Edmonton community leaders react to city’s safety plan

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Edmonton community leaders react to city’s safety plan
WATCH ABOVE: Community leaders are reacting to the City of Edmonton's public safety plan, which aims to address and prevent violent crimes in the wake of two men being killed in Chinatown last month. Sarah Komadina reports. – Jun 10, 2022

An autobody shop is not a place where you would expect flowers, but at Albert’s Autobody in Edmonton’s Chinatown, customers are paying their respects three weeks after Hung Tran was killed.

Owner Anthony Hai said his employees describe the feeling as a dark cloud hanging over them.

“If they stay home, they will just think about it, and it seems to me they are just keeping up and just trying to do as much as they can right now,” he said.

“When you lose someone in a case like this, it’s different than if they retire, or if they (are) sick… In this case, everyone is stepping up.”

Two fatal beatings in Chinatown in mid-May have highlighted an urgent need for more supports in Chinatown.

“It shows at the government level that unfortunately, mistakes are made too often, and in this case it cost a couple of lives,” Hai said.

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“The police have done a better job in the last two-and-a-half weeks than I’ve seen in over 20 years.”

After Justice Minister Tyler Shandro demanded an action plan on addressing safety concerns in Edmonton, the city has put forward a report on how to improve safety in the core.

It outlines 12 recent actions the city has taken to support safety, focusing on public spaces, bylaw, cleanliness, communication and enforcement. It also outlines four streams of longer-term work, as well as specific requests for support from the provincial government to help address the multi-layered issue.

Michael Lee of the Chinese Benevolent Association said it’s a baby step but it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s going to be a long haul,” Lee said. “It’s not something that is going to happen within six months or a year or even two years. It will have to be a sustained effort by all levels of government and by society as a whole.

“I am encouraged the city and the province are working very closely together at this moment.”

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Puneeta McBryan of the Downtown Business Association said the city is doing everything it can to address safety issues in the core, but other levels of government need to also get on board.

“It’s a lot of combining efforts, making sure EPS, the city and peace officers — and everyone — is kind of talking to each other and working together,” she said. “These problems are so big and so outside of the City of Edmonton’s scope.

“I think in Edmonton we are concerned and angry. We need to be looking in the direction of the province and EPS and I think at this point, the city has demonstrated that they are willing to do whatever they can.”

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