The future of East Elmwood gives people plenty to talk about.
The Elmwood Community Resource Centre’s first community conversation of 2013 at the Keenleyside Resource Centre on Jan. 8 touched on numerous topics over the course of the approximately two-and-a-half hour meeting.
First, Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan), NDP MLA Matt Wiebe (Concordia) and Conservative MP Lawrence Toet (Elmwood-Transcona) were posed questions from community resource centre executive director Martin Landy on how to combat youth crime, improve education and training, and encourage residents to eat a more healthful diet. Residents were invited to ask questions after the politicians touched on each topic.
After a short break, Landy turned over the floor to the approximately 50 area residents who jammed into the centre. Several residents wondered about the timeline for rebuilding the East Elmwood Community Centre, which burned down in March 2011. Steen said a brand-new centre worth approximately $5 million will be announced on Jan. 15.
"I think on Jan. 15, they’re going to be very happy people," Steen said after the meeting.
Other concerns put forth by residents included the lack of certain programs in the area, as well as Winnipeg Transit service, especially in non-peak hours.
Landy said now that several issues have been presented to him and to area politicians, it’s time to get to work on solving them.
"Communication and collaboration is key to anything happening in this community," he said. "It’s great to see people come out and be passionate about the issues that are important to them."
"We don’t say what priorities are. The community sets them."
Landy will review and summarize the information that came out of the meeting, send it to the three levels of government and post it to its website. As well, Landy invited anyone with suggestions about East Elmwood’s direction to make an appointment with him to discuss it. The Elmwood resource centre will hold another conversation later this year. The discussion process will create a plan guiding the centre’s involvement in the community while suggesting a plan of action for three levels of government.
Wiebe took concerns about education to heart.
"We had a lot of young parents here, and parents who care a lot about what happens in the school," said Wiebe. "They’re a resource for us, and I believe they’re going to continue to guide where we go with our provincial funding."
Toet stressed that politicians are eager to support good work in the community.
"It’s the grassroots of communities that actually get things done. As governments, we’re trying to facilitate (that work) and work with them," he said.