Another year in the south end gallops by and this is an opportunity to reflect upon the work of the association over the past year, to celebrate our accomplishments and look forward to 2012. As in years past, SECA has been involved in a broad range of projects and activities and has been fully engaged in the civic life of our city. Here are some of the highlights:
This has been our first year since the plan was formally adopted and the SECA Executive has been busy working with city planner, Chris Sholberg to identify short, medium and long term items for action, (please refer to Chris’s summary report). The plan’s implementation has coincided with a complete review and re-writing of the city zoning bylaws. Our Neighborhood Plan was instrumental in guiding that process with respect to land use changes in the south end and the new zoning by-law represents a significant step towards the vision outlined in the south end neighbourhood plan. Our challenge will be to stay fully engaged with the plan, to advocate for it when it is challenged and to breathe life into it by taking on responsibility for areas that we can impact and influence. Thanks to Chris Sholberg for all his ongoing help and commitment to the process.
Mad Hatters Tea Party, August 7
Alice in Wonderland came to Deverill Square Park in August and she and her cast of loonies put on a wonderful tea party which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Games, costumes, delicious teas and goodies, check out the photos on our blog. Huge thanks to Paula, David, Sydney and all who have helped create this wonderful south end event.
19th annual Miner’s Heritage Picnic.
Our single biggest event and largest gathering of south end residents in the calendar year. Truly a celebration of all things south end, but most importantly, of the people who flock in their hundreds to this much loved event. It’s a lot of work, (with special thanks to Sandra), but we all pitch in and 19 years after Charles Torhjelm got it all started, it’s going stronger than ever. This year is the big 20!
Re-Dedication Ceremony, Memorial Kiosk at the No. 1 Mine, May 2011
Thanks to the City and to Charles for his tireless work on this important memorial near the head of the old No 1 mine. It was a great turn out with live music, speeches from elected officials and time to reflect upon our mining heritage. Many of us were particularly inspired by the words of Muriel MacKay-Ross, “a coal miner’s daughter” who talked about the mines and the strength of the south end community that worked in them.
Art Bin Program Expands
It all started when Maggie Wouterloot got tired of the litter in front of her house, painted up an old garbage can and launched the celebrated art bin project. Since then approximately 30 brightly painted bins have popped up across our neighbourhood and beyond. What was once a chronic neighbourhood litter problem has been largely eradicated. Thanks to all who have adopted a bin, empty their trash and provide ongoing support for this great project.
Neighborhood Litter Pick Up, March 5
Just to compliment our art bin efforts a gathering of about 15 hardy souls collected a big truck load of garbage from the neighborhood. Keeping litter off our streets has been a simple but remarkably effective strategy over a number of years in bringing people together and improving the physical appearance of the neighborhood.
South End Cob Co-op
This fledging venture has been championed by board member Chris LoScerbo, (founding member of Mud Girls) and all round cob devotee. The association has joined as a founding member of this co-op and we’re excited to participate in this innovative project. Where should we install a cob bench and neighborhood gathering place?
David Livingstone has long been our guerrilla gardener-in-resident but he has some stiff competition from Sydney Robertson who gathered up a gang of green thumbs and stole off under the cover of darkness to plant hundreds of bulbs throughout the neighborhood. I can’t wait for spring!
This is an important aspect of our work as an association. Our insurance costs add up to about $1200 annually and our Miners Heritage Picnic has an operating budget of approximately $6000. This year we had a very successful Beer N Burger at Alice’s restaurant and many worked hard throughout the year to raise funds for the picnic. Many thanks to all involved and to the membership in general for supporting our fund raising activities. Special thanks to Sandra for all her efforts in this regard.
Great Ideas that haven’t quite taken off…
Our “Shop In The South End” campaign, complete with newly minted lapel badges, got off to a flying start with a glossy feature in the blog about RU Computing ( a great example of a successful local business, owned and operated by local residents Brent and Maddy,). The goal is to profile and support business in the south end, a key element in any vibrant neighborhood. It’s still a great idea
Other small but significant SECA activities
Thanks to Chris, SECA now has an Ethical Purchasing Policy which is an excellent piece of work and has helped us better define the values and principals that guide our actions. The South End Blog continues to provide a large audience with monthly updates on all matters SECA and other information that impacts the south end. This has been a remarkably successful tool for the association and our continued thanks and appreciation to Larry and Barbara who make it work. SECA, travelled to a number of other events, (thanks to the Tea Wagon), notably the Ladysmith Labour Day Picnic and a World Planning Day in Nanaimo, hosted by city planners. SECA was fully engaged in the recent civic elections and thanks to Ed and Barbara who pulled together our on-line questions for the candidates. SECA also contribute money and resources to the all candidates forum at Beban Park as part of the Neighborhood Network. We bought our very own pop up tent which will proudly house our materials and info at all future events. Many thanks to David Scott for donating considerable time and materials in producing our heritage calendars which are on sale tonight, just in time for Christmas. A must have for the discerning south ender! Young Professionals of Nanaimo launched the community garden that resides in a lot owned and kindly donated by Brent and Madlyn at RU Computing. And finally … SECA has participated in the ongoing debate about low barrier housing by sharing our own experience with the Balmoral and championing the idea that good things can happen when people work at relationship!
Thanks…. Thanks …Thanks…
SECA has worked hard over the years to build strong supportive relationships with a number of agencies and organisations that impact and influence the well-being of the neighborhood. Thanks to the City of Nanaimo and Chris Sholberg in particular, for all your support of the south end. Thanks to the RCMP and to Dave Laberge in particular whose efforts in our neighborhood have been extraordinary and very much appreciated. Thanks also to VIHA for the kind use of these premises, both for our regular meetings and during the Miners Picnic. Finally, thanks to the board and membership for making SECA a living, breathing, wonderful thing. Seasons greetings to you all and here’s to a prosperous and happy new year in the south end.
Douglas Hardie Chair
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