It’s been said that great works are not performed by strength, but by perseverance. More apt words could not be said about the tri-communities of Inglewood, Prince Charles and Sherbrooke. Members of these communities came out on a cold, icy evening earlier this year to speak with Councillor Bev Esslinger in a Community Conversation session and share their experiences on how to move forward past challenges that these communities have faced.
“Thank you for your time and your positive recognition of the community residents involved in this process. I’ve already witnessed progressive changes. We are not where we need to be, but I see hope for a great future. We are taking our community back and it shows.” – A proud Inglewood Resident.
Coun. Esslinger was very thankful for the community members’ time and efforts in participating in the conversation. In response to the concerns brought forward during the Community Conversation, a number of initiatives and updates are planned, including the addition of a new Community Safety Liaison position.
In April 2016, Cecily Poohkay started as the new Community Safety Liaison with the Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (NET), partnering with Edmonton Police Service’s West Division. Her role is to create crime prevention and reduction strategies based on involvement with the community, so that people feel safer where they live. Although the West Division is made up of 35 communities, Cecily’s primary focus has been the tri-communities.
“Communities have so much knowledge and expertise. Most of my role so far has been connecting with people to find out what’s important to them from a safety perspective, what’s already working well in the community and what strategies can be created so that people feel more connected and safer in their neighbourhoods. This could be anything from starting a neighbourhood watch in Prince Charles, to developing a graffiti reduction strategy in Inglewood to doing engagement around traffic changes in Sherbrooke.” – Cecily Poohkay, Community Safety Liaison, Neighbourhood Empowerment Team.
A range of additional topics came out of the Community Conversation, from lighting to increased connectedness and neighbourhood revitalization. Overall, three major themes emerged from community members: Traffic Safety, Engagement and Communication. In response to traffic safety concerns, an intersection mural is being planned for spring/summer 2017 in the community of Prince Charles to add beauty to the neighbourhood and focus drivers’ attentions to what matters most, people in the crosswalks. A community event is being planned in the communities of Sherbrooke and Prince Charles to help share information about traffic developments and to give residents the opportunity to provide welcome feedback.
In response to concerns about crime and safety, and together with a passionate community member providing his time to be the community representative, a Neighbourhood Watch Program is also starting in Prince Charles.
Capital City Clean Up was contacted regarding the chronic graffiti in Inglewood and will assist with the development of a graffiti reduction strategy, including speaking at schools in the surrounding area. Cleaning crews have been monitoring Winnifred Stewart Park every Monday morning leading up to the park celebration which was held on August 20, 2016. Cecily has also been in communication with Telus and the community regarding a strategy to wrap DSL boxes and cabinets in anti-graffiti skins. The community has also taken a lead role in one of the most effective strategies for reducing graffiti; quickly recording, reporting and removing.
There are many more things happening in the tri-communities, but what is important is taking the time to acknowledge the many hands that make it happen, and the hard work residents are putting in to make their communities safer.