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North Central youth call for change in 'neglected' Regina neighbourhood

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A youth group called North Central Strong is urging Regina city council to take concrete action on revitalizing the community, which they say has been “neglected” for too long.

“You notice a lot of boarded-up and vacant houses, and having people leave your community makes you question whether you want to live in your community,” said Hope Henderson, a member of the group. “We want to build that pride where we want to bring people into our community, and we want people to stay."

“I’m making a change to something that I knew as a kid I would have wanted,” said Mark Neuvo, another member of North Central Strong. “I would have wanted someone to tell me I do have a voice, that I deserve this, that I can do this and that I have the same opportunities as any other kid in any other kid in any other neighbourhood.”

Council responded with a series of initiatives, including:

  • Creating a community land trust to maintain affordable housing
  • Continuing the demolition of unsafe properties
  • Attracting investment opportunities
  • Engaging the community and its young people in the process

Mayor Sandra Masters said it's one thing for council to talk about change in North Central within the confines of city hall, but another to execute it in the neighbourhood.

“It's wonderful to agree on intention and a path forward, but what the community wants is action,” Masters said following the meeting.

Councillors were also cautioned that their approach needs to take steps to avoid gentrification.

“You want community improvement. You want to be able to point to new homes, and new businesses and new structures and new investment, but it's imperative that the folks that live there now, if they choose to, they can continue to live there,” Masters said.

Council voted unanimously in support of the new initiatives, Masters emphasizing a long term focus on the community’s youth.

“If you’re focused on young people, and the little ones, what happens 20 years from now should be profound,” Masters said.

North Central Strong plans to return to council later this year with specific proposals, including plans for a new park.

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