Steve Snyder

Steve Snyder

Luxton / Seven Oaks community correspondent

Steve Snyder is a community correspondent for the Seven Oaks and Luxton neighbourhoods and chair of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association.

Recent articles of Steve Snyder

Why do neighbourhood associations matter?

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Why do neighbourhood associations matter?

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

If you live in West Kildonan or Garden City you may have heard the city was planning to move the West Kildonan Library from its currently location at Jefferson Avenue and Powers Street to a commercial unit in Garden City Mall.

I won’t go over the details of the fight to keep it where it is (a fight we thankfully won), as they have been in the news quite a bit, but I do want to talk about just how we managed to win this fight.

I was one of three founding members of the Friends of West Kildonan Library, a coalition of area residents that banded together to oppose this move from city council.

Together with Jefferson resident Evan Krosney and Garden City resident (and fellow Canstar community correspondent) Daniel Guenther we rallied the community and created enough opposition that council changed direction.

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

Alexa Antonation participates in the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association community cleanup.

Want to help the neighbourhood? Find a friend

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Want to help the neighbourhood? Find a friend

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

My friend Kelly is the exact type of person I like to write about. She is what Jane Jacobs and I would call an interested citizen.

If you’ve never read an article of mine before, an interested citizen is someone who uses their community wisdom to seize opportunities to make the neighbourhood better.

Kelly’s been in the neighbourhood for 14 years and has been running for at least 15. When she first started running, she would do it alone while listening to music. But Kelly is also very social, so she started meeting up at run clubs all around the city.

As she got more and more into running she found herself travelling around the city to be a part of various clubs. But the travel really didn’t appeal to her anymore, so she asked herself, “Why don’t we have one in our own community?”

Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

The Sun Chasers Run Club running group meets regularly at Kildonan Park.

Addressing housing equitably

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Addressing housing equitably

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

As a renter, I’ve followed the housing affordability conversation closely. While affordable housing is an issue for me and my family, I don’t think it’s right to just focus on the numbers. Simplifying it to “just get units built” ignores all the nuance of building community.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of Jane Jacobs, the writer of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Her ideas, and her speaking, have led me to believe that building community is not as much about planning for the end state — how many units are needed — it’s about planning the process.

One of the items on the agenda of the March 18 meeting of the Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee was a variance and conditional use public hearing for Raising the Roof’s affordable rental units on Mountain Avenue.

The proposal would see an old nail salon with a single unit of housing above turn into three units of affordable housing. In looking at the design, that’s it. The building envelope will stay identical, all that is changing is they are adding a few kitchens inside.

Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

This building at 573 Mountain Ave. is being converted into an affordable housing complex by Toronto-based organization Raising the Roof.

Gratitude in this new year

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Gratitude in this new year

Steve Snyder 5 minute read Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

 

It’s a bit far into the new year for this but, as this is my first column since 2021, I thought I would start by showing gratitude to those who shared their gifts of time, attention, and connection with me.So first, I’d like to thank John Kendle, managing editor of Canstar Community News for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his circle of writers, and for leading us through the change from six community newspapers to just two.I’d also like to show gratitude to the many people who have reached out to me over the past year of writing for Canstar’s Times newspaper, and who will hopefully reach out to me as I write for the East edition of the Free Press Community Review. You shared with me your stories and concerns and they inspire me. You’ve shown me that being a member of this community means you never lack for connection, someone is always there to listen and to help when they can.The board and volunteers of the Seven Oaks and Luxton Residents’ Associations are an inspiration to me as well, and I’m grateful that I was able to play a small part in the restarting of the former, and listen and learn from the latter.In my short history with the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association I have seen so much accomplished, and the drive I see at our monthly meetings reminds me why I got involved in the first place.To the board of the Luxton Residents’ Association, with your history and willingness to share your knowledge with a fledgling group like ours, I also offer my thanks. You are a lesson in continuity and I’ll be elated if Seven Oaks Residents’ Associationis able to accomplish what you have in Luxton.And finally to my wife and kids. Anne, I’m grateful you put up with my attendance at the countless Zoom meetings that carry into bedtime, for bringing so much joy to my life, and for always supporting me in all the things I get involved with. I know it’s a lot to put up with. Kids, you’re the reason I want to make our community, neighbourhood and city a better place. I love you all.This community I belong to, and now the wider community I will be writing for, have so much to give. I am grateful for each one of you, the people who read my articles.I’d love to hear your story — what sort of community initiative did you try in 2021? Email me at seve.oaks.ra@gmail.com. No one who has ever built something has done it alone, we can connect and learn from each other.Steve Snyder is a community correspondent for the Seven Oaks and Luxton neighbourhoods and chair of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association 

It’s a bit far into the new year for this but, as this is my first column since 2021, I thought I would start by showing gratitude to those who shared their gifts of time, attention, and connection with me.

So first, I’d like to thank John Kendle, managing editor of Canstar Community News for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his circle of writers, and for leading us through the change from six community newspapers to just two.

Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

Steve Snyder
Correspondent Steve Snyder expresses his gratitude to his wife, Anne, and their children in his first column of 2022.

Growing a movement of citizens

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Growing a movement of citizens

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

When I shared my article about my inspiration, Jane Jacobs, on social media I received a bit of pushback about my thoughts. I always love these criticisms as they can either strengthen my convictions or can help me grow and change. This one did a bit of both.

The criticism I received was regarding my opinion that ordinary citizens are the best people to tackle complex issues; people argued that at some point professionals are needed to do a proper job.

I agree. Professionals do have a place in the creation of community but many of the complex issues that our mature neighbourhoods are seeing can’t be solved by planners and engineers. It takes a grounded effort. Neighbourhoods function more like ecosystems where everything is connected intricately and in ways that can’t be captured by zoning codes, bylaw changes, or street design.

Great neighbourhoods are those in which citizens feel they are active participants; where they can make a difference. As much as planners would like it to be tures, they are not created by the best zoning codes.

Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

When I shared my article about my inspiration, Jane Jacobs, on social media I received a bit of pushback about my thoughts. I always love these criticisms as they can either strengthen my convictions or can help me grow and change. This one did a bit of both.

The criticism I received was regarding my opinion that ordinary citizens are the best people to tackle complex issues; people argued that at some point professionals are needed to do a proper job.

I agree. Professionals do have a place in the creation of community but many of the complex issues that our mature neighbourhoods are seeing can’t be solved by planners and engineers. It takes a grounded effort. Neighbourhoods function more like ecosystems where everything is connected intricately and in ways that can’t be captured by zoning codes, bylaw changes, or street design.

Great neighbourhoods are those in which citizens feel they are active participants; where they can make a difference. As much as planners would like it to be tures, they are not created by the best zoning codes.

Growing a movement of citizens

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Growing a movement of citizens

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

When I shared my article about my inspiration, Jane Jacobs, on social media I received a bit of pushback about my thoughts. I always love these criticisms as they can either strengthen my convictions or can help me grow and change. This one did a bit of both.

The criticism I received was regarding my opinion that ordinary citizens are the best people to tackle complex issues; people argued that at some point professionals are needed to do a proper job.

I agree. Professionals do have a place in the creation of community but many of the complex issues that our mature neighbourhoods are seeing can’t be solved by planners and engineers. It takes a grounded effort. Neighbourhoods function more like ecosystems where everything is connected intricately and in ways that can’t be captured by zoning codes, bylaw changes, or street design.

Great neighbourhoods are those in which citizens feel they are active participants; where they can make a difference. As much as planners would like it to be tures, they are not created by the best zoning codes.

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

When I shared my article about my inspiration, Jane Jacobs, on social media I received a bit of pushback about my thoughts. I always love these criticisms as they can either strengthen my convictions or can help me grow and change. This one did a bit of both.

The criticism I received was regarding my opinion that ordinary citizens are the best people to tackle complex issues; people argued that at some point professionals are needed to do a proper job.

I agree. Professionals do have a place in the creation of community but many of the complex issues that our mature neighbourhoods are seeing can’t be solved by planners and engineers. It takes a grounded effort. Neighbourhoods function more like ecosystems where everything is connected intricately and in ways that can’t be captured by zoning codes, bylaw changes, or street design.

Great neighbourhoods are those in which citizens feel they are active participants; where they can make a difference. As much as planners would like it to be tures, they are not created by the best zoning codes.

Jane Jacobs in North End Winnipeg

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Jane Jacobs in North End Winnipeg

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Monday, Nov. 22, 2021

Those interested in urban planning may have recognized that many of my ideas have come from one of my true inspirations, Jane Jacobs.

Jacobs was a writer and activist best known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, about diverse, fine-grained cities made for and by ordinary people. One of her most famous quotes encapsulates what I believe every neighbourhood should strive for:

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

She is credited with coining terms such as “eyes on the street” and “the sidewalk ballet” when talking about interactions amongst people in the community. What she is really talking about here isn’t just life on the street, but about social capital.

Monday, Nov. 22, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
Members of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association at a recent meeting.

What a successful neighbourhood looks like

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What a successful neighbourhood looks like

Steve Snyder 5 minute read Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

In my piece “Neighbourhood investment is on the rise” (Aug 4, 2021), I mentioned that there is often conflict between property developers and residents. Neighbourhood groups have gripes about the lack of parking and the character of the neighbourhood when new buildings go up.

At the same time, Winnipeg is seeing a huge housing affordability and homelessness problem.

I can’t, with a clear conscience, say that investing in more housing is a failure - but is it a success? What does a successful neighbourhood investment look like?

I believe housing is an important aspect of a community but success really starts with capital staying in the community, and the people in the community experience that success through a growth in their individual wealth.

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
Correspondent Steve Snyder wonders how the redevelopment of neighbourhoods can also benefit those who live in the area.

Tackling vacant properties in the North End

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Tackling vacant properties in the North End

Steve Snyder 3 minute read Monday, Sep. 13, 2021

We have far too many vacant buildings in this community.

As the city incentivizes more and more suburban development, our North End is seeing less and less investment. It’s easy to see in the number of vacant buildings and the burden they are putting on our neighbourhood. It’s hard to put a value on the situation, but the City of Winnipeg website says vacant buildings are an increased risk of fire, post safety hazards and increase urban blight.

I see it every day, and I’m sure you do, too. Walking around your neighbourhood, you’ll see a burned-out abandon building here, a boarded-up building there. We need to take steps to fix them.

The problem becomes pernicious in its cumulative effect. As more properties become vacant, arson and crime rise and it creates further incentives for emaining residents to flee.

Monday, Sep. 13, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
Vacant, untended homes and buildings are a blight on local neighbourhoods.

Neighbourhood investment is on the rise

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Neighbourhood investment is on the rise

Steve Snyder - Community correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 30, 2021

One of the oldest homes in the Luxton neighbourhood is being demolished.

A public notice was recently posted in front of 94 Cathedral Ave. letting the neighbourhood know that the owner of the property has applied to have the building demolished and to split the lot in two to build two buildings.

Neighbourhood groups around the city, such as the Glenwood Neighbourhood Association, have been fighting developers on some of the less favourable aspects of these lot splits, while those on the other side of the argument, such as YIMBY — Yes In My Backyard — Winnipeg, speak about newer homes being more energy efficient and the role denser housing plays on the city’s coffers.

Both these arguments are true, and my own opinion on the matter is somewhere in the middle; I agree that many of the homes being built aren’t making the neighbourhood a better place, but I also see the need for improvements to help our civic government deal with its stretched budget and to help reduce greenhouse gases.

Friday, Jul. 30, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
The owner of this Luxton area home, at 94 Cathedral Ave., has applied to demolish it and then split the lot upon which it sits.

Somebody should…

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Somebody should…

Steve Snyder - Community correspondent 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2021

I received inspiration for this article from a strange place, a community Facebook group.

Instead of the usual complaint about people not picking up after their dog, someone posted an old picture of a corner store that had closed down in our neighbourhood, with many lamenting the closure and reminiscing about old times.

I had to ask myself, if so many people loved the old corner store and wished for its return, why did it close in the first place? And how could we bring one back?

When I asked this question the most common response was “Somebody should…”

Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
It’s up to all of us, not just somebody, to help make our neighbourhoods whole again.

Welcome to the neighbourhood

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Welcome to the neighbourhood

Steve Snyder - Community correspondent 3 minute read Thursday, May. 27, 2021

It seems I’m not the only one new to the neighbourhood during this pandemic.

Sari Rosenberg became principal at Governor Semple Elementary School at the beginning of this school year, and when I asked her how she’s enjoying her first year at the school, she said she’s loving it.

On Earth Day I took the opportunity to sit down with Rosenberg to chat about the school, her thoughts on community involvement, and what it was like changing schools during a pandemic.

“It’s such an intimate community… I came from a school last year that had about 500 kids, and it was a lovely school, but even after two years I didn’t know everybody’s name.” she revealed.

Thursday, May. 27, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
Governor Semple Elementary School principal Sari Rosenberg teaches a student about worms on Earth Day.

Why does no one care?

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Why does no one care?

Steve Snyder - Community correspondent 3 minute read Thursday, May. 6, 2021

When I speak with people about the biggest problems in their neighbourhoods, the list can vary but the conversation always ends the same way: “People just don’t care.”

This is true in a lot of cases — no one cares anymore. But the thing is it’s not the people that have changed, people want to care — they just need something to care about.

We, as a community, have stripped away all the things that meant something to people. We’ve actively removed the reasons for people to care — and without a reason to care, no one will.

When my neighbourhood was first built it was built with pride: we had beautiful buildings, we had local ownership, and we had high social capital and a strong local community. People knew one another.

Thursday, May. 6, 2021

Photo by Steve Snyder
New businesses, such as Modern Coffee at 191 Inkster Blvd., are some of the things that can help people feel proud about their neighbourhoods once again.

Supporting local is more than consuming more

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Supporting local is more than consuming more

Steve Snyder - Community correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Mar. 26, 2021

It’s hard to go a full day without hearing of local businesses doing it rough during COVID-19 lockdown. Last month we heard from Kate Fenske, executive director of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, telling us that we have lost 37 downtown businesses.

But why should we care? Large multinational companies will still: create job opportunities; generate property tax, income tax, sales tax and other government fees; and we will still be able to get all our basic needs met. So why is supporting local such an important issue?

There are a lot of reasons, but I’d like to discuss the most important, in my opinion: balance of trade.

Balance of trade is looked at commonly when we look at interactions between countries, but not as common when we look at flows and stocks within localities, and I think that’s a mistake.

Friday, Mar. 26, 2021

It’s hard to go a full day without hearing of local businesses doing it rough during COVID-19 lockdown. Last month we heard from Kate Fenske, executive director of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, telling us that we have lost 37 downtown businesses.

But why should we care? Large multinational companies will still: create job opportunities; generate property tax, income tax, sales tax and other government fees; and we will still be able to get all our basic needs met. So why is supporting local such an important issue?

There are a lot of reasons, but I’d like to discuss the most important, in my opinion: balance of trade.

Balance of trade is looked at commonly when we look at interactions between countries, but not as common when we look at flows and stocks within localities, and I think that’s a mistake.