B.C. Premier David Eby revealed specifics about his plan to improve public safety in Nanaimo Wednesday, including where 12 hubs across the province will be based to manage repeat violent offenders.
With Nanaimo’s mayor at his side, Eby emerged from the Nanaimo Courthouse to announce the city will be one of the homes of a team tasked with cracking down on prolific offenders.
“Home to a team of dedicated police, prosecutors and probation officers that will work together to monitor cases involving prolific offenders from investigation through the court process to strict community supervision,” said Eby.
Victoria is the only other Island city to have one of the hubs, and the province is offering $12 million over three years to fund the initiative.
Among those who listened to the announcement was Clint Smith, a man shot in the abdomen last month when he went to an encampment to retrieve equipment stolen from his automotive shop.
The man accused of pointing a firearm at him is a prolific offender and has since been released on bail.
“It sounds like a step in the right direction. That being said, it’s toothless without addressing the federal government’s bail and justice reform act,” Smith told CHEK News.
When asked, Eby said the new teams would work in a coordinated way to ensure prolific offenders get the extra attention they need.
“But we also need the federal government to fix the bail laws,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Eby and members of his government met with police, city council and business owners.
B.C.’s Public Safety Minister says they’re working with the city to improve safety.
“That’s why we’re going to invest $75,000 to support existing initiatives tailored to Nanaimo’s specific safety needs, such as the downtown Nanaimo community safety action plan and the situation tables that are in place,” said Mike Farnworth.
After the news conference, Smith aired some of his frustrations, including frequent thefts from his business, with Farnworth.
“Do something about it. A whole lot less lip service and a whole lot more action is required, Mike,” said Smith, with the minister adding that they’re working on it.
Smith’s still not convinced the government is doing enough when businesses like his struggle to get by in the face of frequent crime.
The other provincial hubs announced are Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Williams Lake and Terrace.