The City of Terrace has removed two benches on the 4600 block of Lakelse Ave. to combat the problems of loitering and anti-social activities that were reported by local businesses.
The benches – on the sidewalk, outside Local Leaf Cannabis – were removed in mid-May.
“Council directed staff to remove the benches after businesses in the block requested they be removed because of the loitering and undesirable activities taking place on the benches,” said city spokesperson Alisa Thompson.
While businesses on 4600 block had been requesting to remove the benches since last year, the city was reluctant to do so because the benches are meant for public use, said Thompson.
Councillor Sean Bujitas mentioned in the May 25 council meeting that local businesses said that the removal of the benches made a world of a difference to them.
At the same meeting Coun. James Cordeiro also said that the removal of the benches is not something to be celebrated, referring to the vast extent of the problems faced by downtown businesses.
“To me having removed those benches is not a victory but a defeat and a bitter pill to swallow. But the reality is that it needed to be done because we didn’t have any other mechanisms of dealing with the immediate problem in an immediate way,” said Cordeiro.
A spokesperson for Local Leaf Cannabis store, said that the removal of the benches by the city is a timely intervention and a welcome move as they were one of the businesses directly effected by intoxicated people gathering around the benches.
“We were tired of having to deal with physical altercations, littering caused by broken liquor bottles, racist slurs and destruction of store property and harassment of our customers by people who would gather at these benches,” said the spokesperson.
Other business owners on the block also told The Terrace Standard that removal of the benches have helped local businesses by limiting the scope of gathering for intoxicated people.