INDIAN BROOK – Residents of Indian Brook are hoping longtime issues detrimental to the area may be alleviated thanks to renewed communication and community participation.
The first-ever grand assembly was held at the area’s community centre on Friday afternoon, bringing together an estimated 30 agencies and program managers and about 200 people from the community.
The idea, said event co-ordinator Chief Rufus Copage, was to offer residents an opportunity to ask questions about the community, learn more and share their ideas and concerns.
“We are trying to be accountable and transparent to the community, including doing an audit,” Copage told the Truro Daily News. “People need to know what’s happening in the community.”
Copage admitted Indian Brook has had to deal with many re-occurring issues that has tarnished the community’s reputation in many people’s eyes. Some ongoing problems, he said, include prescription drug abuse, a shortage of funding and “we have been $12 million in the hole over the years. We don’t have a lot of money.”
Copage said there’s hope for a better future.
“We are 100 per cent in control of our VLTs … and we are continuously working” on issues in the community.
“Nothing will happen overnight ... we are trying to get a better image out there,” he added.
Thirteen-year-old Sophia Gehue attended the event with her grandmother. Gehue was one of the few youth in attendance and paid attention mostly to the school displays. She said there are positive and negative aspects of living in Indian Brook and it was good to have a community event to learn more about what’s available for people of all ages.
“I like to do youth group stuff,” said Gehue, who would like to become a nurse and work in the United States. “I don’t like that you used to be able to not lock your doors but now you have to because people like to steal things ... I’d like it to be cleaner too.”
Ultimately, the teenager said she feels “kinda” safe in her home community because she “knows everyone.”
Her grandmother Debbie Maloney was pleased the area held the assembly, saying it can help lead to more understanding of the community, what’s available and increase unity.
“We just have to get back to unity,” said Maloney.
Maloney, along with a few others on site, said drugs remain a prevalent issue.
“We need to get the drugs the heck out of here. It’s killing our people,” said Maloney.
Despite some misgivings, Maloney said she is “proud” to live in Indian Brook.
“It’s my home. It’s where I grew up,” she said.