A Walker's Community Checklist

The Gloucester City Center Safety Committee was active for the last decade of the existence of the City of Gloucester (Ontario, Canada). Our aim was that people feel safe in our community.

Our members included our Councillor, Pat Clark, and a member of the Gloucester Police. We worked for all people of all ages, visitors and residents. Since our community was already one of the safest in Ottawa, in turn one of the safest cities in North America, we focussed on people's feelings, so put on edge by unrepresentative news reports and TV shows. We succeeded so well that, when Gloucester was amalgamated into the City of Ottawa in 2001, our neighbours agreed that we had solved all their concerns about safety, so we did not need to reform under the new City.

Here is a checklist we developed for everyone to use when they went for a neighbourhood walk:

Does your neighbourhood fail? Then, find out who has the authority to correct it, and try to persuade them to do it.

Here's one example - replacing a burned-out light bulb! You see, the light was fastened to a facility originally built by the City of Gloucester, but maintained by OCTranspo, a Regional Government of Ottawa-Carleton agency. However, the fixture protruded beyond the building into land space owned by Ontario Hydro. Everyone claimed that it was someone else's problem. It was important for neighbourhood safety, as it illuminated part of the path used by residents of PineView to access the transit system across a mixture of provincial, regional and city lands. Finally, to make a long story short, we persuaded Gloucester Public Works to quietly remove the fixture cover's tamper-proof screws that none of the committee could figure out how to defeat, and to replace the bulb with a self-ballasted mercury lamp that should work for a decade or more.

Safety comes one step at a time. Safety is for everyone. And, Think it Through.

Safety-related contacts for Ottawa:

John Sankey
other notes on community matters