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October 27, 2017 3:45 pm

Host Team Has Positive Effect

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C.-The Downtown Host Team  initiative  will soon wrap up,  and by all accounts,  it has  proven to be a success.

Anthony Dalzell of Tourism PG, Kim Trudeau of AWAC, and Jesse Martens of Paladin Security-photo courtesy City of PG

This pilot project,  which started July 10th,  has folks in high-viz vests  walking through the core of the City,  interacting with local  residents, businesses, workers, visitors and the disadvantaged.

Made possible through a partnership involving  the City, Tourism Prince George, BC Housing, and the Association for Advocating for Women and Children (AWAC), the initiative’s goal was to foster a  safe, positive atmosphere for everyone  in the  City’s downtown.

Although the  effectiveness of the program won’t be fully reviewed until mid September,  the City’s Manager of Social Planning, Chris Bone,  says  the “ambassadors” have been collecting information  since  they  started  their  work in the downtown  over a month ago “We have quantitative stats the team has been collecting on a daily basis. It’s collecting  information about how many tourists enquiries, what’s the nature  of the enquiry,  what  services are you connecting people with, such as housing, health, food services, and just  keeping track of the number of incidents that security personnel may have either de-escalate or refer to the RCMP.”

Bone says they  are  also  doing a bi-weekly teleconference  with the organizing partners  for feedback, which, so far, has been  positive “We’re hearing good feedback from  businesses,  they are happy to see the team downtown and the team has been endeavouring to drop in and introduce themselves, which has been very well received by business owners. I know our partner outreach  team  (AWAC) says it’s a great way for them to continue to build relationships with their clients and also with  people who may not be aware of the services that are available to them in the downtown.”

Each “ambassador”  underwent training for that included  non-violent intervention skills, tourism resources and referrals and  protocols for contacting the RCMP.  AWAC  provides its own workers,  as does Tourism Prince George,  the City provided $15 thousand  dollars for the  security personnel.

The pilot project wraps up  September 10th.  The program will be reviewed this fall to see if it should  be reinstated next year.


In Kamloops the “downtown ambassadors” program has a similar purpose.

It is hosted by the merchants of Downtown Kamloops. They have a direct interest in such a program and would likely be better judges of its success rather than City Administration and Council.

If it is not successful for them, I am sure they would stop funding it or ensure that it is adjusted so that it will be a success for their purposes.

I am wondering why the City of Prince George decided to take a what appears to be a different approach.

downtownvancouver, the DVBIA funds the program though its membership fees. It has contracted the service out to Securiguard, a private security firm.

The DVBIA is responsible for program development, supervision of policy and procedures. Securiguard is responsible for hiring, basic security, training and managing personnel.

SOME STATISTICS from Vancouver

During the summer months, the Downtown Ambassadors® interact with over 90,000 visitors and make over 25,000 business referrals within the DVBIA area.

Each month Downtown Ambassadors® conduct 4,000-5,000 patrols of parkades looking for stolen autos, report crimes in progress or crimes that have occurred, help tourists or locals in need of assistance. Ambassadors recover numerous stolen autos each year.

The Ambassadors assist the Vancouver Police Department by alerting the police to suspicious activity or crimes that have already occurred or that may occur and recovering stolen property.

Downtown Ambassadors check on the welfare of street involved people between 50-150 times per month. They direct homeless people to resources and shelters and provide snacks. They provide warm clothing in the winter and hydration during hot weather.

Each month Ambassadors conduct about 4000 ‘Meet and Greets’ with downtown business owners and managers. This includes providing information packages about the DVBIA and Ambassadors to new businesses and doing ‘check-ins’ with all businesses on a regular basis.

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