Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting Animated About McCauley

Group Shot
Originally uploaded by raise my voice
From September to the end of December 2010, I was contracted by Action for Healthy Communities (AHC) as a Community Animator in McCauley. AHC is a non-profit organization that supports community development by equipping community members to develop Community Initiatives. Through this process, leadership and capacity amongst community members is developed, leading to initiatives that enhance the overall health of the community.

My role as a Community Animator included working directly with a small group of community members to develop initiatives; serve as a facilitator to connect people with resources and information; and, to foster discussions and dialogues about issues of concern.

The first month of my contract was spent mostly doing research and fact-finding, including meeting with several community members individually as well as Jane Molstad, McCauley’s Revitalization Coordinator. An email list was established as an easy way to send out announcements and gather information. As well, a Facebook page for McCauley Community Animation was created also to disseminate information and act as a discussion forum.

Early in October, myself and two other representatives from AHC met with three community members: Gary Garrison, Wendy Aasen, and Anna Bubel. The purpose of this community dialogue was to identify areas of concern for residents, discuss possible initiatives, and clarify AHC’s role in the process.

One of the first initiatives stemmed from conversations I had with Gary Garrison, who was looking to organize a coffeehouse that would connect artists, writers, poets, and musicians. The challenges were the general organization of the event and finding a suitable space. A preliminary meeting using the Boyle McCauley News office was not successful. However, after connecting community members with Revitalization as well as people involved with the Heart of the City Festival, the first McCauley Connect Coffeehouse was born.

The McCauley Connect Coffeehouse took place on December 4 at McCauley Centre (formerly McCauley School). The evening featured live music performances on a professional sound stage, beautifully decorated tables with a winter theme, and free snacks courtesy of Multicultural Health Brokers. Gary Garrison served as MC. It was a modest start of what will hopefully be more coffeehouses in the future. In fact, two more are scheduled for February 19 and March 19, with the tentative location of the school. The long-term goal is for a permanent facility for artists to mingle over coffee, have live performances, and showcase their work akin to The Carrot on Alberta Avenue.

The other initiative stems from the fact that Church Street was recently designated a historical resource by the City. What better way to celebrate than having a street dance and moveable feast/potluck along 96 Street. Colleen Chapman (BMC News' other Volunteer Coordinator) is organizing this event which is tentatively anticipated to take place in July. She already has several of the major churches on board and a DJ for the dance. If you are interested in helping out, you can contact Colleen care of the paper.

All of the Community Animators with AHC periodically met together as a group. At our final meeting, we discussed what we learned the most personally from our experience as Community Animators. I said that my knowledge was reinforced of how much capacity, ideas, and talent there is in McCauley. I also said that I did my very best to actually listen to what people were telling me and do the best I could to answer people's questions and take seriously their concerns, even if there was nothing I could immediately do about these particular issues or requests. This is the kind of respect McCauley needs from all parties who do consultations and development activities in the community, otherwise it just becomes a top-down, empty exercise.

Being a Community Animator was also a great networking opportunity for my work with Boyle McCauley News. I met Clara Gladue, another Animator in McCauley, who now writes the Aboriginal-themes column Drum Beats. I also met an Animator from the local Salvadoran community who lives in Boyle Street, who may also be interested in contributing to the paper.

My contract ended at the end of December, but obviously the initiatives and discussions that got rolling during my time as Community Animator will continue. I will still occasionally send out notices of news and events via the email list, so if you would like to get on that you can send me your email address at editor@bmcnews.org. As well, the Facebook page is going to remain online.

I want to thank everyone who took part in the animation process, whether it was providing feedback online, taking part in one of our initiatives, or just providing encouraging words.

Part Two: Seeking McCauley Balance

A dialogue with a community member raised the following questions that she felt had never been addressed as a neighbourhood. These questions were presented online and answers are being gathered and organized for information and interest. If you would like to take part, please send your responses care of the paper to editor@bmcnews.org.

McCauley needs to strive for balance, especially a balance of the things that are important to people in the area, such as less concentration of social housing, a better spread of demographics, and the improvement of safety issues.

1) What does balance in McCauley look like?

2) What would have to change in order for us to get there? It would be interesting to see the points of agreement and disagreement, and to see what the variance is depending on how long someone has lived here.

3) What is “McCauley normal” (as compared to “normal” for other areas)?

4) There needs to be indicators of positive change and a way keep track of such information. What is the current direction of change in McCauley and is it the change we want?

5) We also need to gather success stories. Can you tell a success story from your McCauley experience?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December-January 2010/2011 Issue

Our December-January 2010/2011 issue is now online. This is our annual "Holidays" issue. Here is a look at what's inside:

* Church Street Awarded Plaque
* Twenty Years of Artspace Housing Co-op
* Christmas Cooking
* Grand Manor: Five Years of Support
* Homefest: About Music AND a Message
* Chanukah: Let There Be Light
* An “Enlightening” Holiday Gift!
* Cop’s Corner: ‘Tis the Season for Crime Prevention Tips
* Around the Rink
* McCauley Revitalization Update
* Letters To The Editor
* Community League Updates

Download the entire issue as a PDF here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homefest 2010

Homefest is an annual event presented by the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness featuring music, poetry, art, and speakers to raise funds for and awareness of homelessness and housing issues. This year's event featured a fun and interactive children's area with storytelling, crafts, and clowns, as well as panels speaking about the experiences of homelessness from a variety of perspectives.

This year's art exhibit was expanded and included visual art (particularly photography, paintings, and mixed-media) that dealt with different aspects of housing issues. Photos from the late Leonard Martial were there (he was homeless and documented the streets), work from inner city youths and adults, and even a few of my pieces that were featured in Edmonton's Food Bank's Expressions of Hunger earlier this year.

As for music, a number of Edmonton's best folk and roots artists performed on three stages. The performance that stood out the most for me (and for others, as I gleaned afterwards from discussions) was "One Room," which featured singer/songwriters Bob Jahrig, Jessica Heine, Maria Dunn, and Joe Nolan performing songs they wrote to narrate photos taken 25 years ago by Sharon Nolan. Nolan photographed elderly residents of a downtown rooming house.

This was my first year attending Homefest, and I thought the connection between art/music and working on solving an important social issue was important. Here are my photos from Homefest.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 2010 Online

The November issue is now online! You can download a complete copy in PDF form here. Below is a look at what is inside:

* BMHC Celebrates 30 Years
* Iris Court Squashed
* Community Walkabout Highlights Issues
* Help Through the Seasons
* New Manager for McCauley Apartments
* Unique Solar Electric System in McCauley
* Where’s Our Shack?
* Cop’s Corner: Avoid Unwelcome Visitors
* Plans for Boyle Street Community Garden
* McCauley Revitalization Update
* Letters To The Editor
* Community League Updates
* Dining Out: The Noodle Maker

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Theatre Review: Billy Bishop Goes to War

Theatre Review

Ian Young

Billy Bishop Goes to War

War is not funny but a story of hard times can bring a bit of comical relief to a very stressful situation. Such is the story of Billy Bishop Goes to War. This is a story of one of Canada’s most famous war heroes. Written by John Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson (we all know him from “Oscar” on Corner Gas), this acclaimed award winning production appeared in 1978. It is the tale Billy Bishop loosely based on his narrative experience as an acclaimed fighter pilot in England during the First World War, a self proclaimed liar, horrible student, and troublemaker. It is an often humourous expose of how anything can be accomplished.

The amazing John Ulyatt, accompanied by Ryan Sigurdson, brings this entertaining tale to life. As part musical/narrative/visual, Ulyatt is amazing in the role of Billy Bishop playing not one but 19 characters! From Billy Bishop himself to the torchy French cabaret singer Helene, Ulyatt makes you believe it is a cast of thousands! How he can slip between characters in the blink of an eye is nothing short of impressive. Even though the set is mainly made up of wooden crates, chairs, and tables the scenes go from an actual flyer plane (that you get to watch Ulyatt construct) to a hospital bed, to a bar in Winnipeg, all the while Sigurdson on piano provides background vocals and sound effects to enhance the feeling.

Ulyatt has been a main staple of the Edmonton stage and we are lucky to have him. Sigurdson is a graduate of the acclaimed MacEwan University Theatre Arts Program and has done several past productions as pianist but hopefully will be around for many more.

Billy Bishop is the most unlikely young man to become a legend in the Canadian Ranks but this portrayal chronicles how he became a decorated, commendable part of Canadian History. As the play goes through the enlistment to the end it is very entertaining, haven seen live theatre in many cities like London etc these two are to be noticed for their tremendous on key performances.

From a truant miscreant to hero, this tale will captivate you from beginning to end. I even found myself singing some of the songs performed days later. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end and must admit the two hours “flew” by.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 2010 Issue Online

Our October 2010 issue is online. Our theme is "Giving Thanks" and is loaded with articles and news from community members and organizations. To download a copy in PDF format, click here. And here is a rundown of the content highlights:

  • East Meets West: Three Days of Culture
  • Sacred Heart Church Under Construction
  • Calling All Creatives
  • McCauley Gets Animated
  • Ability and Community
  • St. Stephen’s Saved!
  • Community League Wins Appeal
  • Cop’s Corner: Donations and Panhandlers
  • McCauley Revitalization Update
  • Letters To The Editor
  • Community League Updates
  • Dining Out: Padmanadi - Vegan/Indonesian
  • Thursday, September 2, 2010

    September 2010 Issue Online

    Our September issue is now online. Here is a look at what's inside:

    * Peas Be With You Garden is Now With Us
    * BMHC Celebrates 30 Years
    * Farewell to Berezans
    * Fab Flowers
    * Front Yard Finalist in McCauley
    * Adult Learners to Lose Valuable Tool
    * Our Reunion: A Learning Experience
    * Cop’s Corner: Theft From Vehicles
    * McCauley Revitalization Update
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    To download the issue in PDF format, click here.

    Archive on Microfiche

    We got a very special delivery earlier this week - our entire 30 year archive of newspapers on microfiche. It was exciting to hold the entire history of the paper in my hands, which amounts to three scrolls. Even in this day of computers and the Internet, microfiche is still the industry standard for archiving newspapers. The microfiche is now available for purchase by any library or institution.

    "Signs" of the Times

    Andrew Hanon from the Edmonton Sun spoke with Editor Paula, McCauley Community League President Rob Stack, and a few other stakeholders concerning Father Jim's signs around Sacred Heart Park and the social issues the neighbourhood faces. Read the story and the comments here. You can also leave a comment if you wish.

    East Meets West 2010

    This past weekend the McCauley neighbourhood came alive with East Meets West, a festival celebrating some of the different cultures we have here. It expanded to three days and included Africa in addition to Chinatown and Little Italy. Here is a look at a collection of photos from all three days, as well as an iReport from iNews880 prepared by our editor.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    July/August Issue Online

    Our Summer issue is now online! Here is a look at just some of what is inside:

    * New Mural Unveiled in McCauley
    * U10s Fought the Law - And Won!
    * In Memoriam: Frank Roccia
    * A Skateboard Park in McCauley!
    * McCauley Church Celebrates 100 Years
    * BRAC II Report Accepted by Council
    * ICYDA Withdraws From Boyle Renaissance
    * Heart of the City Music Festival 2010
    * Cans of Hope
    * McCauley Revitalization: A cultural experience
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    To download the entire issue in PDF format, point your browser to this link.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Heart of the City 2010

    The Heart of the City Music Festival took place on June 5 and 6. Expanded into a two-day festival, the free event in Giovanni Caboto Park featured non-stop live music, free art workshops, hula hoop demonstrations, an interactive art project (painting the letters making up the words "Heart of the City"), art and craft vendors, and more. This event is huge for the inner city, as it causes people from all over the city to visit the McCauley neighbourhood and come away with a more positive feeling about the area.

    Here are some photos from day one and day two of the festival.

    This was my fourth Heart of the City as a musician. Once again, I was part of the song circle. This is a video of me performing my song "The One Thing" and another of "Summer," a song about homelessness that was inspired by my work in the inner city.

    I also filmed a number of the other acts. Here is the Playlist for Heart of the City 2010 on Boyle McCauley News' YouTube channel.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    June 2010 Online Edition

    Our June issue is online! Here is a look at what you can find on the pages:

    * Premier Primavera a Blooming Success
    * Community Action Dash 2010
    * Downtown Arena Thoughts
    * Heart of the City Lineup
    * Revitalization Update
    * Soccer Update
    * Creating Balance
    * Is your garage easy pickings for thieves?
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    To download the paper in PDF, click here.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Executive Committee Meeting

    On April 21, several members of the McCauley Community League once again addressed the City of Edmonton's Executive Committee concerning the issue of putting a moratorium on subsidized and supportive housing in the area. Their complete presentations were transcribed by Sophy Yeung (the League's Communications person) and have been posted here for the community to read. The presentations took place in this order: Wendy, Sophy, Rob, and Father Jim. To view the meeting minutes and watch the video from the meeting, click here.

    Father Jim's Presentation to the City's Executive Committee, April 21

    Transcript of Reverend James Holland’s presentation to Executive Committee April 21, 2010

    Mr. Mayor and Council members, thank you for allowing me to speak. I kind of have a little softer touch; they've given you all the stats, you've read them and seen them. First of all, to those who don't know me, I am the pastor at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples. It is the official parish of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples in this Archdiocese. We are very proud to be of status. Also I would like to tell you that less than 5% of the aboriginal people live in the inner city. Most of our aboriginal people, First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, live in the entire city and most of them are very productive members of society.

    The other thing is that I start my 16th year at Sacred Heart September 1. When I came to Sacred Heart, the inner city was a ghetto and the inner city is still a ghetto. Some things change. Some things get worse. And there are a few things that get better. We have a housing problem, but we have worse problems than that. I don't know of any other community, other than maybe some of the surrounding areas, that allows public drinking in the streets and on the corners. I don't know if any of the other 200 something communities would allow people to use their drugs on my doorsteps of the church, buy and sell drugs openly as if it is a market.

    The agencies that work, work very hard. I am on the board of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre since 1997. I can walk into the Boyle McCauley Health Centre; someone will be using drugs on the front steps... in the back. They don't do it as much around my church because I have patrolled my church day and night.

    I clean up the park because, being in the ghetto, we get services, but we are the last one on the list. They will service everyone else in the city, until they service us. Parks department has the park next door, which belongs to the Catholic School Board which is the Catholic Church. They service it whenever they have cleaned every park in the city. I clean the park personally every day. When the grass needs to be cut, I cut the grass, because otherwise we would have to get a hay bailer in there to cut it. That's the type of service we get today.

    I don't call the police anymore because it takes them 2 hours, because there are so many other things, which our neighbourhood doesn't deserve. I also speak very much for those people we are talking about having rights. People who own houses, have lived in that neighbourhood, raised their children. They have rights too. I fortunately have several dogs in my house so I am alerted if anyone breaks in, but I have been hit twice. I've been called every name you could possibly call me. And I have been challenged and threatened with my life because I live in a ghetto. I deserve better and the people who live in that ghetto deserve better. I'm not so sure if this protocol is the right thing, but I can tell you this: we need better and healthier neighbourhoods.

    From what I see the Community League is trying to do, it’s to try to change this status of being a ghetto and try to make it a viable community, and that has to come from the help from downtown. You have to know how we live. I do have a spare room if any of you would like to come and move in for a couple weeks to see it for the real stuff. I would be more than happy to have you. You can answer my front door; you can walk in the parks; and be called names that you cannot believe.

    We also have a problem of human waste. At one time I picked up 5 piles of human waste out of the rink, sorry, so that kids would have a place to play. We don't have a lot of kids anymore because the schools are closing, but we still have kids who have rights. They have a right to have a park. They have a right to have a place to play. And I have to continue fighting doing it myself, as well as run my very large congregation. I thank you. And I know that with the wisdom of this council, I know that Mayor Stephen is a wise man, and I know we can work something out, and it doesn't have to be bureaucratic. It can simply be human beings living together with equal rights because we are all human beings. Thanks.

    Rob Stack's Presentation to the City's Executive Committee, April 21

    Presentation for Executive Committee April 21, 2010. Rob Stack McCauley Community League.

    Thank you, once again, for the opportunity to speak on this important issue.
    Back in my research days we talked of elegant solutions to problems. Solutions that are effective, efficient, constructive, and almost always shockingly simple. We have one of those solutions in front of us but we may be too busy “processing” to focus on potential outcomes.

    The elegant option is a regulated moratorium. Akin to Option 3 in the discussion paper. Effectively not adding more non-market housing to “High Threshold” neighbourhoods. The only significant exceptions being major Council-driven initiatives. Recognize that this is threshold based; this barrier would disappear when the indicators change.

    Regulatory firmness would create an instant base on which positive action could be built. Unlike an “incentive” approach no new consultative bodies need be created, no new pressures are placed on distressed neighbourhoods, nothing needs to be created to move forward, it involves no expenditures on incentives that may miss the mark.
    Vulnerable neighbourhoods, currently the path of least resistance, instantly are simply not under consideration. The inertia and huge machinery focusing non-market initiatives on these areas are redirected. Our neighbourhoods can then work towards better integrating existing developments and creating a great future.

    For developers, both market and non-market, a regulated policy provides the clarity and certainty that they require.

    Option 3 offers a huge advantage because it forces the issue. The playing field is instantly changed. NM developers would be forced to work with healthy communities towards a common goal. Today, resident concern is automatically given the label NIMBY and degraded. Everyone has the right to be concerned and we should never be sanctioning the use of name calling and other heavy handed tactics. These concerns are legitimate and a real dialogue with empowered communities will create not just better educated residents but better performing housing/service operators.

    Apparently a major concern with option 3 is that it could rob us of the miracle housing project or projects that would fix urban poverty, stimulate development, and end urban crime. This is a romantic fallacy and a proven failure. Concentrating poverty is wrong and concentrating NMH concentrates poverty and/or institutionalizes residential areas -- end of story. The solutions we are looking for lie in integrated communities, and the elimination of areas of disadvantage and marginalization.

    The concept of injecting market housing into troubled areas using NMH is equally flawed. Mixed residential can work (and work well) but it is dependent on locations of high market demand. It is the highly desirable location that is the known lever to entice dispersion and integration using mixed projects. It is backwards to think that NMH is a tool to leverage condo sales in the market.

    The other problem with using NMH to fix problems of NMH concentration is that you are adding more of something to lower the concentration of that thing; this is simply circular logic.

    What neighborhoods under extreme stress need is a moratorium. What the non-market development industry needs is a moratorium in the high threshold areas. No fancy footwork exemptions. We need this help, they need that guidance, we all need the certainty.

    This would be a strong base to move forward from and I implore you to make this choice so that we can all move onto better things.

    Sophy Yeung's Presentation to the Executive Committee, April 21

    April 21, 2010 Executive Committee
    10:30 am: 5.2 Non-Market Housing Ratios – Future Directions

    Sophy Yeung, McCauley Community League, Communications Director

    As Wendy has said, our community is clear about the need for a moratorium now.

    What concerns me the most at this point, after all the energy we have put into this issue, is the extent of progress that this discussion is achieving.

    I am most disappointed that the discussion is centering on why a simple STOP is too much to ask for in the extremely distressed neighbourhoods.

    Please let’s regain some perspective.

    We are talking about stopping the building of any more subsidized housing in, really, only a very small fraction of the nearly 300 neighbourhoods that are within city limits. What is the big worry about having a dozen neighbourhoods be just off-limits? There would still be hundreds of other neighbourhoods. After all, it is well acknowledged that given choice, people overwhelmingly do not choose housing in the inner city. ...not to mention the dignity that comes with choice.

    I urge you to keep in mind that the reason these neighbourhoods have been identified is because they have reached the tipping point of extreme neighbourhood poverty rates, a well known symptom of ill-health and dysfunction.

    So, given this, why we continue to sponsor projects that contribute to the increase in the spatial concentration of poverty, specifically in neighbourhoods identified as already in a deep imbalance?

    Why take the risk? ...a big risk.

    What is there to lose by simply stopping?

    Rather, I see there is only a very impressive list of things to gain, with pretty much nothing to risk.

    The funding is still there.

    The funding can now be even more powerfully leveraged by tapping into the strengths of our communities..... the strength of our healthy communities to welcome those in need and to be a very real contributor to their recovery and integration. Continuing to marginalize those in need is not helpful for anyone and is a tragedy of human endeavour. In a healthy neighbourhood, everyone (at all stages of life, from all walks of life) can thrive. Why not maximize the leveraging of tax dollars in the endeavour to get people out of the trap of poverty?

    Only with a firm moratorium can all these benefits be had. The real risk is to leave in the loopholes.... which won’t realize a change in the inertia. Fool ourselves into thinking we’ve done something. Then watch everyone’s disappointment once the promise wears thin. Ironically what is being sold as the “safe” thing to do, is exactly the most dangerous thing to do.

    Without a simple policy, how do we make sure we’re continuing to move the bar up higher? How do we make sure proposals are good enough to be accepted in any neighbourhood? Instead of depending on neighbourhoods that can’t complain. That’s just not going to be good enough anymore. It needs to have some connection to outcomes, to community integration, to the bigger picture.

    Without a tangible policy that shows you will not knowingly concentrate poverty, how can you with credibility ask for the trust of all the neighbourhoods across the city?

    Finally, I ask how is a regulated moratorium in the worst neighbourhoods not a beautiful, confident first step in this direction towards diverse inclusive neighbourhoods across the city? It can be this simple. Can you think of a better way to begin? This is easy, cheap, right and effective.

    To move forward, we don’t need a policy that is complex. Before deciding to move ahead, we don’t need to figure out how to frame a policy that can fix every social problem, as measured by poverty .... an exercise that would have to involve more than just the Housing Branch. And, honestly, we don’t have the time. McCauley cannot take anymore. We cannot continue like this. We need this just so that we can take a breather. Then, we have the opportunity to plan beyond this.

    I do not buy into the fear mongering that is suggesting McCauley is not a beautiful neighbourhood. That we are somehow blighted and will never amount to anything. That we cannot flourish. That families won’t want to come raise their children in our old houses. That we are addicted to charity. That we cannot attract quality investment. That we are better off as an institutionalized neighbourhood. That people cannot fall in love with us the way we are. But, the government needs to take the first step by demonstrating for everyone to see that you believe too.

    Wendy Aasen's Speech to the Executive Committee, April 21

    Presentation at Executive Committee April 21, 2010
    by Wendy Aasen, President of McCauley Community League

    I come to you today from “the extremely distressed neighbourhood” of McCauley. We have:
    • an individual poverty rate of 44%,
    • subsidizing housing units comprising 54% of our community,
    • a family poverty rate of 24%,
    • 660 shelter mats/emergency accommodations,
    • and feeding programs that are feeding 150 thousand individuals a year. (Some of these are very worthy things to have and of course the need is huge.)

    We’re now facing the point where our school is closed.

    For McCauley, it’s a very, very big demographic issue. I’ve lived in the community 17 years and have watched the changes in demographics over time. It’s now 2 males for every 1 female. Very few children under the age of 14. And similar issues that are causing us to be an unhealthy community.

    I want to say thank the Executive Committee for hearing us today. I also want to thank the City of Edmonton Housing Branch for working hard to put this discussion paper together. We are excited and pleased by many of the issues that are now being recognized:
    • that concentrating poverty “produces aggregate community effects” (p.1),
    • that “the mandates of the key stakeholders that provide non-market housing are not always in sync” (p.3), “that current funding models for non-market housing need to be reconsidered” (p. 5),
    • and that strategies must be put in place to align Provincial, Regional and Municipal housing plans.

    Particularly encouraging is the outcome (p. 7) of creating Quality, Vibrant, Inclusive communities for all. (And that makes me smile.) So for those reasons alone, I think and in my personal opinion, this is a huge first step, and we’re very pleased.

    Last month, the community of McCauley came together at a General Meeting (a meeting that was extremely well attended by McCauley standards) to ensure that our League Executive was accurately reflecting the desires of our community. We advertised the meeting in the Boyle McCauley News, we conducted flyer drops, sent e-mails, and went door to door particularly focusing on south McCauley where our greatest challenges lie.

    We had our General Meeting, had a secret ballot and 87% of our community voted to support a moratorium on the continued expansion of non-market housing. 99% of attendees showed their support for moving forward towards the development of a mixed healthy community - a community of choice. Almost unanimously our door to door visits revealed that residents, no matter what their socioeconomic status (and with rates like ours, at least 54% of people were of lower socioeconomic status), had all had enough of the status quo and were looking forward to real positive change. So we as a community are ready to move forward.

    Picking and choosing, however, is part of the problem that we have with a flexible cap. How do you decide? How would any community decide what would be acceptable projects and what would not be acceptable projects in their community? We don’t see this as a desirable thing to do and our community will not choose between various needy groups.

    So for that reason, again, our community will seek the most restrictive option presented in the discussion: the regulatory option with the hard cap.

    At present, we are still potentially facing 6 new housing projects. Some are very large. We would like something to be done to put these projects on hold at least for a while so that we could have some breathing space, if or when this work moves forward. Thank you.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    May 2010 - Online Version

    Our May issue is now online. If you can't wait to receive your copy, you can click here to download the issue in PDF format. Here is a sneek peak at what's inside:

    * McCauley Says Enough is Enough!
    * McCauley School to Close
    * Being a Good Witness
    * Shop Talk
    * A Dog Park in McCauley?
    * McCauley Clean Up
    * Call of the Wild
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    April 2010:Online Edition

    Our April 2010 issue is now online - here is a look at some of the contents:

    * Future of McCauley School In Jeopardy
    * Historic Gem Demolished
    * How Safe is Our Neighbourhood?
    * Gardening as a Family
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Guitar Donation
    * Ghana Adventure
    * Third Eco Station Open
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    Download the entire issue in PDF format here.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Of NIMBYs and Know-It-Alls

    This is going to be my McCauley Musings editorial column for the May issue. It deals with a very controversial subject currently under discussion in the community and wider Edmonton area. As a result, I wanted to get this out there right now in the hopes of addressing some of the misinformation and misconceptions about our community.

    McCauley Musings

    Of NIMBYs and Know-It-Alls

    Paula E. Kirman * BMC News Staff

    By now the news of the McCauley Community League taking legal action against the building of Iris Court has been broadcast in major media outlets throughout the city. Of the public reactions, the most harsh have been those comments accusing the League – and the community at large – of being NIMBYs.

    For those who need clarification, NIMBY stands for “Not In My Back Yard” and refers to people who may give lip service to social justice, as long as the problems are kept far away from them. I can’t say whether or not those who accuse McCauley-ites of being NIMBYs are hypocrites themselves, but I can probably say with some confidence that these people don’t live in the area or even have a good knowledge about the neighbourhood.

    In the four years that I have been deeply involved in the community here I have gotten to know a variety of people who are compassionate towards the needy elements of society and who are passionate about social justice. As a result, there is a reasonable level of acceptance for the amount of social, below-market, subsidized, and supportive housing. Many people have moved here because they want to be part of the solution.

    However, these same people have decided that the current amount of disproportionate supportive housing, which at 54 percent is the most disproportionate in the city, is enough. As I heard a participant say at the community meeting on March 20, “We want to be a community – not a dumping ground.” The situation is not that these people don’t want the problems in their back yard – it’s that the back yard is already full.

    If you are reading this and don’t live in McCauley, I urge you to spend some time here. Get to know the people and get to know the issues. Then, take a look and your own back yard and reconsider whether you think the people here are NIMBYs.

    Become a Fan of Our Facebook Page

    We are making some changes to what we do on Facebook. Instead of using a group, we have moved to a page, which shows information in a more efficient way to "fans" of the page. To become a fan of Boyle McCauley News, follow this link.

    May's Theme

    May's theme is "Pets" and the main things we are looking for to relate to this theme are:

    1) Photos of your pets, especially if you are in the photo with them. Our centrespread is going to be a scrapbook of pet photos, and the more photos we have, the better it is going to be.

    2) Pet stories of all kinds: how did you get your pet? memories of a childhood pet? what makes your pet special? tributes to departed pets?

    As well, we're going to compile opinions on this topic in sort of a "person on the street" freestyle collection of quotes:

    "There is talk about the City making the grassy area along 92 Street near the Stadium a dog park (since it is already unofficially used as one). What do you think?"

    Deadline is April 12. Send all contributions to editor @ bmcnews.org.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    March 2010 Is Online

    Our March issue is now online. Here is a look at some of the contents:

    * Happy 100th Birthday, Bissell Centre!
    * Save Our School!
    * Skating Party
    * Lunar New Year
    * Letters To The Editor
    * A Family of Volunteers
    * Revitalization Update
    * 2010 Soccer Registration
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    To download the entire version of the paper in PDF format, click here.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    February 2010 Online!

    Our February issue is now online. Here is a look at what's inside:

    * St. Stephen’s Church to Be Demolished
    * Love Letter to the Community
    * Skating Schedule
    * City to Buy York Hotel
    * Letters To The Editor
    * Volunteer News
    * Iris Court
    * The McCauley Cup
    * Community League Updates
    * Dining Out

    Download a complete copy of the issue as a PDF here.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    The League Takes on City Hall

    At the City of Edmonton website, you can view an Executive meeting where members of the McCauley Community League address City Council over the disproportionate concentration of social housing in the area. This meeting was brought about by the announcement of new social housing developments in the area, such as Iris Court. The video only seems to work if you are using Internet Explorer.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    March's Theme: Our Families

    March's theme is "Our Families." We are looking for articles on these topics:

    1) What is it like raising a family in Boyle or McCauley?
    2) Who is in your family? Tell us about your children, spouse, parents, grandparents . . . even if they don't live in the area.
    3) Different generations ...of the same family who live in the area (eg.the Bubels)
    4) How is the community like a family?
    5) Are there people in your life you are not related to by blood, yet you consider them family?

    Of course, we also want articles on community news and events. If you have any ideas, let me know!

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Looking Towards March

    Vikki and I are hard at work laying out the February issue. It is time to start looking in March's direction. The theme is going to be "Our Families." We are looking for articles on the following topics:

    1) What is it like raising a family in Boyle or McCauley?
    2) Who is in your family? Tell us about your children, spouse, parents, grandparents . . . even if they don't live in the area.
    3) Different generations of the same family who live in the area (eg.the Bubels)
    4) How is the community like a family?
    5) Are there people in your life you are not related to by blood, yet you consider them family?

    As you can see, we're using the term "family" in a broad sense to include community and friends.

    If you have any specific ideas, please contact me!

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Padmanadi to Open Second Location

    Boyle McCauley News is privileged to bring you some breaking news. We chose to put it on our blog, since it is still a couple of weeks before the February issue hits the streets, and we wanted to make sure we got the scoop out first.

    Padmanadi, the popular vegan restaurant in Chinatown, will open a second location on May 21. According to owner Kasim Kasim, the restaurant will bear the same name, have a slight different (but still all vegan) menu, and house a larger seating area. The new location will be situated just outside of McCauley's borders at 101 Street and 107 Avenue. Padmanadi's current restaurant is on 97 Street and 106 Avenue and is one of Chinatown's most popular eateries.