecting used needles has become routine for a group that has taken to patrolling the Duncan highway corridor. (submitted)

Editorial: New safety office to tackle Duncan corridor crime just the beginning

Duncan is facing a problem like no other in its history.

We hope a new partnership between the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan can provide some real relief to people and businesses in the Trans-Canada Highway corridor. They are currently suffering due to the opioid and homeless crisis that has hit the entire area hard. Crime is up, refuse, including used needles are a blight on the streetscape, and people have had enough.

There is very real and justified worry in the city and the greater Duncan area about the increase in homelessness, drugs, and all of the problems that come with them in the last few years. There have always been homeless people in Cowichan, and there has always been drug use, but it has never been like this. Blatant drug use and its attendant crime have spread through the city like a toxic sludge with the advent of the opioid crisis.

Parents, sports teams, and other child care providers now routinely scour parks and play spaces for dirty needles before they can let their charges go forth and be kids.

People are having to lock up every spade and garden ornament, and even that’s not a guarantee against petty and not-so-petty theft.

Experience Cycling’s Will Arnold, first solo then with a group, has taken to patrolling and cleaning up the highway corridor area every day before business opens.

Now, Duncan and North Cowichan will be opening an office in the area to try to help clean things up. It’s about time. This problem needs the support of citizens and business owners, yes, but also the strength of our local governments and the RCMP. Bylaw enforcement and daytime security patrols will operate from the new safety office, we are told.

This is good news, but Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples is right that it’s just the beginning. These problems need the cooperation and attention of governments from federal to provincial to municipal. The truth is, nobody has yet figured out how to fix them, so we also need new ideas, and the courage to try them.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Cowichan mayor answers questions about new RCMP detachment

The current building went up in 1980, when there were 30 people working there.

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Man dies at temporary Duncan tent site for homeless

First Nations man died at The Mound site

No doctor assisted death allowed at Hamlets in Duncan

Faith-based company that owns facility believes in sanctity of life

UPDATED: Minivan crashes into Merchants building in downtown Duncan

There is no word yet on the cause of the crash.

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back”

Most Read