More Than Just a Place to Live

  • A building on 103 Avenue and 95 Street is demolished. Sharon Pasula

Seeing this building on 103 Avenue and 95 Street come down brings mixed emotions for me. I’ve walked by here many times and watched the building deteriorate to the point where I was going to call the City of Edmonton and make a complaint. A week or so later, I noticed the demolition sign and thought, “Good – it has become a hazard.” However, one of my relatives used to rent the house many, many years ago. I remember playing tag as a young child in the basement with cousins, running around the furnace and water pipes. Fun times for kids while the adults visited upstairs. But my relatives moved away, we moved away, I moved away.

Decades later some things remain, but even they eventually must go. At the same time, people return. To what do we return? A community struggling to be vibrant, safe, a place to call home, not just a place to live. A place mixed with people trying to build community while others are more concerned about economic gain for themselves, not caring about those who actually live here. It’s often frustrating for me personally as I felt it was Creator’s will for me to move into this area. But change takes time – just like the house that was demolished didn’t become decrepit overnight. It once was a home, full of life and bustle. Someone let it die. It could have been housing families all these years that it sat vacant, if it would have been cared for and nurtured.

So, I encourage myself. I let Creator encourage me, and – hallelujah – there are a couple of neighbours in the building that I call home (out of 64 units), who are community-minded who encourage me. There are others in the neighbourhood also seeking peace and community. These awesome people are creating a synergy and won’t let the vision die – the vision for community. As one building will open literally new space, I pray that Creator will open new space in the hearts of the people not only in this community but in this city, to build community and be community, to make Edmonton home, more than just a place to live.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

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