The City of Trail is ramping up cleaning efforts in the downtown core.
As a result of the Apr. 19 emergency Governance and Operations Committee (GOC) meeting, Trail’s public works unleashed the flusher truck and began a robust clean up of the back alleys throughout downtown Trail.
“The result in what we’re seeing is that our vulnerable citizens are having an increased presence in our community,” Mayor Lisa Pasin said at the meeting. “This looks like many things including but not limited to vagrancy, public urination, defecation, tents around the city, garbage, weapons etc. There is an increased level of discomfort with our citizens and our businesses and a decreased feeling of safety in our city.”
During the GOC, council passed several motions to address the rising concerns from businesses and the public on how to reduce crime and keep the lanes free of discarded drug paraphernalia, detritus and debris caused by drug use and homelessness.
“The city commenced the increased alley cleaning, which includes washing down the lower portions of the walls of the buildings where needed along with the flushing and sweeping of the roads, on Monday (May 3),” Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac told the Times. “The primary and most intensive focus is on the alley behind the shelter but all downtown alleys will be included as necessary.”
The city’s bylaw officers have been trained in proper “sharps” collection and conduct patrols of the alleys to collect any needles and debris before the cleaning and flushing takes place. They also alert individuals prior to the flusher’s arrival.
“We are finding the cleaning to be effective so far and have heard from impacted businesses that the conditions in the alley are much improved,” she said.
Career Development Services (CDS) who runs the shelter, has been proactive, and added an additional camera to survey the whole of the back alley between Bay and Cedar Avenues and Helena and Spokane Streets.
In addition, public works director, Chris McIsaac, will be reaching out to FortisBC to inquire about the feasibility of installing street lights on the existing utility poles in the alleys.
“We’ve asked CDS to consider if there is any way to improve the lighting from their building as a short-term solution.”
The meeting also heard a recommendation to relocate the alleys’ dumpsters, which also serve as a source of shelter and sustenance for some. The city decided against it, however, as the pungent garbage receptacles would cause problems wherever they were relocated.
CDS is also taking the lead in removing graffiti from the backs of buildings in the area. They sought approval from the building owners then purchased paint and supplies to cover and/or remove the vandalism.
“Once the city has completed a few passes through the alley for cleaning purposes, CDS and the shelter clients (although not responsible for the graffiti) will help with the painting,” added McIsaac.
In addition, the city is sending advocacy letters to various federal and provincial government ministries and agencies for guidance and potential funding for enhanced services.
McIsacc says the city is intent in keeping the lines of communication open with downtown businesses and residents and informing them of the actions taken to address these most difficult issues.