Safety, Parking, and Off-Leash Dog Areas
Being on the McCauley Community League Board means dealing with a variety of issues and concerns of residents in the neighbourhood. Here are just three issues that have reemerged recently.
Concerns about safety in the neighbourhood wax and wane, but they never go away entirely. Unfortunately, that’s part of life in an inner city neighbourhood. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t come together to take action.
Recently, the area around Giovanni Caboto Park and the La Dolce Vita Café has been a lightning rod for concerns about safety and criminal activity. Residents have reported fighting, drug deals, and loud arguments. Some residents, especially young families, are fearful about going to the park.
The McCauley Safety Council, which is composed of local residents and businesses, the MCL, police, and City bylaw officers, has talked about ways to increase a sense of safety. On August 24, Councilor McKeon invited community groups to a discussion on safety in McCauley facilitated by REACH Edmonton. Boyle McCauley News will be reporting on the results of that meeting in the next issue.
Members of the MCL Board will be participating in that meeting. As well, the board is reaching out to the Safety Council to better coordinate our efforts to help make our neighbourhood a safer place. The fact there are no easy solutions won’t stop us from working together on actions to enhance community safety in McCauley.
A revitalized downtown and the opening of the new arena are good for the city, but inner city neighbourhoods like McCauley are also bearing some negative effects. Parking and traffic congestion is emerging as a real problem.
Finding parking is already a problem in the neighbourhood due to commuters, events at the Stadium, and staff from the Royal Alexandra Hospital. It will only get worse with the new arena and other new downtown developments.
Recently the League’s zoning/development committee met with City engineers to talk about parking concerns in McCauley. The City just created a two-hour limit on parking on some streets in Chinatown close to the arena.
While the City can’t act on our concerns about parking right away, we did agree on three strategies: 1) the City will study parking and traffic volumes around the new arena to determine if parking bans or limits are needed; 2) McCauley residents/businesses could request a residential parking program in 2017; and 3) do a study of parking in McCauley to better understand the patterns.
We will continue to work with the City on this and the League will be reaching out to residents, businesses and other groups to talk about parking and traffic.
The fact there are no easy solutions won’t stop us from working together on actions to enhance community safety in McCauley.
As the guardian of a high-spirited nine-month-old German Shepherd named Pita, I’m always looking for new places to walk her. If you have a dog, you’ve likely already discovered the “unofficial” off-leash dog park in the neighbourhood in the rolling hills just west of the Stadium parking lot and the laneway behind 92 Street.
I say unofficial because it’s not a designated dog park. I was curious about how a park space becomes a dog park so I contacted the City. Apparently the City just approved the Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy which updates how it manages off-leash areas. The City won’t be approving any new areas as it implements the plan over the next year. In the meantime, there are existing areas in Eastwood and Jasper Avenue and the Riverbank.
Finally, our Treasurer Shauna reports that effective September 11, the free swimming times for MCL members is Sunday afternoons from 1-3 at the Commonwealth Recreation Centre.
Phil is President of the McCauley Community League.