I don’t know what is going on over at the VPD, but, under new Chief Jim Chu, the department has turned into a more active social-planning agency than the city’s social-planning department. Last year, the police issued a substantive report that documented how much time the police spend dealing with mental illness.
Shortly after, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the opening of the 100-bed facility out in Burnaby for the city/province’s most challenging cases of people who are mentally ill, drug addicted, homeless and/or sick.
Now they’ve come out with their prescription for fixing the Downtown Eastside, which essentially boils down to creating a special task force headed by a kind of czar to tackle the neighbourhood’s problems. They say one of the issues is that no one agency has oversight over trying to make life better.
You can read their full report here.
Let’s see how quickly the province moves on this one. It would be interesting to see if that happens. As you all will recall, the city tried to create an agency to focus on fixing the Downtown Eastside. Negotiated under previous mayor Philip Owen, the Vancouver Agreement was supposed to target the neighbourhood with programs to improve the quality of life, reduce crime, and encourage economic activity.
It had a hard enough time keeping the three contributing governments co-ordinated on what to do and eventually foundered when the Conservatives were elected federally, because they were definitely not that into supporting the Liberal-supported program.