Victoria councillor proposes residents impacted by crime and social disorder be compensated

Victoria councillor proposes residents impacted by crime and social disorder be compensated
CHEK

With property taxes due Wednesday, July 2, in Victoria, some councillors have been hearing from taxpayers impacted by crime and social disorder in the capital region.

Coun. Stephen Hammond says he’s heard from residents who live near the 900 block of Pandora Avenue, saying it’s not fair they’re paying the same rate, given the fear they live with and even the financial consequences of living so close.

“This week, the taxes were due, and a number of people got in contact with me, telling me what’s going on on their block and asked, ‘Why are we paying the same amount of taxes?'” said Hammond.

Watch the report below:

In a new motion, Hammond suggests the city consider offering compensation to residents affected by crime, nuisance, and/or social disorder.

“People talk about the impact of fear they have for their safety,” said Hammond.

He anonymously relayed some complaints he’d received in the motion.

“This block is, and has been, a constant hangout for street people. It has been going on for years and is getting worse,” reads one quote from an unnamed business owner, who detailed an instance where a large structure, garbage, and a couch blocked customer parking.

A customer arrived and couldn’t park in front of the shop, so he went across the street, where his car was damaged when someone threw a glass jar at it.

“We have been saying for a long time how the amount of street people constantly on this street is affecting our business. We shouldn’t have to deal with this. Our customers should not be scared to come to our shop,” they wrote.

For others, frustration and resentment are starting to boil over, especially for a condo manager who says that in the last three to four months, things near the 900 block of Pandora have been ramping up.

“We have had to now engage a security company full time at night, seven days a week, at a significant cost of $40 an hour for eight hours, which is $2,240.00 a week,” they wrote anonymously.

The neighbours CHEK News spoke with Wednesday don’t feel the impact as others do.

“I live just two blocks away. It’s not too bad, they’re pretty harmless,” said Loris Corletto.

“Some of the kindest, best souls are down here,” said Shauna Maddern, who herself has struggled with homelessness for the last eight years.

As for Hammond’s motion, what shape the compensation he’s suggesting will ultimately be up to staff, but he says it could take the form of a tax relief, grant, subsidy, or reimbursement.

“We haven’t cured homelessness or addiction,” said Hammond.

“In the meantime, can we identify those people who, more than others, are particularly affected because there is a concentration of services in their neighbourhood?”

The motion will go in front of Victoria city council Thursday.

READ ALSO: Victoria mayor says ‘traumatic’ take down of tents on Pandora Ave not unusual

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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