The City of Saint John wants its residents to party this summer.
This week, the city launched its Community Block Party Trailer, a vibrant 14-foot van holding a barbecue, a canopy, tables, chairs, games, hula hoops and a sound system for party goers to blast tunes.
Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon said the goal is to bring communities together.
“In the summertime, especially when the weather is great, you want to get outside, you want to get out with the kids, you want to do something with your neighbours. It just helps facilitate that.”
For those without a barbecue or the necessary supplies, the Community Block Party Trailer solves the problem.
“It’s wildly simple,” Reardon said. The van is free to rent and can be booked online on the City of Saint John website. The only requirements are that people clean the equipment and stay within the city limits. Only community groups, not individuals, should be the ones booking it, Reardon said.
Lori Lambert, Saint John’s supervisor for community development, proposed the Community Block Party Trailer when the city began prioritizing new recreational efforts after several years of events cancelled by COVID-19.
The trailer initiative received a budget of $45,000 for the trailer and its contents.
“It was definitely a worthwhile investment,” Lambert said. “Going forward, the cost is pretty minimal to maintain it.”
The idea originated from a past community program called the Green Machine.
Also free to book, community members were able to rent a van equipped with cleaning supplies for neighbourhood cleanups.
Similar in size, the Green Machine comes with a long list of supplies, including rakes, shovels, pruning shears and safety equipment. It will be available to book again in Fall 2023.
Currently, the city allows one booking per day for the Block Party Trailer. The van is dropped off at the location and comes with a city staffer to oversee maintenance.
Saint John has a strong sense of neighbourhood solidarity, Lambert added.
“We’re all very proud to say, ‘I live in Greendale or I live in Lakewood Heights,” she said. “We want to celebrate those neighbourhoods, we want to celebrate our beautiful parks here in the city, so this is just another mechanism to do that.”