Community leaders are always stressing that youth need more extra curricular activities to keep them from the deadly grasp of guns, drugs, and gangs. But one city councillor is taking the opposite approach. Giorgio Mammoliti (York West) wants to remove basketball nets from his ward, claiming that instead of encouraging exercise, they merely attract drug dealers.
“It’s going to send the message and that’s what we’re trying to do here – send a message,” he said while removing a net from Strathburn Park in the Weston Rd. and Albion area. “Drug dealers are not welcome in Ward 7. They’re not welcome to hang out in the parks. They’re not welcome to hang out in our basketball courts.”
Councillor Mammoliti’s plan is simple. If there’s trouble around the basketball court, remove the nets and you remove the problem.
“We’ve had gang markings and there’s a lot of drug dealing happening after school and in the evening and some sexual activity and other nasty things happening,” notes Sandra Farina, Humberlea Ratepayers Association.
“It’s a shame because there’s so many kids around here that want to use it,” adds long time resident Gordon Kerr. “And even though it gets sort of overrun at times with outsiders, there’s still a lot of kids in here that still use it.”
Mammoliti says by removing basketball nets he is simply trying to remove what some residents feel is a magnet for trouble.
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