Safety concerns were again a topic at the July 17 meeting of Flin Flon city council.
About 20 people in council chambers heard Bonnie Nabe and several other members of the community discuss their experiences and concerns around safety in Flin Flon. Nabe had previously informally addressed council regarding her concerns, but made a formal presentation during the meeting.
Council heard accounts of violence, intimidation, loitering and harassment in Flin Flon’s uptown area. Nabe implored council to help end the issues.
“Something needs to be done,” said Nabe.
“I know it’s not an easy fix, but there are steps that can be taken in the interim to send a message clearly to the people that are causing the issues that we are not going to tolerate the behavior.”
Mayor Cal Huntley said the city doesn’t have all the answers. He added that he had anecdotally heard of people travelling to Flin Flon from communities that wouldn’t allow those people to live in them.
Nabe suggested that a liaison between First Nations communities that evicted people who lived there and the city or RCMP could be beneficial.
“That’s what we’re looking into, actually,” said Huntley.
“I don’t think we have the same wherewithal [as] the band and council. I don’t know that – maybe we do.”
Nabe also raised the anecdotal issue of houses that are rented to one family, but end up having several families occupy them. She said that people living in vacant garages and derelict buildings in town was an issue.
Huntley spoke to Nabe’s concerns about housing.
“I think we all have the same concerns. Certainly, as we get derelict houses, we have to get them. If somebody is paying the taxes then we struggle – we can condemn them but we can’t knock them down and we can’t keep people from going in – human nature, right?” said Huntley.
“But we’ve been doing a pretty good job of knocking down derelict buildings as we can.”
Huntley also said that the idea of a Flin Flon housing authority has been floated, and could help with rental issues.
“We’re aware of what’s going on, and we appreciate you bringing it to the forum, and the more we can engage the public in what’s going on – without fear mongering, being real about what’s going on – we’re certainly going to do whatever we can do,” said Huntley, adding that any actions of vigilantism would not be condoned.
“This is going to be an ongoing dialogue. Activities will be identified. We’ll let you know what’s going on.”
Huntley said updates would be provided on the situation as discussions move forward, but that council would not “regurgitate everything over and over again.”
“If it’s the same stuff, we hear you, and we’re on the same side, and we’re going to address it.”