We hold public meetings once a quarter, with representatives from the city and the police. This provides a way for residents to express our concerns and give input, and for the city and the police to communicate what they're doing and what's likely to happen over the next few months. If you haven't been to a meeting yet, we'd like to encourage you to attend. The association is open to anyone living in the area between Royal Avenue and the Fraser River (the area marked "D" on the map of New Westminster). Our next meeting will be Thursday April 29 at 7:30 pm, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon St. Come out and have a coffee with us! Speakers will include Lilian Arishenkoff from the city planning department, and someone from the police.
Also, the city is putting together a community livability plan for the downtown area, as a follow-on to discussions last year with Portland and Seattle. An initial meeting will be held Thursday April 22 at 7 pm, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon St.
If you have suggestions for the association, you can call Ernie Richmond at 526-1882 or Walter Woermann at 517-4655, or send us a fax at 521-1926. The other members of the executive committee are Lila Wood and Russil Wvong. If you'd like to volunteer to join the executive committee, we'd certainly welcome the help.
If you're on the Internet, we also have a web page at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/2496/downtown.html. It includes a public forum where you can contribute suggestions and comments.
At our last meeting, residents from 55 - 10th St. (10th and Carnarvon) reported that the crack dealers have been pushed down to 10th Street. Since January or so, the residents have been having problems with break-ins, vandalism, and noise. In fact, there's people in two apartments in their building who are dealing crack cocaine. One's a tenant, and is being evicted. Another's an owner, and they're trying to find a way to get rid of him. They've hired a security guard and are looking at installing a new security system.
What the city's doing to combat the problem:
Councillor Chuck Puchmayr notes that other cities (e.g. Portland and Seattle) have had considerable success with an "in-your-face" approach to chasing out drug dealers, including citizen patrols.
Longer-term, we need to reduce the demand for hard drugs, which means more treatment and rehabilitation facilities for addicts.