Hopes for 2014
2014 hopes to be a year of increased engagement for the McCauley Community League. The last three years have included innumerable projects: preventing bottle depots going in across from elementary schools; ensuring children in McCauley continue to have priority access to the Victoria School for Performing Arts; running and administrating 12 different community and recreation programs that service in excess of 2000 users per year; coordinating 150+ volunteers; inspiring new and creative energy; and so much more. March 20, 2014 will mark my departure from the role as President. I would endorse and support Vice President Nicholas Hermansen in his bid for the presidency of the McCauley Community League Board of Directors for 2014-2015 and beyond.
2014 will be the last year the Edmonton and District Labour Council will celebrate Labour Day in Giovanni Caboto Park. City of Edmonton CRC Karen Kennedy is hard at working finding a suitable and sizeable location for their annual event to take place from 2015 and beyond. Meanwhile, their 25th anniversary will occur on Labour Day, 2014. We are so glad that the City of Edmonton, MCL, and the EDLC were able to come to a conclusion that works well for all parties.
News of the City of Edmonton administration adopting a minimum 5% maximum 20% concentration of social housing as their own guidelines for determining suitability and funding for developments suggests that a defacto moratorium will remain in place. This pause on development comes alongside work that Sustainable Development and Community Services are undertaking to determine the housing needs of McCauley. Some neighbours have suggested the notion of a resident-driven ‘”problem property team” that could target boarding and rooming houses that are filled to overcapacity, not operating in an appropriate way, are unhealthy or unsafe, etc. This work is ongoing.
Poverty within Canada is endemic. Specifically, the patterning of impoverished populations within urban centres is commonplace within major Canadian cities – this isn’t just a McCauley problem. The overall wellness of individuals within neighbourhoods of residence is impacted by both their own income as well as that of those living around them. Unequal distribution of wealth perpetuates health inequalities, and an equal spread of power and resources among a population leads to healthier people. Health policy, housing policy, and income distribution policies need to align and intersect to increase the health of all Canadians. The City of Edmonton’s commitment to healthy neighbourhood thresholds is a first step towards recognizing and addressing the health of all of our neighbours. The MCL has played a role in that in the neighbourhood while I have been involved, and I would hope to see more of the same into the future.
Poverty within Canada is endemic. Specifically, the patterning of impoverished populations within urban centres is commonplace within major Canadian cities – this isn’t just a McCauley problem.
Now, concerning the future of the Rink. Much misinformation is out in the public about why changes were made to the running of the Rink for 2013/2014. To be clear: a larger neighbourhood-wide conversation needs to be had about what residents of McCauley would like to see built at the Rink site. Many would like a League hall or a Church Street museum to stand at the site. Housing has also been suggested before, and even got so far as the planning stage. Indeed, this decision needs to be made by residents of the neighbourhood and ought to involve the vision of those who will be required to volunteer to maintain and run whatever gets built on the land. At this point, an agreement cannot be reached between MCL and KIDS. The Board of the McCauley Community League has a neighbourhood-minded vision for the Rink that is incompatible with KIDS’ vision. We believe the Rink could empower and coalesce the neighbourhood and present itself as a “third space” for all. KIDS does not share the same ideas, and seemingly would like to see all hockey, all the time.
Finally, I bid you farewell. It has been (mostly) a pleasure serving this neighbourhood, and I’m looking forward to some springtime park dates and lattes to go.