A new pilot project is being launched to discourage people from sleeping in the doorways of downtown shops.

Security hired to move downtown Mission homeless

Mission is hiring two security guards to patrol the streets from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. to move along anyone found sleeping outside a business.

A new pilot project is being launched to discourage people from sleeping in the doorways of downtown shops.

Mission is hiring two security guards to patrol the streets from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., six days a week to move along anyone found sleeping outside a business.

The project will be reviewed by district staff after two months and at that point, council will determine whether or not there is a need to continue.

The guards will patrol N. Railway Avenue, First Avenue, and Second Avenue. The cost of the project is expected to cost close to $3,500 a month.

Mayor Randy Hawes introduced the idea for the program at a council meeting this week.

“More and more, we’re hearing from merchants who come in the mornings to open up their place, there are people sleeping in the doorways and they don’t want to move,” said Hawes. “Business doorways are not a place to sleep.”

Mission RCMP Insp. Ted De Jager noted security guards have the authority to move people off private property, but not public spaces, like the sidewalk.

If a guard calls police to help, RCMP will treat it as a priority, said De Jager, adding officers try to visit downtown in  the early mornings too.

“We know there is one particular store with a large open area for the homeless to hole up in,” said the inspector.

Coun. Pam Alexis noted that same building has been the target of vandalism as well, and those sleeping in the space often leave trash behind for merchants to clean up.

Business owners The Record spoke with didn’t want to comment on the issue for fear their shops would be targeted.

Panhandlers are also getting more aggressive, said Hawes, who suggested anyone who sees such behaviour should try to discreetly take a photo of the aggressor and let police and other merchants know who to watch out for.

Hawes believes downtown is safe and wants the public perception to reflect that.

De Jager advised anyone being attacked to call 911, but he said he can count on one hand the number of calls from citizens who have actually been assaulted in the downtown core.

“For the average person, it’s very safe,” De Jager explained.

“For people in an undesirable lifestyle, it’s not.

“It doesn’t take long for us to figure out who is attacked and who did the attacking.”

Mission Downtown Business Association president Carlo Billinger said more help is needed and looks forward to making some changes.

“Hiring security is a first step to recognizing there’s a social problem which has increased as of late,” said Billinger.

The pilot project was passed unanimously by council and is expected to begin when all the pieces are in place, but a firm start date has not been determined.

 

Just Posted

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Mission MP Brad Vis has kept busy since the election

Local federal representative spoke with several members of the Mission Chamber

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Most Read