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Downtown business owner running for Prince George city council

Tackling crime downtown is the No. 1 priority for John Zukowski

Downtown business owner John Zukowski will be running for a seat on city council, when voters go to the polls in October.

Zukowski is the owner of Pacific Body Jewellery & Piercing and a spokesperson for the Prince George Downtown Business Advocacy Group. He’s lived in the city for 17 years and operated a business downtown for the past 15 years, he said. However, since late 2018 or early 2019, the situation for businesses downtown has gotten rapidly worse.

“Job No. 1 would be to deal with the crime downtown,” Zukowski said. “Crime (is) going up. We are seeing more homelessness, more vandalism, needles and refuse left by addicts.”

In one instance a downtown business owner, a senior, was hit in the face by a shoplifter, he said.

“When you’re getting your windows punched out and you can’t claim in on your insurance, because otherwise your (premiums) will go up. At $2,000 each, it gets expensive,” he said. “Things need to change.

In addition to tackling crime in the downtown, there is a major lack of mental health and addiction treatment options in the north, he said. The city should be pushing hard to see the provincial government invest in creating a large new addiction treatment centre in Prince George to serve communities across the north.

As a member of the Prince George Downtown Business Advocacy Group, he helped push the city to establish the Safe, Clean, Inclusive, Downtown Committee, he said. However, he feels the committee hasn’t been able to achieve what it should.

That’s what prompted him to decide to try to “change things from the inside” at the city.

Zukowski said he’s also concerned about “out of control spending” at city hall and the lack of oversight by city council.

“Council is not kept up to speed. There is no accountability there,” he said. “We need to get the city back under control, under the watchful eye of city council.”

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