Saint John residents hope new funding will bring back community policing
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 9:25PM AST
Many people in Saint John are wondering when or if the money from a multi-million dollar funding announcement will trickle down to their neighbourhoods.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant announced Friday that the port city will receive $270 million towards infrastructure projects, $50 million to tourism assets, $10 million to poverty initiatives, and $273 million to the Youth Employment Fund.
He also promised an additional $22.8 million over the next three years if Saint John's deficit is not eliminated.
The funding announcement has created an expectation that cuts to municipal services will now be revered. For north-end community organizer Barry Galloway, he hopes it allows for a return of community policing.
“We've always had a community police officer here,” Galloway says. “Even the police car presence makes a difference when you're at a community centre."
Community policing was dropped when the city cut a total of $2.5 million from the police and fire department budgets.
Juanita Black lives in Crescent Valley. She says there's now little reason for the city not to restore neighbourhood funding.
"I live in one of the priority neighbourhoods. I've seen the good (community policing) has done," she says. “If this 21 or 22 million dollars is going to help us, well let's get going."
There is also uncertainty surrounding what projects will benefit from the $270 million towards infrastructure.
"Those projects will all help Saint John, but they're not projects that may happen tomorrow or even in 2018. They are projects that will happen in the future over time," says Saint John Deputy Mayor Shirley McAlary.
It remains unclear if the infrastructure money includes projects that have already been announced, like construction of a revamped New Brunswick Museum.
As for this year's budget cuts, McAlary is hopeful.
"With this extra money now, we will certainly be able to, I would assume, resume community policing and the D.A.R.E. program,” she says.
Both the police and fire chiefs tell CTV News they are cautiously optimistic of the funding, and they’ll be waiting until the money arrives before making promises to the community.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.