Community relations

"It seems we have made progress"

- January 24, 2008

Concerns about student noise, vandalism, parking, landscaping of buildings, student codes of conduct for off-campus students, the late-night bar scene downtown …. The issues ran the gambit at last week’s neighbourhood meeting.

Once a year, President Tom Traves, Halifax Regional Police and city councillors Sue Uteck and Sheila Fougere host a meeting, where people from the neighbourhoods surrounding Dal and the University of King’s College are welcome to come and ask questions, make comments and provide suggestions to improve the relationship between the universities and the neighbourhoods.

President Traves told the 30 neighbours in attendance that there are positive and negative sides to living next to a university. Universities provide a stimulating environment, but they also are busy places that have a major impact on the lives of those who live nearby.

Amid complaints about rowdy students, there were also some bouquets for the universities’ community relations efforts.

One neighbour pointed out that 300 angry neighbours had packed University Hall back in 2003. “Looking around this room,” he said. “It seems we have made progress.”
The 2003 meeting led to the formation of the Dalhousie University Community Committee. It’s an advisory group to the president and has undertaken many initiatives over the last few years, notably setting up a designated police patrol. Halifax Regional police contribute a cruiser and Dalhousie pays for two officers to staff it in September and October late at night. It deals with noise complaints, liquor violations and safety issues.

Many neighbours agreed the police patrol has made an enormous difference in curtailing noise and parties. One neighbour also said that Dal’s Security Service should be commended for the great job it has done in cracking down on noise, smoking and litter after hours on the Dalplex property near her home.

While there are fewer problems, President Traves said there are still specific problems harder to resolve. The university will be sensitive to these issues and continue to work with neighbours.


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