As I write this, it is now 11:24 on Friday June 27th, 2014.
I missed the report on Global earlier this evening of an alleged swarming attack at The Grove in Newton, and over the last few hours have talked with other community members, agencies and law enforcement.
It’s correct to say, we are all in shock, and in disbelief. That takes time to process, to be honest.
Let me first say that as an 11 year resident of Newton, first in West Newton, now in East Newton, I have a vested interest. Others who have called Newton home for generations, more so.
Two of my children attended preschool in the building housing the ice rink. I regularly bus in and out of the Newton bus loop and when I am not in a bus, I am driving by the Newton bus loop to see what is going on. As long time readers know, it’s been a long time source of stories and breaking news.
I think I speak for all of us, everyone, at every level, when I say we are more than ‘done’ with the grief, the stress, the seemingly never-ending incidents that sadly, we are all used to in Newton.
It shouldn’t be this way. And as friend David Dalley said this evening on twitter, we all own a part of this. All of us.
Ironically, I was there in the grove with my two young sons less than an hour from the alleged attack. The boys read the poems on the trees, they played in and out of them and the blue chairs were filled with a group of elderly south Asian men who were engaged in deep conversation. A woman was sitting beside a stroller with her baby sleeping, clearly grateful for the shade of the trees to take a short break on the sidewalk along Coast Capital’s back wall.
David Dalley and others, have done amazing things in this grove of trees that I was vehement in having cut after Julie Paskall’s tragic death. I have seen those changes personally, as have others and let me tell you, it is an awe-inspiring thing.
I was wrong for thinking that cutting the grove would be the solution.
Turns out the trees were the solution. It’s called ‘place-making’ and it is happening in The Grove.
Now these teens, this has been an issue for years in Newton, at the bus loop and in this mall area. The Safeway manager says as much in the Global story, as will anyone else willing to speak publicly.
That Safeway endures far more than they should have to. Like having to install ultra violet lights in the public bathroom to keep junkies from shooting up inside.( google that) Saw this firsthand a while ago. They are an essential service to many and a good corporate neighbor.
I stopped by their Starbucks (and I hate Starbucks coffee) every morning after dropping off my youngest at the Newton Rec Centre preschool for a year, which has the best trained preschool teacher around town.I actually do support local businesses and many more would if the area was better and that is why so many people are devoting so much time to change in the area.
Newton is awesome… it just keeps getting the short end of the stick.
Which leads me back to this incident, that happened on Wednesday, that the public slowly found out about on the Friday afternoon before what most people are making a long weekend.
Public relations at its bloody best, in my opinion, and more worrisome, indicative of a lack of communication between Surrey RCMP and the public. A number of questions immediately sprung forth, like where were the RCMP patrols at this time? Commissionaires?
City of Surrey have had security guards stationed in the area since Paskalls tragic death. They are wonderful.
Translink security or police was stationed in the area with a car frequently following that incident, but are not often seen at the bus loop.I do know firsthand the chief of Translink police was committed to ensuring Newton bus loop was covered at the last Newton Community Association public forum.
RCMP have had walking patrols, along with city contracted Commissionaires that I have personally only seen in the late afternoon/evenings.
But this incident happened and not only did people allegedly walk by this girl being beaten in the grove, but a Safeway employee came out to deal with it.
David Dalley is right. We do all own a part of this.
911 is free. While a group of teens engaged in a swarming is definitely intimidating, turning your back and “not seeing it” is also not acceptable. And questions remain as to why this situation of known teens who were behind this, were not made known to the locals who are invested in this community, and the public who travel through this area.
Communication between the community and the RCMP is critical.
When any public safety issue arises, the public must be informed. I am confidant the public supports officers on the street and will do their part – if they have the knowledge of public safety issues and crimes that creates both vigilance and ownership.
If we don’t know what is going on, we can’t be proactive, and proactive solutions are what is need… not reactive.
The RCMP must not be politicized at any time, much less during an election year. Nor must information be withheld from the public except in instances where it might impede an investigation or arrest. When residents begin to question whether or not public relations is trumping public safety information in the press, someone, somewhere, has failed.
Why was the public not informed of ongoing issues many in Newton have known about?
With women and children, seniors and singles, students and everyone else using a major transportation/recreational hub, why wasn’t the public and others in the community informed of this incident several days ago? “
It is a question only the city and the RCMP can answer, and one Newton residents look forward to hearing the answer.