Miscommunication blamed for Pleasant Hill association not presenting to Saskatoon police board
The community association claims the city is trying to downplay its concerns
The neighbourhood where six of Saskatoon's 10 homicides of 2019 have taken place was absent from a Board of Police Commissioners meeting on Thursday that focused partly on community safety.
When asked why Pleasant Hill wasn't in attendance, Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark, who sits on the board, said the invitation that was sent to community associations must have gone to the "wrong email" for the group.
"Rather than rush to try and figure it out at the last second, there's still ample opportunity for us to talk and make sure that they come and meet with us," he said.
Pleasant Hill community members expressed their disappointment with the city in a letter sent to city council at the beginning of the month. It called for action on "third world" conditions that exist in the neighbourhood. The letter was set to be discussed at Thursday's meeting.
Shane Partridge, safety co-ordinator with the Pleasant Hill Community Association, said the group feels the city is trying to downplay its concerns. He said that while the city did reach out to a member of the group on the day of the meeting, the group declined
"We feel left out of these processes," he said. "It's denying our residents an opportunity to try and fix some of the issues."
Clark said that's not the case.
"We want to keep a dialogue open and in no way is anything that happened today an indication that there's a desire not to keep that conversation [going]," he said.
Clark said he's met with members of the community association since the letter was received and that there will be an opportunity for Saskatoon police chief Troy Cooper to meet with representatives in the neighbourhood ahead of the Sept. 19 meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners.
He said he understands there's a high-degree of stress in the neighbourhood and that residents and the community association is shouldering that stress.
"We need to work with them to understand what the day-to-day realities are in Pleasant Hill and and problem solve together," he said.
Darlene Brander, chair of the police board, said it was "unfortunate" there was a miscommunication that prevented Pleasant Hill from attending.
"In no means does that reflect the intent that we didn't want to hear from Pleasant Hill," she said, saying the board will do its best to ensure Pleasant Hill meets with commissioners.
"Pleasant Hill's voice will not be left out."