Nfld. & Labrador

Troubled St. John's neighbourhood on the mend

An inner city St. John's neighbourhood that was a centre of the illegal drug trade and the scene of a a brutal slaying in March is now on the rebound.

Tessier Place residents reclaiming street after violent slaying at drug-connected house

Tessier Place resident Danny Pottle says his neighbourhood is becoming a better place to live. (CBC )

A downtown St. John's neighbourhood that was consumed by the illegal drug trade and the scene of a homicide in March is on the rebound.

"We've rallied around," said Tessier Place resident Danny Pottle. "We've gotten to know our neighbours a lot better."

"We've committed to look after one another."

Slaying highlighted problems

Joey Whalen, 47, died of injuries sustained in a brutal beating at a house on Tessier Place on March 14. Kenny Green, 34, has been charged with second-degree murder in the case.

After the incident, residents revealed that the house was known to be a hangout for people involved in the illegal drug trade, and that they were afraid to let their children play outside because there were used syringes scattered around the street.

Neighbours said they stayed indoors out of fear.

But since the incident, residents, city officials and police have held meetings and started talking about the problems.

Neighbourhood watch, cleanup

Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary played a role in organizing the first meeting at City Hall, and said the neighbourhood has changed.

"They basically have a Facebook group up and running," said O'Leary. "There's a (St. John's) Clean and Beautiful cleanup starting this weekend, which is very positive.

"I've had a couple of conversations with the RNC officer who comes up with his horse and patrols the area through the Tessier Place park as well. So it's great to have a very visible RNC presence here."

Residents have had a Neighbourhood Watch program in place since shortly after the first meeting in March. Pottle said that, combined with other efforts, has brought families outdoors on the cul-de-sac again.

"It's good to see children out playing once again," he said.