Problems unaddressed

An open letter To Mayor Lyn Hall and Prince George City Council:

Mayor Hall, I have not been writing letters over the last while, as I have not had a lot of general complaint about your leadership, other than the amount of monies you have been spending during your term. But that will be a future letter, directed at your leadership.

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My concerns at this juncture are about the larger most established businesses in this city

that are leaving, for a variety of reasons, some that are the fault of the city's lack of

response to ongoing problems.

First, let's deal with Northern Hardware. This is a company that has city involvement for over

100 years and I feel has been the mainstay of the city. The next company is Spee Dee

Printers, another company that has been a leader for over half to three quarters

of a century.

I see Lowe's is also leaving, what a shame for the mall, all malls need an anchor.

Now they will say that the reasons are varied, the trend today is to e-commerce,

consumer trends changing, populations declining etc. but the main issue as I see it, and I

have been here for well over a half century myself, is the changing nature of the

downtown core. That is the inability for the city guardians to manage the events around

the city.

I know in the time I have been here, and only in last few years, the downtown

core has been over run with panhandlers, addicts, thieves, and homeless types, but the

majority of them are homeless because they do not wish themselves to partake of the

services, because they do not want to conform to whatever house rules that they might

have to adhere to for shelter etc. I do know that my wife and I will not venture downtown after dark, because of the danger to ourselves, as a result of the addicts, thieves and

panhandlers that are there, all the time.

The problems around these people has been going on for some time, Mayor and councils

have chosen not to find solutions, nor for that matter have taken any positive steps to

control these issues. I know, I know, you will say what do you mean we have built needle

exchanges, we have built transitional housing, we have held public meetings, we have

held private meetings, but the problems just get worse and worse. We have opened our

doors to the dregs of other communities, during times of need, and guess what these

people stay because of all the facilities we have, far better from wherever they came

from. I spoke to a policeman earlier this year and he said to me the small town in the

Kootenays does not have these problems, because as he said we have no facilities there,

so they travel right on through.

I ask are these the contributing members of society which we are trying to attract to our

once thriving community? I think not.

I know you are going to say our community is still thriving and building permit values have

reached an all time high but is that a result of cost going up, or other factors as a year of

your obscene spending, fire halls, swimming pools, police stations, a couple of major

hotel, motel buildings? Yes there is some residential construction, but not as result of

anything you have done I am sure. I also see there there is a proliferance of pot stores to

open in Prince George, I know you can hardly wait for the revenue stream to start with

them, but they will likely fail also, as they can not compete with the illegal business, is it not strange that you pay $50 for two grams of pot, and you can buy a barrel of oil for

about the same money!

When the Northern and Spee-Dee goes, I am sure there will be less and less people

going to town. I am sure that there are a bunch of smaller businesses that are hanging on

by the skin of their teeth, putting up with a losing battle and with the above

mentioned downside, of nothing being done, that will be closing their doors. What a

shame, I love my city, where I have been paying taxes for years, but hate to see it

slipping away.

You spend hundreds of thousands on city wages, on overspending city workers, take for

example the sink hole at Massey and Carney this year. Absolutely no reason for it to take six months and likely millions to repair. I am sure a contractor would have had that done in a month. I said in my last letter to you that if mayor and council was running the city, and not the unions, things might be different.

The city, the RCMP, and all the government agencies are the ones that have to make the

decision to have, enforce, and utilize the power and the balls to make it work.

Oh, and as a final shot Mayor Hall, someone in the administration must be asleep at the

helm, for the life of me I can not understand why, in the 90s we had a population of

approx. 80,000 people, now we have a stationary population of around 70,000 people, we

have vacancy rate of about four per cent, we have new residences being built in several new subdivisions. My question is with a stagnant population, first who is buying these new

houses, and who is buying the houses where people are moving up into the new houses,

and why do we have such a low vacancy rate?

One would have to think we likely have an increasing population, and if we are, why are

we not getting the extra federal increases to support this population expansion?

A concerned citizen

Bill Manders

Prince George

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