Local woman wants to revive Block Parent program

Valerie Coe is looking to re-establish the Block Parent program in Fort St. John

A Fort St. John resident is looking to revive the Block Parent program in the city and surrounding areas.

Valerie Coe appeared as a delegation before city councillors this afternoon to outline her efforts to re-establish the community program in Fort St. John.

“As a young mother… I would like to resurrect this program,” she said.

Coe says the program faded out of B.C. years ago due to dwindling support and volunteers committing to the cause, but that Fort St. John is seeing an increasing need for the program to make its comeback.

Coe pointed to a number of reports of suspicious people attempting to lure children into their vehicles. Just this month,  a man attempted to lure a girl into his car near Northern Lights College on June 1. Another alleged attempt happened near Robert Ogilvie Elementary school on June 15.

“This program helps prevent that,” said Coe, saying Block Parents provided a safe space for anyone to go to if they feel in danger or are injured or lost.

Coe has an established a Facebook page to drum up support for the group, and says she has a funding partner committed, if she can get the city on board.

Coe recalled the program being active during her youth growing up in the Lower Mainland, noting every third house had a Block Parent sign in the window.

City councillors overwhelmingly supported her efforts, but have not yet made any funding commitments.

Coun. Trevor Bolin commented on the importance of reforming the organization.

“As our community continues to grow… I think it’s a good thing to have,” he said.

Coun. Larry Evans recalled being a part of the program in the 1980s, but noted that a common complaint was that people would leave their signs up in their windows but not be at home when a person was in need.

Coe acknowledged that could be a problem, but said it falls on homeowners to take their signs when they aren’t home.

Coe is recruiting a board of directors to help oversee the program locally. About 74 people have joined her efforts online.

Her Facebook group can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/groups/1560394967543974.