Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) is making progress cleaning up unsightly and unsafe lots in communities across the city.
Problem properties are defined as occupied or vacant residential or commercial properties that have serious negative impacts on the well-being of the surrounding community, as well as the people living or working in them. They cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City of Edmonton.
Recently, clean up campaigns have been making a difference in the McCauley neighbourhood where several properties that were destroyed by fire have been cleared of debris and hazardous waste by PPI teams.
Each of these clean-ups took several days and required the coordination of multiple agencies and contractors to remove an average of 120,000 pounds of debris and backfill the property with approximately 20 dump trucks of clean dirt.
The recent clean ups were facilitated by the Problem Properties Team, which is composed of Municipal Enforcement Officers who proactively identify and respond to problem properties and derelict buildings before they escalate to more acute issues.
Making Community Connections
Besides enforcement and clean-ups, the PPI has also been focusing on making community connections to help neighborhood stakeholders better understand how the program can support vibrancy and safety in their areas.
This spring, the PPI hosted a series of in-person meet-and-greet events across north central Edmonton to strengthen relationships with community members and increase awareness of its strategy and new resources.
Each event featured a presentation followed by a lively question and answer session. The three events were attended by 210 people from 26 neighbourhoods. Walk-out surveys found that 88% of attendees reported that the initiative gave them confidence that the City has a good strategy to address problem properties, while 51% reported that they were already beginning to see the impact of the PPI’s teams and resources in the neighbourhood where they live or work.
“Identifying problem properties and organizing clean-ups is only one piece of our work to address the problem,” says Mark Davis, a Neighbourhood Advisor with the City of Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative. “We need to continue to strengthen relationships with community members and involve them as directly as possible. This will ultimately increase general awareness of our strategy, what resources are available and how neighborhoods can tap into them.”
Looking ahead, the PPI continues to prioritize neighbourhoods most affected by problem properties and clean up unsafe lots that present a danger to the surrounding areas .
To learn more about the PPI or to report a property, visit edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties.