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New strategies needed to promote neighbourhood wellness

Dear Editor This is an invitation to the people of the Battlefords to join us in celebration of neighbourhood wellness. Sept. 11, from noon to 5 p.m.

Dear Editor

This is an invitation to the people of the Battlefords to join us in celebration of neighbourhood wellness. Sept. 11, from noon to 5 p.m., the North Battleford East Side Good Neighbour Network (NBESGNN) is hosting a block party for neighbourhood wellness on the 1200 block of 107th Street in North Battleford.

A stage, featuring entertainment and a jam session and children's activities are in the plan. There will be free hot dogs and refreshments. Any food left over from the block party will be donated to the local food bank.

From a holistic perspective, neighbourhood wellness includes keeping our neighbourhoods safe, comfortable, physically attractive, environmentally friendly, not crime friendly, ensuring social issues are being dealt with and people are watching out for each other. Since the inception of the NBESGNN, the most common interest people have held is we need to watch out for each other. Most believe a neighbourhood watch should be initiated and city councillor Trent Houk is working to get the national watch program going here. Many in our neighbourhood and I believe the national watch program falls short in meeting the needs of neighbourhoods like the east side.

While on this journey, I have spoken to many folks and they have shared some great ideas and they need an opportunity to be heard in a public meeting. There needs to be a panel representing the City, RCMP, Boys and Girls Club, social services, Concern for Youth, the rentalsman and public health, to name a few, and they will be invited. The reason for a wide scope of representation on the panel is that many issues need to be addressed - by-laws, child/elder abuse, vandalism, disrespectful neighbours, health issues, criminal activities, vandalism and slumlords. It seems that if we attend to all the problems and report them to the right person we can approach the source from all angles.

For example, one block of residents in the city, because of concerns about some troublesome neighbours, sent a petition to the landlord of the house and the tenants were quickly evicted. I'm not saying this is a good or bad idea, but the outcome was to send these people to another neighbourhood looking for emergency housing. There could be numerous issues rising from that situation that could include a host of social problems. There were more than likely children in that situation.

The people I've spoken to see the neighbourhood watch as a way to network, share slumlords' phone numbers, have a buddy system walk-around and create resource information. Some are talking about having home video surveillance systems and would share security tapes when a crime has been committed to assist the RCMP with investigations. There would be an information sharing and local alert system using Internet/Facebook/e-mail/texting for neighbourhood incidents. For example, if a child goes missing many could be reached quickly, especially in the event of an abduction. Gang activity, drug houses and suspicious behaviour could be reported to a central source and this compiled information could be forwarded to the RCMP as it comes in for their logistic and tactical needs.

I have heard of reintroducing the COPS program, but there are some who think it doesn't work, especially with the lack of direct communication with the RCMP.

Some excellent ideas come out of those neighbourly "across the fence" moments, but it is time for people to share their thoughts and concerns in a public forum to brainstorm and seriously look at making our neighbourhoods better places to be. This is our chance to share our experiences and ideas and the panel can clarify points and questions. The panel would have a wealth of information and is necessary in this. It is time for this community to step up and make a difference and make our streets safer and our community a better place to live.

A meeting is set for Friday, Oct. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, North Battleford. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. This is a special invitation to east side residents, but the general public of the Battlefords are welcome because this needs to go beyond the east side of our city.

Please join NBESGNN Facebook group (

Steven Cormons

North Battleford