The Kamloops Accommodation Association (KAA) may have been doing its job in coming to the defence of a string of motels and hotels that have been the news recently due to criminal and other unsavoury activity occurring at and near the West Columbia Street properties.
But the claim by the KAA that owners of the motels and hotels in question have been unfairly targeted by the city and police deserves some scrutiny.
The KAA claims a nearby city-owned park and the people hanging out there are responsible for many of the nuisance complaints associated with the motels and hotels in the area. The KAA said the complaints are due to larger social issues, including homelessness, addiction and mental health.
“We find it inappropriate and irresponsible to shame private businesses that are falling victim to broader social issues, and that this localized problem is being aided by public park space that does not have active security,” the KAA stated in a letter.
There is no doubt social issues are directly tied to problems at these motels and hotels, but to cite a nearby park as the main reason for numerous police calls?
There are a string of motels in Valleyview that have long been the source of similar criminal problems, yet there has not been, to our knowledge, a nearby park and its inhabitants tabbed as the problem.
The Sandman Signature and Double Tree by Hilton hotels are downtown and very near open parks with people dealing with the aforementioned social issues, yet police and bylaws are not kept busy attending calls at those establishments.
We are pleased to see work being done to improve the situation on Columbia and we recognize problems faced by staff, as noted in by motel owner Manga Basi, whose comments are important.
But the bottom line is the owners of the motels and hotels are responsible for the tenants and visitors in the rooms and on the properties.