A PLAN of action to prevent a repeat of the Caia Park riots is a positive way forward, according to two organisations.
The Wrexham Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group (WRASSG) and the Caia Park Partnership will play key roles in the proposed measures to avoid a repeat of the riots of 17 months ago.
The proposals, formulated by council officers, target education for asylum seekers and native residents and look at ways to find a middle ground between the customs of the area and the traditions of the different nationalities who have come to the town.
These include bringing members of the immigrant population into discussions on traditional celebrations and giving them some input, actively starting discussions in the community between immigrants and residents, and beginning integration and education early in schools.
Caia Park Partnership, which works to foster a spirit of community on the estate, welcomed the recommendations.
'The Partnership welcomes this report and feels it contains many useful suggestions which we are confident will help to avoid a repetition of what was a very painful experience,' said chief executive Alison Hill.
The recommendations must still be ratified by full council before they can be implemented but WRASSG says it believes they will help improve harmony between the immigrant population and Wrexham's native population.
The group singled out the decision to consider rejoining the All-Wales Local Authority Consortium for Asylum Seekers and Refugees as key to moving away from the situation that sparked the disturbances in June 2003.
'Since Wrexham left the consortium it has been out on a limb, said WRASSG chairman the Rev James Aylward.
'Not being a member has left the town unable to influence legislation on asylum seekers and refugees and has not been able to control the situation as much as it needs to.
'We understand that these are just recommendations that have to be ratified by full council but we also know that the officers who put the report together have done a good job.
'The offer to reconsider grant support for our organisation will really help. We are on the frontline with refugees in Wrexham and are a key part of the integration process.
'I hope that as well as these recommendations, the council considers creating a multi-cultural centre of some kind where different ethnic groups can meet and talk in a peaceful setting.'
Mr Aylward said that from what he had seen Wrexham was no worse than anywhere else when it came to racial incidents.
'It has problems,' he said. 'It is difficult to say whether the attacks on immigrants are racially motivated or spurred on by the misconceptions that asylum seekers are illegal immigrants.
'The difference between the two is great and I think we are slowly getting that message across. Asylum seekers have legally come to this country to flee war and tyranny while illegal immigrants have sneaked in without going through proper channels.
'Perhaps the most important move is for the council to actively include ethnic groups in planning culturally sensitive services. The segregation and division there currently does nothing to help relations.
'Finally the council is to address the issue of migrant workers, who are often treated badly and live in poor conditions.
'The Caia Park incidents were terrible but they have sparked this action, some of which has been needed for some time.
'I hope the council approves these moves because they are exactly what is needed to move forward positively and make the refugee population feel welcome in Wrexham.'