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A councillor in British Columbia’s capital wants residents to be compensated for the lawlessness he says is prevalent.

Councillor Stephen Hammond is proposing financial compensation for businesses and residents affected by this problem.

“Residents who are repeatedly exposed to the consequences of crime, nuisance and/or social disorder due to the location of their business or home, wonder why they pay the same taxes as other residents and businesses that are not confronted with the same negative activities,” the motion states.

“One perspective is that the city should pay some of the costs of responding to these activities for those who pay taxes but do not have the same city experiences as most others. Another perspective is that the city should pay for the loss of the standard of peace and order that characterizes most residents and businesses in Victoria.

Hammond’s motion is currently before the City of Victoria’s General Committee.

Hammond cited in the motion a growing number of complaints from taxpayers who feel left behind, particularly those near the 900 block of Pandora Ave., where residents have been struggling with debris and a perceived lack of law enforcement following the 900 Block Sweep.

In May, the Victoria Police Department cleared the block of a large number of camps, a move that was condemned by activist groups.

Since then, homeless camps have moved to the street and surrounding areas, but the city is doing little to address the problem, residents and business owners say.

“No one was surprised when tenters moved into our block and almost immediately began collecting trash. Shelters and piles of trash were left without removal

“Since the morning after the cleanup,” an anonymous local resident complained in an email cited by Hammond.

“We will take on what we dare, but we are not responsible for the location of these spoiled, aggressive, messy, disruptive people. We are concerned that Bylaw has been criticized for doing their job and trying to show respect for those of us who feel trapped on Pandora Ave and yet still contribute to the city’s coffers.”

Businesses also echo this sentiment, reporting frequent cases of property damage and inadequate enforcement by the ordinance and police. The situation is so serious that some have resorted to hiring private security, a costly measure that underscores the urgency of city action.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that the amount of street people that are constantly walking on this street is affecting our business. We shouldn’t have to deal with this. Our customers shouldn’t be afraid to come into our store,” said one business owner quoted in Hammond’s motion.

Hammond warned in his motion that he is aware that new programs must be sustainable and not set precedents that the city cannot maintain.

He asks the council to instruct staff to thoroughly investigate possible compensation methods, taking into account suitability, duration and financing. Similar initiatives in other locations should also be considered.

True North has reached out to Hammond for comment but has not yet received a response.