December 2, 2009
Festive greetings to all our members, new and old. As 2009 draws to a close here’s a review of what’s happened over the past year. As an association we are involved in a number of activities, all of which are designed to support our mission statement: “We are proud of our community and working to make it better.” Our greatest asset in the south end is ourselves!
The neighbourhood level really is the best place to observe people power in action. It’s an old cliché, but together we really do make a difference. Cheers to all of us!
2009 – A year in Review
The Neighbourhood Plan
The south end neighbourhood planning process is finally underway. SECA has long been advocating and preparing for a plan and we are delighted to have an opportunity to shape the future development of our beloved south end. SECA has contributed a number of members to the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee and many of you will have participated in the open houses that have contributed to the planning process thus far. A range of important issues are being addressed, including, land use planning; social issues; transportation and roads; water access; parks and recreation and so much more. The planning process will roll out over the next year and should be complete by next summer. Stay tuned for further opportunities to participate in this important process.
Miners Heritage Picnic
15 years and getting bigger and better every year. The picnic has become a signature event for the neighbourhood and our association. It is the single largest gathering for the neighbourhood and this year we had considerably more children and families than ever before. Thanks to everyone who volunteered their time, energy and enthusiasm, and to the many south end businesses whose generosity makes this annual event such a great success.
Recycling Plant, Eaton Street
The IPI campaign is a wonderful example of how SECA makes a difference in our neighbourhood.. For years, residents living next to the plant have complained about noise and disturbance from the plant., but had been frustrated by the apparent inability of city hall to address their concerns. Our relationship with city hall, our organisational capacity and our determination to hold the company and the city accountable to reasonable community standards, have been instrumental in forcing a number of changes by the company, including the removal of all glass processing from the site. Local people, coming together to support each other and tackle issues that matter in the south end. That’s what SECA is all about.
Deverill Square Park
The jewel in our neighbourhood is looking better than ever. A few years ago when the neighbourhood was particularly stressed, we identified and began advocating for the regeneration of the park as a key part of our neighborhood improvement strategy. We have enjoyed terrific support from the city in this regard. New equipment has been installed, the park is used by sports teams on a regular basis, “art in the park” is adding colour and vitality, and future plans, e.g., a multiplex sports court, are in the works. How else might we develop the park? How could the park be better used by residents as a place of gathering and fun? Summer concerts in the park?
Lane Makeover, (extreme)
The infamous lane between Haliburton and Nicol and Milton and Farguhar has felt the love! Take a walk through the lane sometime and notice the absence of large numbers of folks lost to the world of drugs and despair. Notice the artwork on the lane, and on the walls and fences, notice the brightly painted art bins full of litter once strewn throughout the alley. Notice the newly planted shrubs and how tidy it looks. Notice that it doesn’t feel so scary, that there’s actually some really nice houses in there, and hey, say Hi to some of the really nice people who live there too! 2 afternoons of SECA inspired effort by friends and neighbours, music and bbq’s, and guess what…things change…
Our colourful art bins continue to pop up throughout the neighbourhood, devouring litter and bringing some much needed cheer and creativity to our streets. Snuneymaux First Nation liked them so much they painted some themselves and now have a number of bins doing their job on the No 1 reserve. We hope to plan another paint day soon, perhaps involving children from Bayview so stay tuned. Our monthly litter pick-ups have dwindled a bit and we might reintroduce our big spring clean one-day event next year.
Thanks to staff and residents at the Balmoral for being involved with us, keeping us informed about how the project is developing, and staying open to a lively and at times challenging conversation in the neighbourhood about the project and the complex social challenges that we face in the south end. SECA has tried to support the project in a number of ways. Our monthly meetings provide a forum for information about the project to be shared and discussed. We have written to funding authorities to urge for adequate levels of funding so that the project can be a success, both for the residents who live there and for those who live near by.
Particular thanks to Barbara Densmore and Larry Gambone for their wonderful efforts with the newsletter and blog. It has really changed the way we communicate with each other, both within the neighbourhood and beyond.
Fundraising / SECA Merchandising
The financial report will reveal more detailed accounts, but I just wanted to acknowledge the work of many of our members to raise money for our different events and activities. We recently held a very successful Beer and Burger fundraiser which helps pay for general SECA activities and our insurance costs, which are approximately $700 yearly. We raised over $6000 for our Miners Heritage Picnic this year and sales of the popular SECA T shirts, cards, silent auction and hot dog sales all contributed significantly to the SECA coffers. Thanks to everyone for their efforts and to the many local businesses who support our association.
Portland City Repair comes to Nanaimo
Just a few days ago SECA hosted an inspiring evening with Mark Lakeman from City Repair in Portland, at the new museum. Google “City Repair” for more information about the amazing work that has taken place in Portland. It’s a philosophy that we share. It’s about looking at how we can come together as neighbours. How we can create gathering places in our neighbourhood, rich with art and creativity, where we can get to know each other and have some fun. It’s about people getting out of their boxes and their cars and connecting! It’s what we do. How could we do more?
We lost some much-loved south enders this year and we’ve been thinking about their legacy and how SECA can honour their memory. Many of you will have attended the planting of Gino Sedola’s memorial tree on the corner of Milton and Irwin, in what was a moving and fitting tribute to that great man.
More recently Laura Ramsey passed away and again many of us attended her packed memorial service. We are wondering about a memorial flowerbed in the park for the vision impaired as a tribute to her.
Chief Viola Wyse passed away and we honour her contribution to the lives of her people. Viola played a significant role in the recycling plant campaign and in speaking forcibly on behalf of her people’s interests. We have made a contribution to the Breakfast Club that operates on reserve in her memory.
Miscellaneous things: and thanks!
There are many little things that we do as an association that contribute to our mission. They include various media contacts where I or others share the south end perspective regarding a wide range of issues that directly or indirectly impact our neighbourhood. We try to talk about our strengths and all the great things about our neighbourhood as the best way to challenge many of the negative and myth based perceptions that exist about the south end.
We helped the city plant trees in Maffeo Sutton Park; we went to the school board and participated in a dialogue about school facilities and advocated for the building we sit in tonight. We met with developers and gave them feedback on proposed new housing developments. We organized a neighbourhood soccer drop in at the park. We participate in the Neighbourhood Network Association with other groups from across the city.
We invite local politicians and city officials to come to our meetings and get engaged with our association. We take every opportunity to appreciate and thank the many people and agencies that interact with our neighbourhood and work so hard on our behalf. We so very much appreciate their support. They include:: MLAs Doug Routley and Leonard Krog, Corporal Dave Laberge and his colleagues at the RCMP.
Many city official and staff who work in and support our neighbourhood, in different ways with particular thanks to Randy Churchill, Chris Scholberg and Kirsty Macdonald,
Mayor Ruttan and members of council …thanks to all.
Happy Holidays and best wishes,
Douglas Hardie, Chair
Read Full Post »