Dozens of West End residents concerned about a growing number of break-ins and other security issues attended a meeting where the city unveiled a new action plan on Thursday evening.
The plan has 22 recommended action items including increasing police presence, ensuring homeless encampments are removed within a 24-to-72-hour timeframe, and establishing stricter accountability for scrapyards regarding suspected stolen goods such a catalytic converters.
West End resident Kim Christie-Gallant started the initial petition back in May, calling upon the city and the Codiac RCMP to increase security in her neighbourhood.
That led to the series of public meetings that spurred the action plan.
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She believes the plan is too vague.
“When there’s a proper plan done, there should be quantifiable numbers attached to it and timelines, which this one doesn’t have, so as of right now it’s still (just) promises,” she said.
Many of the recommendations have appeared on previous reports, like the joint report issued by the Task Force on Homelessness and Downtown Security, the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee (GMHSC) and the Codiac RCMP in November 2021.
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The plan released by the GMHSC and the Public and Downtown Security Action Plan released on Thursday include calls to implement a satellite RCMP office on Main Street.
The office was previously set to open in June, however Codiac RCMP Interim Superintendent Benoît Joliette confirmed on Thursday it is now set to open sometime in the fall.
Several recommendations involve increasing police presence even though the RCMP is in the midst of nation-wide staffing shortages.
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Joliette believes staff increases could be possible.
“Whether it becomes provincial or even national priority to staff Codiac RCMP, I’ve seen it happen in other provinces where they push the panic button and they need to find people. The academy in Regina is still ongoing, there’s troops starting every week,” he said.
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold said the City needs additional support from the province to tackle the “crisis situation.”
“Mental health and addictions are provincial responsibilities. Something that we’ve been advocating for a long, long time, is the need for wraparound services,” she said on Thursday.
She said the city has had “over 20” meetings with provincial health authorities with the goal of putting on a pilot program for homeless individuals with complex needs.
Moncton South MLA Greg Turner, the province’s only representative at Thursday’s meeting, said the province was “working on supporting the city.”
The City will be launching a consultation website where residents can sound off about the plan in the coming weeks.
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