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Back Opinion Opinion/Editorial Columns Tragedy Forces City Hall to Rethink Priorities

Tragedy Forces City Hall to Rethink Priorities

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Laura Szendrei

It has been a month since the murder of North Delta teen Laura Szendri it's my hope that each of us will learn something to prevent such a tragedy ever occurring again.

First let me offer my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Laura Szendri, the young girl who was brutally murdered in North Delta. I cannot fathom the pain they are in now and will be forever.

I've been greatly concerned about a number of things surrounding this tragedy on many levels. That this murder occurred at all in the middle of the afternoon in an area surrounded by people and even though people who were close by responded immediately upon hearing Laura's cry, she still was fatally injured. Those who were there and responded are still extremely distressed and have been left with unanswerable questions. The shoulda, wouda, coulda feelings that will never go away. This was not their fault and it was certainly not the fault of Laura Szendrei.

I was brought up with roots in the aviation industry and so many times it has been shown that it is a number of factors that come together that result in aviation accidents and it would behoove us to pay attention to what we learn as the investigation continues.

Of course we don't know what happened that day and we should not rush to judgment as to who committed this murder or why but there are concerns that immediately jump out at us.

I have been contacted by a number of Delta residents who told me they had expressed concern previously about the undergrowth in many of Delta's parks. I understand that Mayor Jackson has ordered a clearing of all undergrowth in all Delta urban parks and that's a good start. That being said, it should not have taken a murder for such an initiative to take place. It certainly seems that keeping the sight-lines of these parks should have always been a priority for our municipality.

I understand fully that to do so costs money but over the years I have seen money spent on projects that were not and should not have been a priority for the municipality. One example that jumps out at me is the $50,000 spent on the Recognition Square in front of Delta's municipal hall last year. Certainly, in hindsight, that money could have been better spent on staff to maintain municipal parks and that is merely one example of misplaced priorities.

Delta has recently announced the hiring of new lifeguards for Delta's swimming pools after a recent study found that staffing levels were inadequate. Whether or not that study was prompted by the drowning of a young foreign student in the Tsawwassen pool this year one can only speculate on. I for one had been at the local pools quite often the last 6 months and had expressed my own concerns about the lack of staffing so I am gratified to see the increase put into place.

I was also perturbed by the fact that there had been at least two recent incidents in North Delta that bear striking similarities to the murder of Laura. Yet, the public was hardly informed of the attacks. Why not? How many more similar attacks have occurred throughout Metro Vancouver?



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