As our young communities have grown up have our public spaces kept up? Once youth move past splash pads, swing sets and slides and that age where they take ownership over everything ("mine, mine, mine" is often the refrain), do all of our Ward 12 communities have enough of, and the correct, features and activities to keep them engaged in their spaces and take responsibility for them too?
Our parks and public spaces are such an important and valuable element of thriving neighbourhoods. They are where parents and kids make first friends in their communities. It is where families find deeper value in the places they live. It is where bonds of community are formed. Community bonds can help improve quality of life, attract a healthy housing market, keep people safe, and lower costs when citizen engagement is high.
Unfortunately, when spaces don't grow up with their population, sometimes a sense of ownership and responsibility for those spaces diminish.
McKenzie Towne residents tell me there is a rash of vandalism in the Prestwick Common Splash Park, at ball diamonds, along fences on the berm, and much more. These incidences are believed to be caused by youth.
As an activator for communities and great neighbourhoods, I am passionate about creating ownership of spaces and helping people find reasons to take care of and contribute to their spaces and places. This extends to youth as well. As councillor, I will work to create a community engagement process that involves youth to figure out what they need. Some communities have tried and not succeeded in adding elements to their communities that youth would very much. I will work to broker solutions.
Our youth are valuable citizens. We all would prefer to see them using equipment and spaces more. I look forward to helping navigate this issue that is of high concern for many in McKenzie Towne and likely other communities as well. Let me know!