Investing in Public Safety
Public Safety is the top concern for many BC communities, including Nanaimo. Visible public disorder related to street homelessness, the effects of toxic drugs, and untreated mental illness affects everyone, especially in the downtown.
City Council Responds to Community Concerns
Nanaimo City Council has heard from residents and is making investments to keep Nanaimo a safe and thriving place to live, work and play.
The costs of improving public safety will be reflected in the City budget next year, adding to property tax increases. With inflation at record levels, City Council knows that few homeowners and businesses want to pay more property tax. They also know that Nanaimo is growing and attracting more investment, more residents and more visitors. Investing in public safety is critical to serving and supporting our community.
Downtown Safety Action Plan
In June, City Council adopted the Downtown Safety Action Plan and committed to hiring 12 staff for a newly-created role called Community Safety Officer (CSO). Working every day from 6:30 am to 1:30 am, CSOs are concentrating on the downtown and city parks, addressing issues to prevent conflict and providing a welcoming, secure presence.
Two full-time Clean Teams are removing debris and garbage in downtown parkades and a Vandalism Grant is helping businesses recover some of the costs of property loss.
With CSOs at work in the downtown, Bylaw and RCMP officers can focus their efforts on the whole city.
Investing in First Responders
Nanaimo Fire Rescue Service does much more than put out fires. Their work also involves:
- Medical emergencies
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Hazardous materials
- Technical and other rescues
- Wide-scale emergencies.
A recent study showed that Nanaimo Fire Rescue performed more service calls per member than compared peers. The excessive work load means responding to emergencies takes longer and there are more members requiring extended sick leave.
To protect our growing community and support fire fighters, City Council voted to hire 20 new fire fighters this year plus 20 more in 2025, and agreed to purchase the equipment they need to do their work.
Police services will be bolstered by adding six civilian staff to Nanaimo’s RCMP detachment now, and nine sworn and civilian staff to perform administrative duties in the coming five years. Relieving officers of administrative work will give police more time to focus on protecting the community.
Safer Communities Action Plan
In response to pressure from a group of 13 BC mayors – including Nanaimo’s Mayor Leonard Krog -- the Province of BC is adding new funding for police under the Safer Communities Action Plan and has committed to strengthening enforcement and enhancing service delivery.