As part of the City’s 2020 budget, Council approved important service enhancements aimed at increasing health, well-being, and safety in the community, with a particular emphasis on the downtown area. All of these service enhancements are now being implemented.
The Downtown Safe, Clean, and Inclusive Package of service enhancements comprises six areas:
- Police services have been increased to include a two member daily patrol downtown.
- Bylaw Services staff dedicated to the downtown have been increased from two to four officers.
- Contracted security are monitoring downtown civic facilities.
- Funding for the two downtown homeless service hubs that provide washrooms, storage, and other critical services has been renewed.
- Improved lighting, security, and daily cleaning at the 2nd Avenue parkade. The 5th Avenue parkade and the Canada Games Plaza also now feature security and improved lighting.
- Additional staff and equipment in Public Works to manage marginalized camps and deal with downtown cleanup service requests.
The package of service enhancements came about as a response to public feedback received during a special council meeting held on December 2 about the need to allocate additional resources to address social issues in the community. The meeting also led to the creation of the Select Committee on a Clean, Safe, and Inclusive Community.
The Committee is expected to provide a report to Council later this year, which will include additional recommendations on improving health, safety, and security in Prince George.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has instituted a number of initiatives to improve the downtown including:
- Crews with Prince George Fire and Rescue Services are now conducting downtown alley patrols each evening. Members patrol the downtown in the alleys from 1st Avenue to 6th Avenue and from Victoria Street to Lower Patricia Boulevard.
- Downtown Prince George is contributing to enhanced downtown cleanliness by working with the Prince George Brain Injured Group (PGBIG) to expand the hours of service provided by the Downtown Clean Team.
- Flushing and sweeping alleyways and sidewalks.
- Contracting the POUNDS Project Society to provide free graffiti removal for downtown businesses through the summer.
- Providing additional downtown washroom access at Canada Games Plaza and contracting POUNDS to monitor the facilities.
- The City of Prince George is administering the federal government’s Reaching Home Covid-19 Response Funding. This funding has been allocated to agencies, which are providing a range of services in the downtown.
- Staff have installed additional litter containers in the downtown area.
Additional downtown partnerships and services
The City has led or collaborated with other agencies in a wide variety of initiatives aimed at improving health and safety downtown, including:
- Integrated health and housing facility for 1st Avenue – an innovative project that would bring together new affordable housing and health-care services to support people in Prince George.
- Derelict building removal
- Dedicated increased RCMP presence – Downtown Unit
- Downtown Clean Team
- Discarded needle retrieval, needle drop boxes
- A new downtown pool – construction to begin later this year
- Wood Innovation Square next to the Wood Innovation and Design Centre
- Parkade upgrades on 2nd Avenue and a new underground parkade under construction across from City Hall
- A new home for the Prince George Famers Market at 3rd and Quebec, the future site of an arts-based Community Centre
- A new entrance to the Bob Harkins branch of the Prince George Public Library
Citizens can also contact the City anytime for issues such as needle pick-up by dialing 311 (within city limits), emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitting a service request online or via the cityofPG app.