Grassroots efforts to prevent gun crime in Saint John and the Kennebecasis Valley are the focus of up to $1.79 million in recent funding by the federal government.
Saint John-Rothesay Member of Parliament Wayne Long announced Wednesday that the City of Saint John will receive up to $972,992 to prevent gun crime and gang violence.
Meanwhile, areas in the Kennebecasis Valley — Rothesay and Quispamsis — will receive up to $824,018.
“With this significant support … we’re making sure the right organizations are getting the right funding so that we can have the biggest impact on our neighbourhoods,” said Long.
The funding comes from the federal government’s $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund, which supports ways to prevent gun and gang violence and help youth make good choices.
Officials say the funds will help address the “underlying conditions” that give rise to crime and support community-led projects to prevent violence among young people involved in gangs.
“The Building Safer Communities Fund is allowing Saint John and the Kennebecasis region to take proactive steps to build better, inclusive, and safer communities,” said Long.
Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon said the city’s top priority is keeping residents safe, which she says aligns with councillor values of a welcoming community.
Quispamsis Mayor Libby O’Hara and Rothesay Mayor Nancy Grant expressed similar views.
“We know that the Kennebecasis Valley is a safe place for our residents, and we want to ensure it stays that way,” said O’Hara in a news release.
Grant said her jurisdiction is most appreciative of the funding.
“While we are recognized as a generally safe community, it is important that we identify social conditions that could lead to violence,” said Nancy Grant, mayor of Rothesay.
“This will help us support grassroots initiatives that will help young people to make good life choices.”