Trees Removed Around Northwest Calgary Train Stations to Discourage Camping and Drug Use – Calgary |

City of Calgary crews have removed trees and brush from the Banff Trail and Lions Park LRT stations in an effort to discourage camping and drug use in the green spaces around the stations.

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The problems at the Lions Park train station have spread to the Louise Riley Library, which has had security guards at the entrance for the past four years. On the nearby soccer field, players have come across needles.

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“We want all the spaces in our parks to be safe for everyone and not only for people, but also for the things that are left behind. Whether it’s trash or drug paraphernalia or people defecating in the fields,” Ward 7 Coun said. Terry Wong.

Wong recently walked along the Northwest Rail Line with members of the city’s transit, parks and charter to see what could be done.

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Trees and bushes have now been removed at the Lions Park and Banff Trail stations to increase sight lines and eliminate low visibility areas.

The Hounsfield Heights-Briar Hill Community Association has attempted to activate the park space with the bike ramps.

“There is some use, but there has been a little bit of reluctance,” said Brad Krizan, president of the Hounsfield Heights-Briar Hill Community Association.

“We have a homeless population that uses it, so there have been security issues and some drug use and things like that. Therefore, it is a concern for the community and, in particular, for the residents who return to the park: they are the most affected.

“There is certainly a level of frustration there.”

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Krizan supports the city’s efforts to clear some of the green space, but hopes more can be done to discourage people from camping at the train station. He said the community association has suggested things like widening the bike lane or creating a dog park.

“We recognize that these are complex issues. We have empathy as a community, but as residents here we also deal with this from our backyards,” Krizan said.

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“The city really needs to take a leadership role and listen to residents’ concerns and probably move a little bit faster on some of these solutions so we can work on them together.”

Krizan said the community association has talked about turning the area from Calle 14 to Calle 19 into a greener corridor.

“Maybe that includes widening the walking trail or maybe it means a more formal activation for different activities here because this is a very active transit corridor from the Banff Trail to SAIT and the University of the Arts and into downtown the city. I would love if we could find a way for this to become a greener corridor and would probably encourage more activation and probably moderate some of these other activities,” Krizan said.

Alpha House says that the Lions Park station has become a hot spot in recent weeks. DOAP team members are conducting regular wellness checks and helping those who need assistance.

The president of the Capitol Hill Community Association says community activation and use of the site is required for people to feel safe.

“These current issues with the train stations and surrounding parks are driven by broad social issues, so it’s difficult to address them directly,” Owen McHugh said in a statement. “I think what the Briar Hill Community Association has done to try to activate the park space with the bike ramps is a good initiative. In my opinion, making people feel safe is based on perception and is a different issue than addressing open drug use and associated activities.”

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Randie Blair was boarding the LRT at the Lions Park station on Thursday with his granddaughter.

“I feel bad for the people in the park because I don’t feel safe that my children are running. Homeless people need a space, so it’s a problem for them and for us and we have to do something,” Blair said.

“I think they need to find a home for the homeless like those little houses we have for veterans because everybody needs a place where they can close the door. When I make a donation to people on the street, sometimes I ask them about their story and they tell me that they have been robbed in their sleep. The homeless are not going away, so we have to find a place for them.”

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1 thought on “Trees Removed Around Northwest Calgary Train Stations to Discourage Camping and Drug Use – Calgary |”

  1. Just a note I live in Tuscany near the LRT station. Drug dealers continue to ply their trade. In parking lot and in bus station at the LRT station dealer parks his car and leave lights on – people then approach car. Drug and rough sleepers congregate and then sleep in entrances to condos nearby. Drugs and needles found in parking lots etc. This problem is escalating as more and more people congregate at other stations further out. Crowfoot Centre LRT station also has problems. People are starting to avoid train travel because of this. In June two girls spread out their clothing from their backpacks and then changed their clothes and one began doing drugs. This was around 8 am when school kids and university students passed by the bus shelter. Everyone avoiding the bus shelter. This incident was reported to transit personnel. These types of incidents were not occurring at the Tuscany station two years ago. Young people are increasingly involved in drug usage. I do believe Calgary has a incredible drug and homeless problem and I think it should have a higher priority than the Mayor of Calgary is giving this problem. Unheard of is the recent attack of arson at city hall. People are beginning to talk about the homeless problem at City Hall and the Mayors inattention to this issue concentrating on climate emergency crisis. I do believe the more immediate problem the failure to attend to addiction and drug use in the young and homeless population. In a visit to city hall I found no personnel at the information booth – no security personnel and all city hall employees were masked up behind their office doors. Meanwhile homeless guys were rummaging around the recylce blue boxes for bottles in the main floor of city hall. What a disgrace when civic employees hide in their offices afraid to be in contact with citizens and the homeless make their home in our city centre. Where is the compassionate care of these citizens who are left to wander around, defecating in public areas, congregating in tents at LRT stations and feeding their addictions. Is Calgary on track to be another Seattle, Portland or downtown Eastside Vancouver. Surely with all of the well educated citizens in this city we should have come up with some viable solutions by this time. Forgive the taxpayers who are becoming cynical of the leadership of this city it is time for change. Needle exchange, drug access sites are not the answer. They are part of the problem. We know that the overdose kits are not the answer. We know that there are more dangerous drugs on the market and these drugs have no antidote and therefore the kits are useless for this new class of drugs. The problem is escalating. We need to move beyond treatment to solutions and aiding and abetting long term drug use is part of the problem not part of the solution. Saving one persons life today is of no help when that person finds these new drugs which have no antidote at present is not the answer. The answer is effective treatment and drug use deference. It is interesting to note that in the country of Israel, young people are encouraged to volunteer for their country and so youth attitudes towards duty to their country or state supersedes the need to party with drugs and alcohol. Perhaps the attention of our city should be to inculcate values of being of use to ones ‘country and showing gratitude for all of the blessings we have in this country would be more productive instead of feeding into the narcism, cancel culture and hypocrisy of our present value system. Extreme self absorption does not lead to personal best for our citizens.
    True leadership seeks to unite people not to divide it. Unfortunately national and local leaders have intimidated citizens with fear mongering and public lecturing instead of demonstrating servant leadership. Public
    leaders tend to promote do what I say not what I do. Change must start at the top with the Mayor leading the way. Perhaps she should roll up her sleeves and actually get out and see what is really happening in streets and alleys of our city before YYC become NYC.


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