Kari's Corner February 7, 2013

Convicts! Please Come Shovel In My Neighbourhood!

I would LOVE to see convicted criminals in my neighbourhood as long as they are there for the right reason! As a REALTOR in Saskatoon I have had the pleasure of greeting various crews of criminals when I am out and I always enjoy their energy, despite the fact that they are criminals.

Have you ever seen an unmarked van in the winter with men dressed in reflective vests and snowsuits chipping away at ice and shovelling snow? You have very likely seen this and not necessarily known what was going on and who these ‘snow angels’ are but they have been doing this for many decades. Urban Camp in Saskatoon has been around for more than 30 years in Saskatoon which uses prison labour to do jobs like snow removal, shovelling driveways for seniors, and setting up for festivals such as Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. In the summer you may also see them clearing ditches, cutting grass and cleaning up public parks.

For the most part the people of Saskatoon are accepting but I am sure there are the odd few who shut their blinds and won’t answer the door. I recall when I lived in Caswell Hill seeing these crews in my neighbourhood and thinking it was a great idea and helpful to the community. I never felt uneasy (except for the occassional overappreciation of seeing a woman, but hey, they are men!)

I have been out showing houses for sale in Saskatoon and run into these crews on several occasions and have found them to work hard, to be happy to be doing what they are doing, and respectful. I think it is important to give them credit and appreciate that they are there because, while they have committed a crime, they have proven themselves within the system to be trustworthy enough to be in a minimum security environment so hopefully they will make better choices in the future so that they can actually get paid more than $5/day to do such hard work!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Fusion