Concerns from the Nelson Business Association around the Baker Street amenity areas has led to an interim solution to the problem.
During a meeting last month, members of the business association expressed concern around safety and how the people that had been using the area had become an ongoing problem.
“The amenity areas are a big issue,” said owner of Cottons Clothing Noreen Lynas. “Do we open them up? Do we change them? What do we do? A lot of people are feeling like we don’t want to lose that ambience on Baker Street because of those amenity areas, but we need to deal with some stuff that is going on in those areas.”
Since the meeting Lynas said she has noticed a change in the area.
“I know in the last couple of weeks the Nelson Police Department have been making a concentrated effort on that amenity area,” she said.
“I think the police certainly read the story in the Star and said that they needed to deal with some stuff there because it was becoming an issue. It is an issue. The last couple weeks I have seen a change since I’ve been walking through there.”
Nelson Police Department chief Wayne Holland said that in co-ordination with the business owners and city staff they have been working to help defuse the problem that had developed in the amenity areas.
“I’ve heard from a few business owners that they are very pleased with our efforts,” said Holland.
“The police can only do so much, especially when relying on bylaws as opposed to criminal code. What we’ve done is we’ve had a talk with business owners and with city hall staff and what we’re trying to do is show a visible presence down near specifically those amenity areas.”
Uniformed officers have been spending time walking into the identified areas and are talking to the people using the areas.
“That way we can let everyone know on both sides of the issue that we’re there to keep the peace between them,” said Holland.
“If required, if there’s a victim or someone who wishes to call us and there is a criminal act we can take action where required, but for now we’d like to just stabilize things until a final resolution can be arrived at and that will be in consultation with council.”