Ralston Bill Will Promote Safer Neighbourhoods
VICTORIA - Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston has introduced new legislation that promotes safer neighbourhoods by holding landlords accountable for criminal activities occurring on their properties.
“It’s time for B.C. to catch up with other provinces and bring in strong measures to target criminal organizations and gang-related activities operating in residential areas,” Ralston said after introducing the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act.
The SCAN legislation sets up a director to receive confidential complaints from residents about illegal activities in their neighbhourhoods. In cases where illegal activities are confirmed, the director can pursue a variety of actions ranging from working with landlords to resolve the problem to court action if necessary.
Ralston’s legislation builds on SCAN legislation enacted in other Canadian jurisdictions, taking into account concerns related to evicting vulnerable tenants.
He noted that Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland have all made similar legislation a key part of their strategies to improve community safety.
“Manitoba has used this kind of legislation to close down hundreds of illegal operations running out of houses,” Ralston said.
“That’s why it receives wide support from local police forces, municipalities, and residents wherever it’s in place,” said Mike Farnworth, the official opposition’s public safety critic.
Ralston worked in concert with the Whalley Enhancement Association in bringing forward this act.
“This law helps not only those in Surrey, but residents across the province. Municipalities have been forced to compensate for the lack of provincial leadership on public safety through bylaws and other programs. SCAN provides stronger legal tools to curtail problem residences B.C. wide,” explained Ralston.
A number of local councils have expressed support for the Association’s call that B.C. adopt SCAN legislation: Dawson Creek, Creston, Greenwood, Port Alberni.