How safe are women in Le Village and downtown?

A group of Canada World Youth observers including project supervisor David Arsenault, left, and Sexual Assault Support Services for Women of SDG&A volunteer Jillian Reed, right, come out of a Montreal Rd. alleyway. The group was doing a woman-focused safety audit Dec. 5, 2014. Their findings will be shared with city councillors and police later in Dec. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A report, expected to land on the desks of city officials and police in less than two weeks, will paint a picture of how safe women feel in Cornwall’s two main downtown areas.

Nearly two dozen observers from Canada World Youth surveyed streets Friday afternoon around Montreal Road as part of a woman’s safety audit.

There were also teams exploring the area around Pitt and Second Streets.

The groups – both men and women split up by gender – looked at several factors including distance between street lights, the amount of foot and vehicle traffic, distance to safer areas and areas where predators could lie in wait.

Cornwall Newswatch joined one team on its one-hour walk as members surveyed Edward Street, Cotton Mill Street, McConnell Avenue, William Street, Arthur Street, Lennox Lane, Lennox Street and Albert Street.

Canada World Youth project supervisor David Arsenault, as seen through the front porch of a home on Edward St. The group was conducting a woman-focused safety audit Dec 5, 2014. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
Canada World Youth project supervisor David Arsenault, as seen through the front porch of a home on Edward St. The group was conducting a woman-focused safety audit Dec 5, 2014. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

Jillian Reed, a volunteer with Youth Leaders in Action and SASS, was asked why this area of the city was chosen for the survey.

“We were talking with people. I was asking them where in the city do you feel are the unsafe areas? This (Le Village) was kind of an overwhelming response,” Reed said.

City police numbers back up her assertion, as Le Village has the highest crime rate in the Seaway City.

The group made a couple of interesting observations during their tour.

Project Supervisor David Arsenault, originally from Montreal, couldn’t get over the number of “No Trespassing” signs tacked up on residents’ homes and windows.

One observer scribbled notes as Reed noted another safety issue – Google Maps depicts Lennox Lane as a thoroughfare.

They quickly discovered “No Exit” signs and a gate at the end of the lane.

A number of homes on Lennox Street with only one exit from the backyard and an overgrown evergreen tree, where someone could hide, were also noted by the group.

Members also found the street layout confusing and appeared to lose their sense of direction in the area south of Montreal Road – a possible criticism in their final report.

The findings from the Canada World Youth volunteers, along with interviews and feedback from local residents, are expected to be delivered to councillors and the police chief Dec. 16.

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