Community Building in the VLA
Prince George, B.C. – It promises to be a festival like atmosphere in one Prince George neighbourhood this weekend.
The third annual VLA Community Parade and Family BBQ and Fun Day goes this Saturday.
The event has been organized by both the VLA Enhancement Association and Prince George Community Policing.
The parade starts at Diefenbaker and Oak at noon and will be followed up with a barbecue behind the Child Development Centre.
“The goal of it is to bring the community together,” says VLA Enhancement Association director Lee Stewart. “There’s a lot of people that haven’t met each other so this is a good old-fashioned get together for the community.”
An 18-year resident of the VLA, he says events like these help residents become “better neighbours.” It’s also an effort to help address the stigma surrounding the neighbourhood – much of which he calls “unfair.”
“We have a community of wonderful people. We have a very good base group of people but unfortunately like everywhere else we’ve got a handful of bad actors that we’ve got to deal with.”
Aside from the parade and barbecue, he notes working with local landlords is helping matters.
“And educating them that you just can’t put anybody in your house. You’ve got to know who’s in there and if you’re an absentee landlord well guess what – I can send you a letter and let you know what’s happening in your home,” says Stewart.
“Take responsibility for it, it’s your rental property, you can’t just have property in Prince George and make some money while we’re spending money baby-sitting your bad people.”