The first community event for the South Wallaceburg Action Team has been deemed a success.
Marjorie Crew, a former Chatham-Kent councillor and a coordinator with the Chatham-Kent Police Service Community Mobilization group, said the community social event held at the Moose Lodge on Saturday was a way to find out what local residents are interested in seeing in their community.
“Do they want to join the association? Whats important to them? Is it getting things cleaned up? Is it lighting? Is it activities for kids?,” Crew told the Sydenham Current.
“Do they want to see more of these type events where you break down barriers, you give away a free hot meal and a free hot chocolate? You can come with your whole family or you just come out, meet and greet, learn about things that are in the community.
Crew said the representatives from the Chatham-Kent Fire Department, Chatham-Kent Police Service CIRT squad and the Chatham-Kent Public Library were in attendance at the event.
“Just a few resources to help get people together,” she said.
Const. Lynette Hodder, a coordinator with the mobilization group, said the Wallaceburg Community Mobilization Committee, which was made up of a number of agencies, was started a couple years ago.
“To address some of the issues that were occurring at West Court and South Court,” she said. “Since those issues have been addressed, we decided to go on to a new focus.”
Hodder said some research was completed, and it was found that the southside of Wallaceburg was receiving a lot of police calls.
“Not all criminal, so a lot of social disorder calls,” she said.
“We had already started a group in Chatham central. It was blossoming there, things have taken off, so we thought maybe Wallaceburg could use a little ‘TLC’ in the south Wallaceburg area, much like Chatham central. So we thought ‘hey lets give it a shot’. We held a couple of meetings to see if there was any interest and obviously there is. So here we are. I think this may be the fourth or fifth meeting. First event for the group. Things are taking off.”
Const. Deb Lefreniere, another coordinator with the mobilization group, said the the goal is to make Chatham-Kent the safest community for all its residents.
“What we are doing is trying to get everyone involved to see how they want to improve their community,” she said.
“Whether it’s through making a community garden together, improving walk ways, improving lighting in areas of high crime. We just want to get everyone together just to get their opinion and to form a group. Together we can solve a lot of issues.”
Lefreniere said the community mobilization section is still new.
“We are working with community partners and community members to work together to do proactive policing to resolve issues in the community proactively,” she said.
“Part of our umbrella is to work on this project. Just like Marjorie did with East Side Pride, it is the same thing. It is proving the signs of crime are lowered because criminals don’t like to set up camp where communities are working together. They don’t want to be in view.”
Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley was in attendance on Saturday, and he also brought hot dogs and buns… and was cooking and serving them up as well.
“Marjorie, Lori Turner (a volunteer member of the group) and the whole group here… the police, everything here is fantastic,” Wesley said.
“This is something that I think is long overdue. I am a south-sider at heart. I was born and raised on the southside and I know some of the challenges from when I was growing up. It is great to see everyone coming together. This is a fantastic turn out. Only good things are going to come from this.”
The next meeting for the group is scheduled February 6 at 4 Reaume Avenue in Wallaceburg, inside the community room.
A presentation will be made about community gardens and how to develop them in your community.
Here are some photos from the social event on Saturday:
– Photo credit: Dana Haggith