First, I want to thank the downtown merchants for bringing forward their concerns. I agree that there are many things that could be done to make our downtown even better.
Second, while it wasn't the case in the past, having been a city councillor for four years, I now know more about dog complaints than I ever thought possible. I understand concerns about dogs, downtown or elsewhere.
Third, as someone who is four feet, 10 inches tall, I agree that drunks can be scary to anyone, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and short people like me.
But drunks can be scary, whoever they are. I can be as scared of a young drunk man who may have a job or goes to university and who has too much testosterone and alcohol in his system as I am of any other drunk.
The vast majority of drunks, however - homeless or housed - don't cause problems. Otherwise, the RCMP would need 40 not 12 officers on duty when the bars close at 2 a.m.
Finally, just like many people, I feel uncomfortable seeing beggars on Kamloops streets. I once went on a trip to India where there are far, far more beggars than Kamloops has ever known. I asked a business man I met there whether he felt uncomfortable being asked for money day after day. His simple answer was that every time a beggar asked, he felt blessed that he was so lucky that he had the means to help others. He didn't give money every single time, but he always felt blessed. His simple statement changed my view of beggars, in India and also here in Kamloops.
This Christmas season, I hope many, many people come to Kamloops downtown. It's one of the best downtowns in Western Canada. And that is because of the hard work of the KCBIA, the RCMP, City bylaws staff (and also the gardeners), along with groups such as ASK Wellness, Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan, the New Life Mission, PIT Stop, and many other great organizations.
COUN. NANCY BEPPLE,
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