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Shelter opening threatens to close neighbouring business

The Fix Cafe reports business decline and staff issues
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The arrival of a homeless shelter adjacent to The Fix on the southside is causing problems for staff and customers. (Staff photo) The arrival of a homeless shelter adjacent to The Fix on the southside is causing problems for staff and customers. (Terrace Standard staff photo)

The co-owner of a business says it may have to close because of the anti-social behaviour inside and outside of its premises since the opening of a homeless shelter a few doors down this spring.

In a letter to city council, Jason Levecque from The Fix Cafe said customers and staff have been harassed and there have been problems with public fornication, panhandling, defecation, fires, intoxication, drug use and more since the Joe’s Place shelter opened this spring at the former Elks Hall on Tetrault St. across from the grounds of Mills Memorial Hospital.

“The shelter has caused stressors for our staff and caused them to worry for their safety when they come to work,” Levecque wrote. “The current situation is not sustainable. We have seen a decline in business and have had to cut back on staff hours.

“I am confident that most of the decline in business can be attributed to the problems caused by the shelter.”

The Ksan Society’s Joe’s Place replaced its Turning Points shelter on Lakelse Ave. this spring.

It contains 40 beds, a sharp increase over the 22 at the Turning Points location and is now considered a permanent shelter by B.C. Housing, the provincial government’s housing agency.

Levecque did say there is generally assistance provided by the city’s bylaw and community safety officers, the RCMP and Ksan when requested.

For its part, Ksan has hired a private security company to keep an eye on activity on its property.

Ksan did build a fence along its property line with the mini-mall where The Fix is located but Levecque said large groups of people gather at the fence, taking drugs, drinking and playing music.

In a handout entitled ‘Good Neighbours’ Ksan listed services connected to Joe’s Place, including having its staff do a daily collection of used needles and garbage from the property and surrounding area.

It also says the shelter is always open so there is no increase in foot traffic caused by having specific opening and closing times.

“Staffing levels are dynamic and are adjusted regularly to suit the capacity and needs of the shelter,” the handout states.

Ksan has also provided a list of agencies and phone numbers for people to call in case of an emergency or any other situation requiring a response.