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Despite success, community safety can be improved

Ward 2 councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri thinks a “made-in-Oshawa” solution could benefit all the region

A memorial was laid at the corner of Conlin Road and Simcoe Street North after an Ontario Tech student was struck and killed last year. The city’s first community safety zone was developed a month later.

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

An Oshawa councillor is happy with the progress of community safety zones in the region, but thinks more can be done.

Ward 2 city and regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri told The Oshawa Express he thinks there’s always room for improvement.

“I do think that everyone involved at the region has their heart in the right place,” says Marimpietri. “I do think that community public safety concerns have changed in recent years, and there’s a lot more to deal with than we’ve ever had before.”

He says this ranges from distracted driving to simple traffic congestion.

“[It’s a case of] just overall infrastructure being inadequate,” he says.

Marimpietri says being able to manage those three major issues, as well as others which are still “plaguing” communities such as speeding and impaired driving, will be able to help improve community safety.

“Regional council definitely has a role to play in upping staff’s requirements in terms of the threshold they need to meet in order to tackle these issues,” he says.

He notes simplifying things would also help to improve community safety.

“Taking a look at how many [community safety zones]… we have established, and how many of those areas are actually enforced, and how many of those areas are actually defined as such officially, and then asking themselves, ‘Why not go the full distance?’ and making sure they are properly resourced,” says Marimpietri.

He believes it isn’t good enough to have something which appears good on paper, or sounds good in a policy report, it actually has to be effective and have tangible results.

“I think we have the ability to be able to direct resources to those initiatives, and I think they’re really important initiatives residents will benefit from,” he says.

Each municipality has its concerns, notes Marimpietri, but he adds they are the same issues at their core.

“It’s not something that’s solely centred on Oshawa, but a ‘made-in-Oshawa’ solution for the rest of the region, I believe, will work well for public safety,” he says.

Marimpietri wants the region to get involved and create more community safety zones across Durham.

“Last I checked, there are residents that travel to Whitby [from Oshawa] and residents from Scugog that travel to Uxbridge, and to Oshawa and Whitby and so on,” he explains. “My point is, our residents travel across the region, and we want to make sure we do whatever we can within our power as regional councillors to direct staff to affect the appropriate measures to promote, secure, and to provide public safety.”

In late 2018, after a university student was killed while crossing the street at the intersection of Conlin and Simcoe, council quickly established Oshawa’s first ever community safety zone.

It spans a section of Conlin Road near the intersection of Simcoe Street, designated 100 metres to the west at Founders Drive and 100 metres east at Bridle Road.

For the Ward 2 councillor, the new safety zone has been doing very well.

“I get updates regularly,” says Marimpietri.

He explains he recently met with Durham Regional Police Services and has been given a list of data pertaining to actions associated with enforcement in community safety zones.

“[Community safety zones are] an ongoing project that I’ll continue to be tackling in order to ensure that public safety is not only considered, but paramount in our decision making from new developments to older neighbourhoods, to current enforcement and future resources dedicated to knowledge based tools,” says Marimpietri.