Downtown concerns

Education and collaboration will be essential parts of addressing downtown Fort St. James concerns around loitering and public drunkenness.

Education and working together will be essential parts of addressing downtown concerns around loitering and public drunkenness.

Local Staff Sergeant Paul Thalhofer has been in meetings with various stakeholders and said the solution will have to be a collaborative one.

“Really, at the end of the day, it’s a social problem,” he said. “We’ll do our part, but (the community) has to do theirs as well.”

His comments were echoed by Sina Elrick, the Hops Cold Beer and Wine store manager.

“That is a social issue,” she said. “Right now, we’re feeling like people are pointing fingers at us because we moved.”

She doesn’t feel this is necessarily fair, because the problem was always there, only it was not as much in the public eye, but it still impacted the store’s business. She hopes the higher visibility of the issues around public drunkenness will help the community come together to find a solution.

The problem will require a lot of discussion and education, according to Thalhofer, including rights education and education about the law, as sometimes there are case laws which can have a direct impact on how the Criminal Code can be implemented.

“Everybody thinks you can just go arrest people, but you can’t,” he said. “My way of dealing with it is to bring everybody together.”

Thalhofer said he conducted some training and education with the Hops Cold Beer and Wine Store staff this week, which helped clarify the staffs’ responsibilities under the Liquor Act and when they should be calling the RCMP.

He hoped the education would help to develop the relationship with the staff and management and so everyone understood the different responsibilities.

Elrick said the meeting with Thalhofer  was helpful for her staff and she’s also looking forward to the meeting  with other business owners, RCMP and stakeholders. The meeting will take place Tuesday, October 23 at the high school at 6:30 p.m..

“I think that meeting is going to be important,” she said. “We all need to come together as business owners.”

Elrick said she has had meetings with members of the Chamber of Commerce and with the building owner to discuss problems in the downtown.

“We’re all on the same page here,” she said.

Elrick hopes people at the meeting will come forward with ideas and solutions to move forward.

“We’re not hiding from this,” she said.

She said since she started her position as the manager last year, the business has been working on trying to improve the environment of the business and make changes to help all of their customers feel welcome and safe.

She said management-wise some of the change may not be visible, but there have been changes with regards to how they are doing things, including limiting empty returns and not allowing some customers back who continually break the rules and show up intoxicated.

She said customers who did not feel comfortable going to the store before are now returning.

Related stories:

Public safety versus the public eye

Spirit Square concerns


Just Posted

Tahltan reach benefits agreement over Seabridge’s massive KSM gold mine project

$308M agreement provides additional billions for Tahltan jobs, contracts

Stumpage costs to increase on July 1

MLA John Rustad speaks about the issues faced by the B.C. forest industry

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

Fraser Lake business offers equine therapy to deal with life stressors

The idea is to have diverse businesses that provide more options to residents and tourists says Kim Watt-Senner

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Most Read