"We just don't know what to do:" Terrace declares crisis in downtown over social issues.

terrace downtown

In recent years, the City of Terrace has struggled with the issues of homelessness, addiction and safety in its downtown core.

This week, city council officially declared that downtown is in crisis.

Mayor Carol Leclerc says calling this a crisis isn't dramatic – rather, it's “the unfortunate truth” that other agencies and levels of government need to hear.

“It's been a couple of years of people and businesses having to clean up needles and fecal matter,” she said in an interview with CFTK.

“There's people yelling in the streets, there's people fighting – people don't feel safe in the downtown. Businesses are having to go out in pairs when they have to take out the garbage."

The city's first step in response to this crisis is to host a town hall on the issue, where residents can air their concerns and pitch ideas for how the city's social issues can be addressed.

"What we really want to do is we want to hear from people. We want to hear if there are some ideas that we have overlooked,” she said.

“We just don't know what to do anymore. So that is part of having a town hall meeting."

Terrace Hearing Clinic lead audiologist Joely Viveiros says she doesn't feel safe in the downtown anymore, and the issue is getting worse.

“We had somebody defecating right outside the front window,” she said.

“We weren't here at the time. It was in the evening – we were closed but somebody took a video of that happening. I've had to put a gate up along my entrance because people will sleep in there. And when I did put a gate up, they broke it. So I had to strengthen the gate.”

Viveiros, who came second in this month's city council byelection, also discussed struggling with graffiti, unruly pedestrians and theft outside her office on Lakelse Ave.

“The other day I left a bag out there, a suitcase full of stuff for my equipment, and it went missing. Just disappeared."

She says she wants to see the city actually take action on these issues, rather than just talk about them.

"I don't really feel hopeful that anything's going to change with some kind of public meeting or declaration because there doesn't seem to be a thought-out plan for how they're going to address this."

Although it's still not certain when the town hall will take place, Leclerc said the city will be inviting B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson to attend the event.