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Council postpones bylaw change dealing with Lower Patricia Boulevard homeless camp

Prince George city council postponed final reading of the amended Parks and Open Space bylaw for a future meeting. The bylaw would formally allow temporary overnight sheltering in the area of Lower Patricia Boulevard. Under the proposed amendments, temporary overnight sheltering will continue to be prohibited on any other municipally-owned property.

Council has now endorsed the province’s Homes for People plan by offering Prince George as a pilot community. The provincial plan includes “more homes to support people experiencing homelessness” and “new actions to close encampments.”

Decisions on proposed security enhancements (including private security options) for the Lower Patricia area were also postponed for another meeting.

The recommended option provided for two security guards in a vehicle for 12-hour shifts, seven days per week. The roving patrols would operate within the vicinity of the encampment, to include Upper Patricia, the encampment boundaries, and the industrial areas east of Queensway. These patrols would act as an early warning for 911 response, in an “observe and report” capacity.

Cost estimates are approximately $400,000 per year, and do not include ancillary expenses.

Council directed staff to provide information on further enhanced security and safety options.

Council authorized constructing no-post concrete barriers along the Lower Patricia accessway to ensure emergency vehicles access.

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