Safer McCauley: A Year in Review

The past year has been very active for the movement to promote a safer McCauley.

McCauley Community Convener
In the fall of 2017, a McCauley Community Convener was hired by REACH Edmonton Council for Safe Communities. Operating under the principle that “A Connected Community is a Safer Community,” he meets with diverse stakeholders, encourages engagement, builds relationships, promotes information-sharing, and assists community members in connecting to the resources they seek.

McCauley Community Safety Meetings
Since the creation of the Convener position, eight McCauley Community Safety Meetings have taken place. The meetings are an inclusive mechanism for connection, engagement, sharing, learning, and empowerment. The meeting group is increasingly broad, comprising residents, businesses, service agencies, community groups, EPS, REACH, City of Edmonton, the Office of the Highlands-Norwood MLA, and invited resources. Through 2018, meetings have seen a dramatic increase in resident and service agency attendance.

Community Safety Meetings have showcased expert panels and connected community to information-sharers. Specific topics have included Licencing, Gaming and VLTs, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), and Community Asset Mapping. A meeting in May 2018 hosted a Safe Consumption Services and Needle Clean Up panel and attracted 46 stakeholders.

Community Input
Community Safety Meetings are not only about connecting to resources. They have become a way for community members to influence outcomes. Through interactive exercises, stakeholders have participated in defining a safer McCauley, prioritizing community concerns, identifying community assets, and brainstorming community-driven crime prevention initiatives. Data collected will help determine how to focus resources and has the potential to benefit many parties, including EPS, the City of Edmonton, community groups, service agencies, and businesses.

Safermccauley.ca
Community Safety Meetings are an effective forum for the discussion of safety-related issues, but attending is not a commitment all community members can make. A website – safermccauley.ca – now allows everyone to stay connected to the process. The website contains information on past and future meetings and links to safety-related resources. Most significantly, it provides access to the exercises facilitated at meetings. This inclusive and democratic element allows all stakeholders to actively contribute on their own time, in their own space and at their own pace – regardless of circumstances. Visit safermccauley.ca to have your say.

Community Safety Meetings are not only about connecting to resources. They have become a way for community members to influence outcomes. Through interactive exercises, stakeholders have participated in defining a safer McCauley, prioritizing community concerns, identifying community assets, and brainstorming community-driven crime prevention initiatives.

The Year to Come
2019 promises to be a year of increased action. A community meeting group has been established. Connections to valuable allies and resources have been made. And, tools have been put in place to promote community interaction and participation. The pieces are in place for the development of community-driven initiatives to add to the work that EPS and the City do to promote safety in McCauley. Some initiatives may address safety more directly. Others may promote vibrancy and connectedness – and, in turn, safety. Ideas under consideration are a community walkabout, safety signage, engagements with EPS, community dinners, positive street-level activities, and participation in City programs such as “15 to Clean” and “Partners in Parks.” Watch also for updated Neighbourhood Response (“Who to Call”) documents from the City; community conversations focussing on Safe Consumption Services and Problem Properties; and, on February 8, Resource Connect 2019 – an annual event designed to connect McCauley service providers to one another and to the community at large.

Consider getting involved in 2019. Stay connected via safermccauley.ca. Attend a Community Safety Meeting. And, don’t hesitate to share your ideas with McCauley Community Convener, Mark Davis (mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca) or McCauley Safety Council Chair, Elisa Zenari (elisa.zenari@gmail.com). A connected community is a safer community.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Mark is the REACH McCauley Community Convener.

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Next Issue . . .

Volume 40, Issue 1 will be published February 1, 2019. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also accept submissions of poetry, and cartoons. Deadline: January 12, 2019. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.