Pubdate: Sun, 21 Sep 2014
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Times Colonist
Author: Aaron Hinks
Page: D9


Nanaimo residents living near Wisteria Lane showed city staff and 
local politicians the progress that has been done to deter drug 
addicts and prostitutes from using the alleyway as a safe haven.

The alley, which was given its name by the local homeowners, runs 
immediately west of the 100-block of Nicol Street behind a row of 
businesses and homes.

After collecting more than 70 dirty needles and watching drug deals 
on a near daily basis, frustrated residents got together in July to 
find a solution to the growing problem.

A group of homeowners living off the alleyway contacted the city and 
conducted a walkthrough with city planners on July 12. The residents 
categorized a list of priority items that needed to take place to 
reclaim their alleyway. The tactic that residents and city planners 
thought would be most beneficial is called crime prevention by 
environmental design.

The environmental design model includes a plethora of easy-to-do 
items such as removing graffiti, increase the lighting, adding no 
trespassing signs, adding garbage cans, and adding public art. 
Residents are starting to work on their own properties by lowering 
their fence height so they can see what's taking place in the 
alleyway from the safety of their home.

Several city councillors, the mayor and MLA Leonard Krog attended a 
second walkthrough last week to see the progress that has been made 
over the past two months.

Wisteria Lane resident Norman Abbey says he understands why the alley 
is convenient for drug users because of a 24-hour fast food 
restaurant, 24-hour convenience store, a methadone clinic and payday 
loan facility all within a two-block radius.

"Some of the institutions around here are attractants, you have to 
put yourself in the shoes of somebody who is addicted," Abbey said. 
"We see drug deals in this alley almost on a daily basis, we're changing that."

The residents have been working closely with city bylaw officer Wally 
Taylor, who has more than 20 years of experience working for the RCMP.

Taylor has an open line of communication with local RCMP and says 
there has been a reduction of arrests and "negative contacts" in the 
alley since July 12.

If the project keeps gaining success then drug addicts will have to 
find a new location, or alleyway, to use drugs.

"Through displacement, every time a hot zone, or hot spot, is 
displaced, you lose 10 per cent of that crowd. Sure, it's moving 
somewhere else, but it's not moving in its entirety somewhere else. 
You are losing some of those people that thought this was their safe 
place and now it's not. Maybe they realize it's time to quit or 
they're seeking help or making contacts with local agencies to get 
them off the drugs," Taylor said.
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