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Saskatoon residents raise concerns over pedestrian tunnel

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A tunnel connecting Saskatoon's Fairhaven community to the Meadowgreen neighbourhood is raising concerns.

The tunnel is in close proximity to Saskatoon Tribal Council Wellness Centre.

“I’m seeing a very large increase in people I don’t know in my space, and some other people have expressed that exact same experience,” said Meadowgreen resident Ryan Giesinger.

Giesinger specified by his area, he meant his yard.

On Thursday the Meadowgreen Community Association held a meeting to discuss possible solutions to the increase in foot traffic. The association says since the Wellness Center was brought to Fairhaven foot traffic has increased significantly.

“We want to see how we can take care of this group and where they are walking around and take care of the safety of the people living in the community,” said Meadowgreen Community Association Sultan Alisadhe. “We want to have a safe community for everyone.”

Alisadhe and the Association are calling on the city and province to do more to help the residents' situation. The main concern for Alisadhe is that people pass through the tunnel for school and work and to use public transportation.

“The safety of homelessness around the tunnel, people are just using injections and drugs, and people are sleeping in the tunnel, and some people just do not feel comfortable crossing the tunnel after certain hours,” he said.

On Thursday the association met to come up with solutions to the tunnel and the increased foot traffic coming in. People suggested closing the tunnel permanently or during certain hours, monitoring it over video.

“Right now there are random people, late night, wee hours of the morning, so that’s the main concern,” said Alisadhe. “Right now it brings lots of traffic that we don’t know who it is.”

A member from the Saskatoon Fire Department and Saskatoon Police Service were both in attendance at the meeting.

“What’s happening in this community is being replicated in other areas of the city, and the concerns regarding homelessness and poverty are something that needs to be addressed by our community,” said Saskatoon Police Service Inspector Tonya Gretsey with the community engagement division.

CTV News did reach out to the Saskatoon Tribal Council for a comment but was told Chief Mark Arcand is away during this time.

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