Why do neighbourhood associations matter?


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/06/2022 (351 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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.

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

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.

Some might ask how such a small group of community members could come together to spearhead this movement, and the answer is neighbourhood associations.

From May 3, when the plan to move was originally released, to May 18, when city council’s executive policy committee voted to not move the library, our communities mobilized. I am a board member of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association and we had an impromptu meeting confirming our opposition to the plan.

In short order our coalition was formed and we reached out to our contacts.

Our association, a small group of dedicated residents, meets monthly for informal conversation and to discuss our concerns. Conversations about what’s going on in the neighbourhood — vacant homes, cars making too much noise; the small things.

But it’s not just about the meeting — it’s about growing connected to your community and your neighbours. It’s these little things and working together to solve them that builds our relationships.

When you see something in your community that you want changed, how do you do it? Many people wouldn’t know where to start, but with a community resource like a neighbourhood association you have a first step — finding like-minded people and doing things

These could be big things, like opposing city council, or they could be something much smaller, such as a street market, planting trees, or clearing the a skating trail on the river in winter.

But this is a two-way street. You are in a relationship with your neighbourhood and your city, whether you know it or not. It’s important to realize that your neighbourhood shapes you just as much as you shape your neighbourhood.

Since I began writing for the west edition of the Free Press Community Review I have heard from so many amazing community members. I would love to hear from you as well – reach out to me at the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association, I’d love to chat.

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

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