Matt Moyer is just the kind of guy most Leaside residents would love to have as a neighbour. He grew up in the community, has worked in it for most of his career, and in his position as Staff Sergeant, Community Response Unit Manager, with 53 Division, he knows virtually everything about it. Plus he still calls Leaside home.
Moyer has seen a lot of changes take place in the area over the years. He remembers as a child playing hockey in the arena and baseball in Leaside Park. After the games in the evening his only concern was getting home on time. Today, however, a young boy or girl alone at night might be in a much more precarious situation given the increase in robberies and assaults in the park, and certainly much more vehicular traffic than there was in his day.
“These certainly are some of the biggest differences in the area today than when I was a kid growing up,” Moyer says. “I mean there’s been a huge change in the infrastructure in the area with more superstores, shopping malls and roads, and just look at all the condos going up. There’s a much greater/denser population and many of those households may have two or more cars. There are a lot more robberies and assaults taking place, and you see a lot more homeless and people with mental illness than you ever did years ago. These were things I never had to worry about.”
In spite of a rise in social and public safety issues that have come along with development and progress, Leaside has been able to maintain its sense of community and neighbourliness over the years along with a very substantial increase in property values and standard of living.
“This is a big draw for people – the standard of living,” Moyer says. “People are really proud to be residents of Leaside, so they invest a lot of money in their houses to keep them current and looking good, and they spend a lot of time in the community. They really get involved in local activities and issues. They feel a real sense of community and want to make a contribution.”
In his position Moyer goes to a lot of parent-teacher meetings and has seen a great increase in interest and attendance.
“Years ago not many people came to them, but I’m very impressed today about people’s commitment to the community and its needs,” Moyer says. “There’s a real sense that they want to get involved to protect and maintain the great standard of life that they have and to get full value from their investments. I think it bodes well for the health and security of Leaside in the future.”