Open letter to the City of St. John’s and Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: funding for Downtown Safety Coalition

Alongside First Light, Migrant Action Centre, Quadrangle NL, Stella’s Circle and Thrive, the St. John’s Status of Women Council is sharing an open letter to the City of St. John’s and Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We’re expressing concerns about the joint funding announcement from the City and province to the Downtown Safety Coalition. This group formed to tackle the complex issue of safety in downtown St. John’s and is made up of police, tourism and hospitality, the George St. Association, Music NL and municipal and provincial governments. The joint funding is an investment in developing a public education campaign to increase reporting of crimes.

We are concerned about this impacts of this initiative, particularly without representation or meaningful engagement from groups and people who are most likely to experience violence themselves. This approach to building safety is in conflict with the findings shared by many community members and organizations in an event hosted by the City of St. John’s in February of this year. This decision leaves the community questioning if the intended use of funds will have a real impact on our safety and if this group has the expertise required to make effective use of these funds.

Read the letter in full below.