KARLA BERNARD: Calling on Minister Trivers to immediately hold a public meeting on the Community Outreach Centre

The community of Charlottetown-Victoria Park is feeling unsafe. The community has serious concerns about the safety and security of its residents and the clients of the Community Outreach Centre.

By ignoring the concerns of the community and the concerns of the clients, by choosing to misrepresent the reality or ignore it, the Minister responsible is choosing to place the safety of the community of Charlottetown-Victoria Park at risk.

Many have expressed concerns about the garbage around the Centre, including the safe disposal of used needles. There has been theft from residents including the theft of bicycles. There are concerns about loitering. There are not enough shelter beds in Charlottetown so people are sleeping in the hallways of private buildings, backyards, and in tents wherever they can find space. These are the direct outcomes of a government that has failed to invest in people and the services they need.

I have brought these concerns to the attention of Minister Trivers numerous times both publicly in the House and in conversations, meetings, and emails. In every instance, the Minister has questioned my account of the concerns of constituents in my district. His willful ignorance of the issues and refusal to take action has led to a crisis in our community.

 

Enough is enough.

The government has funded the Community Outreach Centre to the tune of just over $1M a year and as the Minister, he is responsible for the provision of services by the Community Outreach Centre. That includes funding it and helping determine how to use those funds to guarantee the safety of clients and the members of the community.

But, the Community Outreach Centre is a day service to support vulnerable populations and connect them to services and support. It is not a shelter.

The Minister is responsible for ensuring there is suitable shelter and enough space every night for those needing it. PEI has one of the lowest numbers of emergency shelter beds per 10k population in the country; in fact, two of the facilities that offer shelter have exceeded capacity in recent months. It’s clear our gaps in shelter beds are not being resolved by this government, especially as our most recent street count by the John Howard Society PEI shows that homelessness is on the rise.

I am calling for Minister Trivers to immediately hold a public meeting with the community – not next month, not next fall, right now, right away. He must give the people of Charlottetown-Victoria Park — the residents, businesses, and Community Outreach Centre clients — an opportunity to speak openly and publicly with him face to face.

Minister Trivers, stop hiding, stop ignoring, stop denying. It’s time for you to do the job you were appointed to do.

Karla Bernard, MLA Charlottetown-Victoria Park
Official Opposition Green caucus