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Left to right: Susy Campos, John Wishart, Jillian Somers, Patrick Richard (91.9 The Bend Photo)

Moncton Groups Demand Action Re: Homelessness & Crime

By Allan Dearing Dec 2, 2022 | 2:17 PM

Four organizations representing Greater Moncton’s business community are calling on the City of Moncton and Province of New Brunswick to take immediate action to address homelessness and downtown crime.

Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc., 3+ Economic Development Corporation and Destination Moncton-Dieppe released a letter to City of Moncton officials during a news conference on Friday at the Delta Beausejour Hotel.

The four business groups estimate the number of homeless in Greater Moncton is now between 500 and 700 people – a figure which has doubled in just over a year.

Their joint letter calls for five actions:

  • A plan to reduce rising crime in the downtown;
  • Adequate shelter and support services to reduce the number of homeless individuals living on both public and private lands, including the estimated 44 tent encampments around the community;
  • Establishment of a Mental Health and Addictions Court with corresponding rehabilitation services;
  • Adequate mental health and addiction services in the community;
  • Additional funding for affordable housing with wraparound services.

Chamber of Commerce president John Wishart said he’s concerned about what will happen when the World Juniors come to town later this month.

“I shudder to think what could potentially happen if a visiting family from the U.S., staying in this hotel, walks to the Avenir Centre for a game and something happens. Then it gets out in the media and that’s the story… globally.”

Wishart said downtown businesses are being negatively affected.

“They have lost customers because they’re not comfortable coming downtown, especially after dark. Their staff are increasingly worried about walking to their car after dark and so they’ve hired walkers or security to get them to their car.”

“We conducted a quick survey of 21 of the largest property owners in downtown Moncton,” Patrick Richard, executive-director of DMCI, said.

“Over the past 18 months, these 21 companies have spent more than $2.4 million in extra security to protect their businesses, staffs and customers.”

The four groups fear the current situation and the rising number of homeless and criminal activity threatens the region’s reputation.

“Affordable housing with the proper wraparound services is fundamental to a housing-first homelessness strategy,” said Susy Campos, CEO of 3+.

“The investment in Rising Tide was a good start but isn’t nearly enough to deal with the need we are now seeing.”

The new Destination Moncton-Dieppe group, which was formed to support the region’s tourism and hospitality industry, fears a loss of reputation and visits if Greater Moncton avoids dealing with the issue.

“We deal with group tour operators and meeting planners all the time,” Jillian Somers, CEO of Destination Moncton-Dieppe, said.

“They have many, many choices on where to take their clients. We need to do everything we can to protect and build on our reputation as a top place to visit.”

Following the news conference, the mayors of Dieppe and Riverview stood next to Moncton mayor Dawn Arnold who said she’s glad the business community has stepped up.

“We have to get to a better situation in our tri-community to ensure that our citizens, our businesses and our most vulnerable, are safe.”

Dieppe mayor Yvon Lapierre urged the province to do its part and cited the huge budget surplus which was recently announced.

“There’s also a major responsibility to the province. To me, that’s been the actor that’s been missing in this picture.”


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