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John Wishart (91.9 The Bend Photo)

Chamber awaits plans once winter shelters close

By Tara Clow Mar 28, 2023 | 11:53 AM

Businesses continue to be frustrated about homelessness and crime in Moncton’s downtown.

Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton CEO John Wishart says not much has changed since a plea was made back in December, “A lot of the calls and emails we get with complaints have shifted from Main Street to St. George with the opening of the emergency shelter. We are waiting and hopeful of some plan between the province and city as to what happens on April 30th when those two emergency shelters close.”

He adds they are still hearing concerns from businesses every week.

Last week, the provincial budget was released but the Chamber felt, aside from an additional $3.2 million for the creation of emergency shelters, there wasn’t much to tackle homelessness.

The document stated the government “is exploring the addition” of 50 inpatient beds for the highest acuity mental health and addiction cases, but Health Department officials admitted that is a commitment to explore the idea, without confirmation of funding.

The Chamber has long advocated an in-patient facility is needed to get help to the most seriously ill.

In December, four organizations representing Greater Moncton’s business community came together calling on the City of Moncton and the Province of New Brunswick to take immediate action to address homelessness and downtown crime.

This included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc., 3+ Economic Development Corporation and Destination Moncton-Dieppe.

At that time, 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.”

With files from Allan Dearing


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