Nearly 100 days have passed since Christina Trang’s father was murdered in his Chinatown shop, and the community’s requests for change in Edmonton’s Chinatown neighbourhood from the city continue to roll in.
The city has tried to make Chinatown safer by reallocating resources, such as officers from the Edmonton Police Service and social workers from other parts of the city.
These changes could be made permanent through the Healthy Streets Operation Centre and would cost more than $15 million – a cost the city is hoping the province will cover.
The city has yet to receive an answer from the province to its request for funding.
However, Alberta’s labour minister, Tyler Shandro, said in a statement that: “Alberta’s government will continue working with the city to provide support for social services and public safety, however, it remains primarily the city’s responsibility to ensure safety on the streets of Edmonton.”
“It’s time that those words are backed by real action, by the provincial government, otherwise communities will continue to be disappointed,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said.
Council agreed that it can no longer wait for the province to pitch it so they voted in favour of covering the cost itself using money from the community and safety wellbeing fund.
“It definitely gives some light to the community just in hopes maybe we are able to restore that vibrancy in Chinatown,” said Trang, who continues to show up at city hall to advocate for a safer neighbourhood.
City council said it will continue to advocate to the province for funding, adding that the request for more housing and social services isn’t unreasonable.
“Treat us like you treat Calgary,” Sohi said. “Give us the same support that you give to Calgary to end houselessness.”
With this same amount of support, “we will be able to make a huge difference in the lives of Edmontonians who are struggling on the streets, who are dying because of the opioid crisis, who are dying because they don’t have a safe place to go to.”
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