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Edmonton releases community safety plan that would fund Indigenous-led shelter, community micro-grants

Click to play video: 'Plans to make Edmonton safest city in Canada' Plans to make Edmonton safest city in Canada
WATCH: The city wants to make Edmonton the safest city in Canada by the year 2030. On Wednesday, the plan for how to do that was unveiled. As Dan Grummett reports, even the city manager admits it's a lofty goal. – May 11, 2022

The City of Edmonton has released details around a new Community Safety and Well-being Strategy plan that could see millions of dollars in funding used to create an Indigenous-led shelter, a new emergency dispatch centre, and micro-grants to improve community safety.

The plan — which council will debate in the coming weeks — aims to address seven tiers of issues in the city: anti-racism, reconciliation, safe and inclusive spaces, equitable policies, pathways in and out of poverty, crime prevention and intervention, and well-being.

City manager Andre Corbould said Wednesday that the plan came together after extensive discussions with community groups and recommendations from the Safer For All task force report, and was also guided by ConnectEdmonton and The City Plan.

“Our goal is to make Edmonton the safest city in Canada by 2030,” Corbould said. “We want each person in Edmonton to belong, feel connected to the land and their community, and have the opportunity to build a good life here.

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“As a city, we are the sum of the interactions we have with one another,” Corbould said. “We know that some Edmontonians are in pain.”

The plan recommends approximately $8.4 million in funding be allocated from the Edmonton Police Services Funds portion of the city’s fall budget.

Read more: Edmonton Police Service to receive less funding than expected in 2022

Several projects Corbould confirmed would be funded if the strategy is approved would be $1.55 million to be distributed in micro-grants for communities dealing with security and safety issues and $1.5 million to fund an integrated call and dispatch centre for emergency calls.

The creation of an Indigenous-led shelter and extreme weather protocols would also each receive $1 million.

Improving the city’s drug poisoning response would receive $25,000, and peace officer training would receive $415,000.

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Some of the funded goals, including the Indigenous-led shelter and new call centre, would also receive additional money in 2023, when the safety strategy would see an additional $18.7 million allocated from city funding.

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“They are lofty goals,” Corbould said. “And I think the way we achieve them is by being very clear on what the intended outcomes are.”

Ward pihêsiwin Councillor Tim Cartmell said that while he agrees the plan is vast, it’s meant to start change — and conversation.

“We’re not going to change the whole world from little old Edmonton,” Cartmell said. “But we can change the context and how we administrate and adjudicate and talk about how we manage the particular challenges we have here.

“With the way we set up our systems, with the way we might need to adopt and change some of those systems — some of those unconscious systemic challenges that present to people from vulnerable populations.”

The plan is set to be debated by councillors at the May 16 Community and Public Services Committee meeting.

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