Safer McCauley: Updates and Events
In May 2019, a Safer McCauley Community Conversation hosted the Residential Living Governance Committee (RLGC) to speak about its work addressing problem properties. That meeting kickstarted a series of developments that have led to a shift in the City’s approach to the long-standing issue.
At an October meeting of City Council’s Urban Planning Committee, the RLGC was instructed to develop a more aggressive action plan, in consultation with members of communities most affected by problem properties. City Administration has since met several times with a group of community members to better understand their concerns and collect their input on how to more effectively deal with problem properties.
Amongst community members’ concerns are the need for 1) improved public communication, 2) accessible reporting mechanisms, 3) ongoing public engagement, 4) a meaningful role for community in developing solutions, 5) a sustainable long-term strategy, 6) a clear definition of what constitutes a problem property, and 7) improved enforcement of existing legislation.
The Problem Properties Initiative team has reviewed its practices and developed its new action plan. Administration will present the plan to the Urban Planning Committee on March 16. It will be available to the public two weeks prior. A confidential online problem property reporting form is online – go to edmonton.ca. and search “report a problem property.” Please see page 10 in this paper for a City bulletin regarding the Problem Properties Initiative.
Needle debris is also a concern in McCauley. Safer McCauley has convened 16 organizations to co-design improved responses to the concern. The meetings have produced positive outcomes.
Boyle Street Ventures has confirmed they will pick up stray needles from private property. Service is available Monday to Friday (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. -noon). Community members can call Boyle Street Ventures at 780-426-0500 for service. This service is currently free of charge, barring any change to funding. Calls to 311 requesting needle clean up on private property are now referred to Boyle Street Ventures. Capital City Clean Up continues to respond to calls regarding needles on public property.
Crews from The Mustard Seed and Boyle Street Ventures proactively clean up needles on public property. Talks are underway to expand this service, bring more organizations into the work, and co-design a coordinated model.
If your household requires a sharps container for safe needle collection, please contact me directly. Safer McCauley currently has containers available free of charge. Used containers can be dropped off at MINT Health Church Street or an Eco Station.
*McCauley Dog Walkabout *
(next walk March 19th)
The Walkabout promotes presence, connectivity, vibrancy, safety, and health. Please consider joining your neighbours for a 30-minute “pack walk” through our community every month. A new route is explored each time out.
These events are great ways to test out possibilities for promoting safety through vibrancy, cleanliness, and beautification.
Coffee with a Cop
(next event April 7th at Zocalo – EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED)
Coffee with a Cop brings community and EPS together to build relationships and share information. Join Downtown Division Beats for coffee and learn about recent changes to their personnel and deployment.
McCauley Litter Squad
The Litter Squad is a collective community approach to addressing loose garbage. One-hour “litter blitzes” are organized in coordination with City of Edmonton Big Bin Events and the MCL-E4C Annual Community Clean Up. Trucks circulate on these days to pick up unwanted large items free of charge. Stay tuned for event dates.
A March 2019 Community Conversation brought stakeholders together to discuss possibilities for positive street-level activities. The McCauley Community League, McCauley Revitalization, and Safer McCauley subsequently partnered on a back-alley activation party. That partnership is now discussing an alley beautification event, involving building and installing flower boxes. These events are great ways to test out possibilities for promoting safety through vibrancy, cleanliness, and beautification.
Thank you for taking an interest in the well-being of McCauley. Consider getting involved. Reach out to your neighbours. Follow Safer McCauley on Facebook to learn about events and engagements. And, don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me directly.
Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.