Chamber pushes for trespass act to address downtown drinking, loitering

There's no easy fix to the downtown social issues that conflict with tourism and business, says Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

There’s no easy fix to the downtown social issues that conflict with tourism and business, says Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

Drinking and loitering in the downtown core and along the waterfront is an ongoing issue for the chamber, Karp said in an interview this week.

Some businesses have come together in the last year or so to ask the Department of Justice for a trespass act, so that business owners can at least deal with security issues on their properties.

But even that won’t really solve the problem, said Karp.

“One of the issues that came up, was, if we start in our businesses to not allow these social problems to enter into businesses or the downtown core, where are they going to go? They’re just going to move to another location, and it’s going to cause problems in this other location.

“Which is what we’re seeing happening along the waterfront. The beautiful new wharf had, or recently had, graffiti on it, and some loitering going on there. And with the trolley passing through, with tourists and everything, it becomes an issue.”

A spokesperson for Justice confirmed that the department has met with members of the chamber about their request for a trespass act.

The department’s current priority is to draft a new Land Titles Act and a new Condo Act for tabling in the spring, according to the statement. “The request for trespass legislation will be considered when future legislative priorities are determined.”

Also, “persons or businesses may find there are applicable criminal code provisions available to address trespassing or loitering,” according to the email. “Generally, use of the those remedies require police involvement. There may also be common-law remedies obtained through the courts.”

Back in 2007 the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce produced a document, “Who’s minding your business?” with a checklist of things business owners can do to elevate the security of their properties.

There has been an increase in requests for that pamphlet in the last year or so, and the RCMP is also using it to help educate business owners, said Karp.

But the long-term fix will take much more, he said.

“Social issues have always been an issue and probably will stay here until we all make a determination to fix it.

“It’s almost like education. Education is a community effort. A child doesn’t just get educated by teachers, a child gets educated by the community.

“And these social issues will not be resolved by one department – Health and Social Services, or, Department of Justice putting people in jail. These issues will be resolved when the community steps up and works as a community to resolve these social issues.

“And I’m talking about businesses, governments, municipal governments, First Nations governments all working together to say, ‘How are we going to resolve this issue, how are we going to help resolve the social issues and the people who are in desperate need of assistance.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read