Quesnel City Council has taken the first step towards potentially closing off the breezeway in the 200 block of Reid Street.
It was closed off for decades before it was re-opened in 2016 during major construction on Reid Street to allow pedestrians to move around town.
But it appears the problems that closed it in the first place have now resurfaced.
Councillor Scott Elliott explains.
“I work very close to this location and I have on multiple occasions seen drug use, alcohol use for sure. I feel uncomfortable walking through there for sure at times, but another aspect of this is it’s often used as a changing room as far as theft is concerned. I have seen on multiple occasions people coming out of my shop with stolen items, and they may be wearing a bright red ski jacket, and run in that direction. If you’re quick enough you can watch them come out in a blue jacket.”
Tanya Turner, the Director of Development Services, added that the breezeway was also in a bit of a state of disrepair and that bylaw has had a number of issues in that area as well.
She said the current building owner is fine with the city installing gates at each end of the breezeway, but doesn’t want to do it on their own accord.
Turner says the property is currently up for sale.
“So that’s a little bit of a twist on the proposal and that’s why part of the recommendation is worded as it is. The recommendation is worded that Council direct staff to work with the owner to establish an agreement for the placement and use of the gates, and that Council approves contributing up to 13 thousand dollars to the improvement of the space if staff feel an acceptable agreement can be negotiated. This includes making sure that, we don’t want to put up these gates if it’s not a long term goal for any future owner.”
Council voted unanimously to work with the current owner of the building, or any new owner, on an agreement for the placement and use of gates at either end of the breezeway.
It also voted to spend up to 13 thousand dollars on the project should staff feel an acceptable agreement can be negotiated.
Councillor Martin Runge was opposed, preferring to wait until it is sold to see if the business owner would pay for it.