Good Ideas Matter: Enhance Safety and security

It’s been a wild council term when it comes to the safety and security of the city. Most times, you’d think of fire, police, enforcement and ambulance. You’d think of crime rates and whether you felt safe walking down your street. Well, Covid-19 added a whole layer of consideration to this mix.

Covid-19 required Council, our Administration and the Emergency Management team to make decisions that always kept the city and its residents safe. This meant unpopular decisions to some (mask bylaw, closing public buildings to the public, cancelling events, slower re-opening times) and it meant making decisions that previous councils have never have to make before. Anyone who ran in 2017 did not have a pandemic on their bingo card. We didn’t have previous council decisions to see how best to manage the spread of a deadly disease. We did our best. We managed as best we could. We did it as a team. We relied on the experts including our Emergency Management team to help guide us through and it was not easy. But we all did what needed to be done and protect each other. We’re not out of the woods yet and it’ll take strong leadership to continue to steer the ship steady through this 4th wave.

Erin Stevenson standing in front of the new protective services building in Spruce Grove

The Ideas

There are 3 sections- ideas for going forward, current initiatives in progress, and initiatives that have been implemented

2021 Ideas Going Forward:

  • Working for the city should be a safe place to work, free of harassment, including from ratepayers, contractors and anyone dealing with them at City Hall. Council is accountable to the ratepayers, but it does not mean they have to put up with harassment and harm either. I propose the introduction of a “Council Workplace Safety policy.
  • A common complaint is speeding on neighbourhood roads. It’s time to consider whether a 40km/hr speed limit is appropriate for our neighbourhoods.
  • Keeping our youth safe in locations where many gather. Consideration for cameras in locations like the Skate Park and Central Park should be explored.
  • Introduce Street Labs Spruce Grove. This can include reviewing the crosswalk policy. As our city gets bigger, cars get faster and kids are more mobile than ever (with many ways of being mobile), it’s time to review our crosswalk policy. Edmonton started a new Street Labs project earlier this year snd Street Labs exist around the world as a way for neighbourhood residents to be in control of the safety of their neighbourhoods, finding innovative ways to curb speed and keep people safe.

Initiatives Currently In progress:

  • We brought a more transparent ATE program to Spruce Grove, but it doesn’t mean we should always be reviewing ATE. This has to be ongoing and annual work *
  • Continue to assess our staffing and apparatus/vehicles for fire, enforcement, police and ambulance. In this past term, Council was able to make fire staffing levels a priority (we now have the right staffing levels for our size of city) *
  • relationship with “Citizens on patrol” or local neighbourhood watch groups *
  • Crime in our city has come down significantly in the last few years and a stronger RCMP presence in the city has been evident. Continue to review crime stats and ways we can keep residents and businesses safe. Crime statistics are now provided online. *
  • Support the work the new Community Road Safety Advisory Committee is doing.
  • Support the purchase of additional electronic speedway monitors- they work!
  • Continue to press the Covid recovery strategy in the city.

Initiatives that have been implemented:

  • I was lucky enough to be the council member to bring forward the motion to install a crosswalk in front of Prescott school. Council supported this initiative unanimously. We need to keep our school kids safe.
  • We have a fully indexed number of firefighters, a number that has been targeted for years and in 2021, it has been achieved. *
  • Council brought in a temporary city mask bylaw in 2020 (it has since been repealed) when the province was reluctant to do so. Safety of residents and preventing the spread was a number one concern and true leadership was shown during a time that any decision involving Covid created division. businesses sage and secure
  • With the legalization of Cannabis, Council had to create and review a number of bylaws to accommodate cannabis sales in the city.
  • Two years in a row, Council supported an enhanced community policing budget that allowed the RCMP to work additional hours within the city, patrolling parks and trails and being seen more regularly within the community.
  • Just a few months prior to Covid-19 emerging, Council passed an Emergency Management bylaw, so the city was prepared for any type of emergency (pandemic wasn’t on the list!). Amazingly, we did not have to declare a state of emergency in the city during the pandemic.

A * denotes this idea was a part of my 2017 campaign platform and was happy to support and vote in favour. It does not mean I was responsible for it as it is a council decision to move any initiative forward.