People don’t feel safe using the Grande Prairie trail system. That’s what city councillor Dylan Bressey says he’s been hearing from people in the community. Through the Citizen Budget tool released by the city, Bressey says he’s seen pages full of those comments.
“As people commented on our budget they talked a lot about our trails. They said that they really recognize our trails as an asset our city has. They’re beautiful, they’re great, they’re extensive, but a lot of people said they don’t use them because they don’t feel safe being on them.”
A comment on Bressey’s Facebook page from one woman says, “I’d feel safer if there was a post you could call from at various locations. Like at the college you can press a button and it will connect to security… As a woman, I wish I could go walking by myself in the evening, listening to music or just being in nature.”
Another man says, “I feel perfectly safe biking or walking the trails. However, I wouldn’t like me or wife walking alone on the trails at night.”
Bressey has asked city administration to look into reported incidents on the trails for the past three years and bring those numbers back to committee.
“Once we have that data back if there are safety problems on the trails, what are steps we can take to fix those. That might be things like more lights, that might be cameras, that might be call for help buttons. Or maybe we’ll find that the trails are really safe places to use in the community.”
If the numbers do show that the trails are safe, Bressey says he will turn his attention towards making people feel safe while using them. Ideas for that include adding more RCMP patrols and starting a citizen patrol who will walk the trails in the evenings.
The report will be brought back to a future committee meeting.