Earlier today, Vancouver City Council approved funding that allows the newly-created Good Night Out (GNO) Street Team to operate until at least the end of January 2019.
The GNO, which is a non-profit society that supports nighttime public safety on the Granville Entertainment District (GED) in downtown Vancouver, has been operating since June 2018 with funds provided by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the Vancouver Police Foundation. However, these funds will be depleted soon.
City Council’s decision to provide GNO with a one-time grant of $20,000 will extend the group’s operational capability until early next year – until a permanent funding model can be found for the group.
The municipal government’s grant covers the cost of hiring six part-time staff, including four on-the-ground Street Team members and two logistics staff.
Supplementing and cooperating with the efforts of Vancouver Police officers, paramedics, and the security staff of the GED’s businesses, the Street Team members will work Friday and Saturday evenings between midnight and 3:30 am, and they are trained in skilled bystander intervention, conflict resolution, and first aid. They are equipped with first aid supplies, naloxone kits, water, snacks, and phone chargers.
The Street Team will support patron safety on the street and help curb the escalation of incidents, be a link between victims of assault and the police, and be a highly visible support for women and LGBTQ individuals.
Additionally, the team will write summary reports on incidents and collect data on patron interactions and demographics to help the municipal government better understand the number and nature of incidents on the GED and the effectiveness of the GNO program.
There has been a greater focus on effectively tackling crime and public safety concerns on the GED recently, especially after the death of Kalwinder Thinda, a 23-year-old nightclub employee, early this year.
In May, City Council also approved more patios, live music, and extended entertainment hours in the GED as part of an update to its liquor policy.
And then in June, TransLink launched a new NightBus District hub that provides all 10 NightBus routes with a new starting point at the well-lit hub at the corner of the intersection of Granville Street and West Georgia Street.
City staff will report back to City Council in early-2019 with a proposal on permanent funding for the GNO.
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