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Good Neighbours Group open house discusses crime and addiction in downtown Moose Jaw

Close to 100 people take part in event to talk about concerns and potential solutions for ongoing issues

Right from the beginning of the Good Neighbours Group open house on Sunday night, a series of overwhelming feelings and sentiments began to take hold.

Fear, worry and frustration over issues with crime and poverty in Moose Jaw’s downtown core.

Person after person in the crowd of 100-plus at the Timothy Eaton Gardens rose to speak about how their lives had been affected by the ongoing problems with drug addiction and homelessness in the area.

Stories of families being afraid to go downtown at night for fear of being attacked, or going into a restaurant restroom and finding someone using drugs.

A handful of recovering addicts spoke to their fear of being ostracized and the lack of hope many feel when it comes to getting healthy in Moose Jaw, as well as to concerns surrounding ongoing rumours that the brand-new Soul’s Harbour shelter facility could be moved from it's proposed site downtown to the outskirts of the city -- a move for which there are no plans according to the organization's executive director, but remained a contentious topic.

But as the night progressed, another feeling began to take hold.


Hope that this will be the start and continuation of measures to fix the problems.

To that end, members of the Moose Jaw Police and Moose Jaw North MLA Tim McLeod spoke about their ongoing work to help, and how things can improve in the future.

And most importantly, hope that with enough time, effort and funding, things could improve to the point that Moose Jaw’s downtown becomes a completely safe environment for everyone at all times.

That was one of the ideas behind the open house, as the Good Neighbour Group looked to foster discussion and gather ideas on how to find solutions to ongoing problems.

“I think they’re crucial conversations that need to happen,” said Carolyn Ross with the Good Neighbours Group. “It’s hard to hear some of the things, but it’s like Jacki (L’Heureux-Mason with Tourism Moose Jaw) said, she summed it up nicely: we’re back and forth, but as a community we all want the same thing. I think this community is unique in a sense that together we’re better, and we’ve seen it in the past. Coming out of this, I think we have some really good things coming up.”

A pair of near-future projects were discussed, including the first steps to a Citizens on Patrol (CoP) group that would help identify issues as they’re occurring and ideally lead to help for all involved.

That would be a welcome sight for many businesses in the area who spoke to the GNG in recent months, including their candy-cane blitz this past Christmas where they handed out the treats while visiting stores and hearing stories.

“I’m happy that businesses have been heard,” Ross said. “I’ve had a resident say to me that there’s no problem with the downtown, so I encouraged him to go downtown and have those conversations… to actually go in and out of every business like we did at Christmas time, where I heard stories that broke my heart.

“Not only what the business owners are dealing with, but the people. No one wants to see anybody unhoused, unwell, hungry. We all want the same thing, but we just have to come up with a strategic plan.”

And that’s what’s next.

The Good Neighbours Group has meetings with Moose Jaw Chief of Police Rick Bourassa and Mayor Clive Tolley over the next month to discuss making progress, and another focussed public meeting will likely be in the near future as ideas start to take hold.

“There needs to be another meeting, not necessarily a town hall, but something with all the stakeholders in a room so we can go over what the corrective action looks like and of course the accountabilities that go with it,” Ross said.

Until then, the Good Neighbours Group continues to gather stories, ideas and pretty much anything that might help solve any issues Moose Jaw’s downtown currently has.

Those with concerns or ideas are asked to send a message to

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