Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/8/2015 (1525 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Local heroes are found all over our beautiful city, each helping our communities in different ways.
Some are more obvious than others, as their names might appear in headlines for athletic achievements or popular arts performances. Other heroes perform their works in almost invisible roles, like helping others find a safe and supportive living environment.
Linda Ferguson is one such person in Riel. She is the president of the Village Canadien Housing Co-op (VCHC), the largest housing co-op in Manitoba, with sites on River Road, Meadowood Drive and Maurepas Village Housing Co-op in Selkirk.
I met Linda years ago while we walked our dogs — little did I know at the time that I would have the honour of writing this column. Linda’s experience with co-ops began in 1999, when she became a member of Village Canadien Housing Co-op (VCHC) because she needed safe and affordable housing for her and her dogs. She soon became involved in the co-op and the learning that began then continues to this day.
Since 2007, Linda has served as president of the board for VCHC. She also served as the treasurer for the co-op and the Co-op Housing Development Group. She was also the director for the Manitoba Co-operative Association and for six years was the director for the Cooperative Housing Federation in Manitoba. Linda was also a part of the awareness and education working group that supports our government’s co-operative housing strategy and is a director for the equity co-op home ownership program.
Linda is a big supporter of co-ops, because she believes they are the best way to provide affordable housing. The democratic process of co-ops allows members to have their say in how it’s run. It also provides a valuable opportunity to get experience through serving on a committee or board and attending educational workshops.
With Linda as president, Village Canadien does not rest on its laurels; rather it keeps moving forward with Manitoba firsts. They brought to life the dream of a 55-plus co-op on River Road, an expansion of VCHC, so members could stay in the communities they knew. This is the first expansion of an existing co-op in Manitoba. Last December, Village Canadien completed a merger with the Maurepas Village Housing Co-op. This is the first merger of two housing co-ops in Manitoba, and it resulted in the ability to negotiate funding to assist with the co-op’s financial needs to include much-needed capital repairs.
As long as it is, her list of accomplishments doesn’t come close to reflecting how much she has given back to Riel. Where would the tenants of Village Canadien be without her nurturing and smart decision-making skills, which keep them in the safe and affordable housing?
Thank you Linda for your vision and compassion which has helped so many find a good home.
Riel constituency report
Christine Melnick is NDP MLA for Riel.