TORONTO-S.A.D.R.A park located inside the Old Weston Road and St. Clair Avenue neighbourhood, is a popular gathering spot for many families and their children.
But there are others who have been coming to the park, and their presence is well known to many in the neighbourhood. For several years now the park has become an injection site for drug users.
Shakira Rasul and Harsharan Sidhu grew up in this neighbourhood and told Global News, they often avoided the park because of the type of people who would hang out there.
“We would hear stories of people drinking and smoking and doing inappropriate things,” Shakira said. “It’s kind of sad because it’s the park and it’s the neigbourhood and there’s a lot of kids around here so I wish it was better”.
Over the last two months six used syringes have been found. Global News visited the park recently and during that time found: used marijuana packets, two syringe caps, part of a possible crack pipe, empty vodka bottles, and a used syringe.
“The fact that it is a park and there are children around, they like to play and they are curious, and they could find [a syringe] and hurt themselves,” area resident Jose Rocha told Global News.
But the community is not letting the drug use in the area overshadow what is a vibrant and growing neighbourhood.
To keep the park clean and safe, neighbours have come together to form their own neighbourhood watch, where they patrol the area looking for anything or anyone suspicious to report police.
“That’s kind of one thing that I like about this area, we are always looking out for each other,” Harsharan tells Global News.
Local city councillor, Cesar Palacio, says a lot has been done to clean up the neighbourhood. Palacio says a no trespassing property act has been enforced to keep strangers out of the park. In addition, he says a $35,000 enhancement fund was just granted by city council to help expand the playground at S.A.D.R.A park.
Meanwhile police are urging residents to report any suspicious individuals or actions in the park. They are also warning residents if they find any dangerous materials like a syringe, not to touch it, but call police to have it removed.
© Shaw Media, 2014