Calgary city councillor Jeromy Farkas has come out with a new proposal to help people dealing with drug-related crime in the downtown area.
Farkas is suggesting that some of $25 million that the city has set aside for mental health and addiction initiatives should go to help businesses and residents spending more on security, particularly around the Sheldon Chumir Supervised Consumption Site and the Alpha House drug and alcohol treatment centre.
“We’ve reached a breaking point in our communities: [there are] local residents and business owners under tremendous stress, as well as financial pressure,” Farkas said.
“We can’t ask them to shoulder these costs alone.”
The potential program was welcomed by some people forced to protect themselves against drug-related crime, such as break-ins and vandalism.
The owner of a bookstore across the street from the drug consumption site improved his security system after a woman smashed the front window during a break-in.
Farkas will take his proposals for a relief program to Calgary City Council on Monday, July 22.
“If there are things that we can do in terms of potentially some kind of grant program, to be able to offset security costs… as well as offer more in-kind contributions from the city, I think it’s definitely worth us exploring,” Farkas said.
The program would come at a time when many small businesses are struggling for a variety of reasons.
“We’re dealing with heavier property taxes and things like that,” Lawrence said. “So we really appreciate that.”