April 15, 2016 stock photo Victoria Buzz

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce says there is no question that the encampment at the courthouse is having a significant effect on the downtown economy. Saying local businesses are suffering, because it has been allowed to remain.

Businesses have been reporting a significant increase in the homeless population as evidenced by panhandling and people sleeping in doorways or other public spaces.

The Chamber says it has had numerous meetings with government officials to address these concerns and will continue to do so over the coming weeks, in hopes the situation can be resolved.

Chamber CEO Bruce Carter spoke with CTV News, saying he “wants it gone” in reference to Tent City.

“We’ve heard people and customers feel unsafe because of the increase presence of homeless people. That’s a perception, but perception becomes a reality when you’re trying to sell goods and services.” 

Chamber CEO Bruce Carter says members have been pressuring for action, ranging from a greater police presence to more enforcement of bylaws in the area.

On April 14th, three prominent members of the business community addressed City Council over rapidly deteriorating conditions, particularly in the area of safety, in the Fort Street area, as well as general vicinity of Tent City.

Following a court decision to allow campers to stay at the Victoria courthouse site through the summer, the provincial government says it is working with the City of Victoria, along with fire and police officials, to develop a plan for safety standards to better protect people at the site and nearby residents.

 

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