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Edmonton business owner voices ongoing safety concerns in Fort Road area – Edmonton

Nancy Chekowski has owned My Grandma’s Attic along Fort Road in northeast Edmonton for more than a decade, but the last few years have been a struggle.

“I’m making maybe half of what I did five years ago,” she said.

The area feels unsafe, Chekowski said.

“A lot of vandalism, a lot of breaking in. I keep my doors locked, because people like to just come in and help themselves,” she explained.

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“Customers come in and ask me, ‘Aren’t you afraid to be here?’”

There’s an abandoned building next door to her antique store along Fort Road near 127 Avenue, and it’s been a nightmare, according to Chekowski.

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She said it’s been empty for a couple of years, no one is taking care of it and people break in. She’s afraid one day it will be burned down.

“I’m calling 311 or the police depending on what it was and they’re just not doing anything. Just a mess,” she said.


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Voicing her concerns, she said has gotten her nowhere and feels at her wits end.

“Angry, because every cent I have I put into this place,” Chekowski said.

The Fort Road Business Association told Global News it has reported the vacant building to the bylaw enforcement officer for the area.

The city says its complaints & investigations department is aware of the issues with the property and have issued several Municipal Government Act Orders and bylaw tickets to the property owner.

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“We are currently proceeding with remedial action to board the property and remove graffiti. This work will begin within approximately two weeks,” an email to Global News reads.

Ward Dene Coun. Aaron Paquette says the real need is for more supports for mental health, addiction and housing — an issue not unique to the Fort Road area.

“It’s really frustrating, especially in these individual circumstances where they deserve better. And we want to give them better, but we need participation from all levels of government, all hands on deck,” Paquette said.

“We need a larger response than just what the city can provide.”


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Chekowski also feels the city isn’t doing enough to revitalize the neighbourhood — an issue that dates back decades.

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Paquette says work is underway.

“Close to $100,000,000 of investment is going into that area alone,” Paquette explained.

“That’s in the form of infrastructure improvements: it’s in the form of overpasses, preparing ground for development in Fort Road improvements.”

Chekowski said, for now, she’s not going anywhere. Her lease is up in two years though, at which point she might call it a career.

“As long as I possibly can afford it, I will keep going, ” she said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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