The Uptown PA Walkers are walking to save their streets. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Port Alberni walkers take back the streets

A group of recreational walkers is covering the Uptown area after dark

A group of Port Alberni residents is walking to take back the Uptown streets.

READ: Port Alberni ponders solutions for ‘big city’ problems

An increase in property crime, especially in the Third Avenue area, has left many business owners frustrated. In response, a few citizens are walking the Uptown streets after dark to keep the area feeling safe.

“We’re walking to make the streets fuller,” explained Tami Netzer, one of the group’s founding members.

“Lots of people don’t hang out in this part of town anymore,” added another walker, Kyle Thomson.

Netzer said she had attended a Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting in January, where a number of Third Avenue business owners spoke up about the troubles that had been plaguing the Uptown core.

“How are we going to solve the problem?” Netzer wondered afterwards. “Nobody had a solution. The solutions that were proposed were costly, time-consuming for the businesses.”

Netzer is a recreational walker, although she usually walks along Johnston Road in the evenings because it is safe and well-lit. She thought that a group walk could give a little life to the Uptown streets and bring positivity to the area.

“It doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t have to commit to it,” she said.

The walks usually last around 45 minutes, starting at Harbour Quay and covering upper Third Avenue.

“We try and stretch it out as long as we can,” she said. “Eventually, we hope to cover more ground.”

Netzer stressed that the group is not an organized community block watch—they have no intention of patrolling the streets on the lookout for crime.

“It’s just for fun,” she said. “If we’re walking, we might as well walk together.”

Netzer said she has heard positive feedback from business owners in the area. Cheryl Iwanowsky of the Blue Fish Gallery often puts out chalk for walkers to leave messages and colourful illustrations. Kevin Wright of Steampunk Cafe plays music from the speakers outside of his shop.

“I think just people being in the area helps because it makes people feel safe,” said Netzer.

The group was started on Facebook, and grew quickly to almost 200 members in just a couple of weeks.

“It started out with just my little friend group, and now it’s 200 people,” Netzer laughed.

The group usually walks Thursdays at 7 p.m., but they walk other days, as well. You can find and join their Facebook group, “The Uptown PA Walkers – Walking To Keep Uptown Feeling Safe.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Alberni darts player heading to national championships

Jason Bagnell is fundraising for his trip to Nova Scotia

ARTS AROUND: Giant book sale approaches in Port Alberni

This is the last week to drop off all your donations

Port Alberni ‘a safe place to be’ despite crime rate, says RCMP

Criminal offences up in Port Alberni for the first quarter of 2019

Portal Players production touches on residential schools

Sisters chronicles a convent-run residential school in Canada

VIDEO: Alberni Valley celebrates Easter weekend

Port Alberni children enjoy Easter egg hunts and spring activities

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

Most Read