Getting Serious About Safety
Meetings and initiatives intend to deal with recurring issues in the area.
Problem properties and drug use/dealing were the overriding safety concerns of residents at a community meeting held on October 18, organized by the McCauley Community League. The effects of homelessness and mental illness were also frequently cited by residents in the roundtable discussions.
Not surprisingly, where you lived in McCauley affected people’s safety and security concerns. Some people at the meeting who live near poorly maintained properties owned by absentee landlords expressed their frustration at the inability of the City, the police, and the League to address the problems they are forced to live with.
Other people said their fears about safety had actually declined, or stayed the same, over the past few years.
When asked for two priority actions, residents had lots of creative ideas. People mentioned better managed rooming houses, a clean injection site, better application of current bylaws/policies, and better coordination of our efforts.
This neighbourhood meeting is one of a series of activities to address worries by local businesses and residents about safety and security.
As reported in the October issue of Boyle McCauley News, Councillor Scott McKeen recruited REACH Edmonton to host a meeting of interested groups that initially focused on addressing concerns about activities outside the La Dolce Vita Café and around the entrance to Giovanni Caboto Park. Several meetings have been held and REACH recently applied to the province for funding from its crime prevention fund to work with McCauley residents and businesses.
Led by the Viva Italian Business Association, several local groups, including the MCL, have requested that Alberta Gaming and Licensing look at the operations of the Café. The Safety Council of McCauley Revitalization is also taking the lead on several initiatives, including a community walkabout and a vacant lot inventory.
At its November meeting, the MCL Board determined that creating another safety committee wouldn’t make sense. Instead, the League can best support these efforts by connecting with residents and helping them share their experiences and stories which will better inform the strategies adopted to address concerns about safety in our neighbourhood.
Phil is president of the McCauley Community League.