Nanaimo city council approved three staff recommendations to spend a total of $69,000 to address safety at public spaces including Comox Park. NEWS BULLETIN file

City approves $69K for security and cleanup at parks

The City of Nanaimo will ensure security and needle sweeps at Comox Park can continue year-round

Nanaimo city council will ensure that security and needle sweeps at Comox Park can continue year-round.

At a meeting Monday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, council approved three staff recommendations to spend a total of $69,000 to address safety at parks and public spaces.

The recommendations came after concerns were raised in recent weeks about needles and other messes left behind regularly at Comox Park next to École Pauline Haarer. Councillors, at their March 12 committee of the whole meeting, had asked staff to meet with Nanaimo school district to discuss cleanups and security at shared spaces.

RELATED: Homeless activity leads to more security and cleanups at schools

“Our parks department, our bylaws staff, RCMP and the school [district] have been meeting quite regularly, specifically to deal with Pauline Haarer School, Comox Park and other areas,” said fire chief Karen Fry, the city’s director of public safety.

City bylaws staff walks through the park daily, but the city’s parks and rec department, which has been performing sweeps of the park twice a day, wasn’t going to be able to continue to do so due to increased maintenance duties in the spring and summer months.

Fry’s report, presented to council Monday, recommended that the city allot $24,000 to share the cost, with the school district, of a security guard to watch over the school and park, and $45,000 for one and a half full-time-equivalent seasonal workers to conduct park sweeps, needle pickup and cleanups at 10-12 hot spots including Comox, Maffeo Sutton and Nob Hill parks.

“Not only would they be doing the sweeps, they would be helping look after graffiti, they would be helping look after picking up trash that the homeless leave behind that we’re currently calling out contractors to maintain,” said Al Britton, the city’s manager of parks operations.

Fry’s report also recommended that Comox Park be added to existing day and night security patrols, a no-cost initiative.

Coun. Bill Bestwick spoke in favour of the spending, noting that council had approved $350,000 for spending to address homelessness and saying he supported matching funding for parks safety measures.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo women look for forward steps at march

Nanaimo Women March On held downtown on Saturday

Nanaimo candidate, premier address spec tax at B.C. NDP event

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

RDN board to vote on spending $150,000 for mapping software

ESRI Canada successful RFP proponent, RDN to vote as part of 2019 budget

Nanaimo’s École Hammond Bay school unveils new gym expansion

Larger gym can accommodate home games and assemblies

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 17

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read