The repeated acts of violence committed over many years in our Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood is extremely upsetting and unacceptable. The most important initiative we can take is to invest in addressing the roots causes of the violence. While we need to support the police to respond when gun violence occurs and ensure that those responsible are no longer a threat to our community, enforcement alone is a short-term and reactive response that doesn’t address deeper issues that lead to the violence in the first place. That’s why, I’m continuing to work with City Staff from Social Development to complete a needs assessment in our neighbourhood and establish a community space for at-risk youth in the Oakwood-Vaughan area. I’m pushing City Staff to have this report go to Council before end of year, so stay tuned!
Moreover, many local residents have expressed to me the need to beautify, improve and most importantly, revitalize the streetscape along Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road through adding more lighting, improving building facades, installing planters, and more. Evidence from other communities in Toronto and elsewhere demonstrate that local investments to improve neighbourhoods can lead to a reduction in violence. I’ve been working diligently with City Staff from Transportation Services, Toronto Hydro and the Oakwood Village BIA to get the decorative lighting standards on Oakwood Avenue up and running. I’m pleased to announce that in the next month or so, the lights will be fully restored. I will continue to work with the Oakwood Village and York-Eglinton BIAs, as well as Oakwood Vaughan’s Neighbourhood Action Partnership (OVNAP) and local residents, to make these necessary streetscape upgrades, as well as playground and garden enhancements, in order to ensure our streets are more vibrant and improve our quality of life.