The City of Surrey hopes a new response plan will help clean up 135A Street, notoriously known as the “Surrey Strip.”
Mayor Linda Hepner announced the plan Tuesday, which will address public safety and health concerns for the homeless and community around the area.
One aspect of the plan will see a new Surrey Outreach Team patrol 135A Street on a 24/7 basis to assist those living on and frequenting the street.
Their presence is meant to cut back on calls to first responders as well as target those who are preying on the vulnerable and to increase the safety and protection of property belonging to businesses and residents in the area.
The patrols will also be tasked with helping to connect those in need with recovery and treatment resources.
On 135A Street and the four blocks around it, there have been more than 5,000 calls to police so far this year.
“First responders have had to attend the 135A area on an increasingly frequent basis resulting in an ineffective solution which sees us connecting with these people briefly as a result of the call for service and then leaving,” Chief Superintendent Dwayne McDonald said in a release.
The team will consist of 12 Surrey RCMP officers and four bylaw officers working out of a satellite office in the heart of 135A Street, set to open in early 2017.
The area has seen unsanctioned pop up comsumption sites in the past. Now, in addition to the city’s announcement, Fraser Health has confirmed it is looking to set up two supervised consumption sites in Surrey: one near Surrey Memorial Hospital and the other in a temporary building on 135A Street.