Equity tower

The new CNIB building on Jasper Avenue is designed with vision impairment in mind

Crews demolished the CNIB building at 120 Street and Jasper Avenue in March to make way for a new, 32-storey tower, expected to stand by 2022.

The old building was the oldest CNIB property in Canada, while the new tower has been designed with the help of Chris Downey, an American architect who lost his vision. It will feature elements to aid in navigation for those with sight limitations.

But what does the demolition mean for Oliver and surrounding residents, who rely on its services? They’re still available at the CNIB’s temporary home, at 11150 Jasper Avenue, said Matthew Kay, executive director of vision loss rehabilitation, Alberta & NWT Division.

“There’s always a few growing pains when moving into a new space, but as far as accessibility goes, this is more accessible than our previous space”

Matthew Kay

“All services have remained, and we will be adding new services,” he said.

The temporary building is split into two different organizations: CNIB and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta.

Kay said Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta offers assessments, and skills development, like white-cane training and guide-dog training. “This can be anything from cooking, cleaning, pouring a cup of coffee, anything you need to live independently.”

The CNIB offers volunteer services, like matching people up with a vision mate that can help with grocery shopping. “We also offer employment services where we help people develop skills, with resume building and connect them with potential employers,” Kay said.

The interim location is accessible to almost everyone, as it’s on a public transit route. “As far as accessibility goes, this is more accessible than our previous space,” Kay said.

Once complete, the new building will feature many residential units, with a portion of units reserved for the visually impaired. Textural patterns will be on the floor to assist cane users. There will be provisions to manage glare for those sensitive to light. Doors on the main floor will have different lighting and contrasting colours to help those with low vision. Fragrance gardens will be added as well to assist with navigation.

According to CNIB, about 60,000 Albertans are affected by vision loss.

Kay said the way we build cities affects those with visual impairments and needs to be considered.

“Ultimately, I would like to see more accessibility in homes and small businesses. Large print signs, audio street lights, these are all important to our clients,” he said.

“Also, always be aware. If you see someone with a white cane or a guide dog, treat them with the respect they deserve. If someone asks for assistance, help them, but remember, they are independent and we shouldn’t make any assumptions based on the fact that they have a visual impairment.”

OCL: Summer Events 2019

OCL Community Space, 9907 114 St.

OCL PICNIC IN THE PARK
July 11, June 13, August 15, 6-8pm
Come enjoy Oliver’s green space by having a picnic with your neighbours. We will be visiting different parks in Oliver. June 13 at Oliver Park, July 11 at Pocket Park beside the Pearl, August 15 at Monsignor William Irwin Park

CANADA DAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST
July 1, 9-11am
Come celebrate Canada Day with your fellow neighbours and grab your membership card if you don’t have it already. Grace Lutheran Church will be serving free ice cream, 8pm onwards. Parking lot of Grace Lutheran Church at 9907 114 Street

OLIVER SUMMER GREEN SHACK PROGRAM
July 3 – August 23, 10am-1:30pm Mon-Fri
The City’s back with children’s programming. Additional information here. Kitchener Park

GARAGE SALE AT GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
August 24, 9am-2pm
Come get some treasures from this annual garage sale. Table discount for OCL members. Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 Street

BICYCLE SHOW & SHINE
June 22, 12-4pm
Bring your special ride, enter for best in show, and enjoy a drink & food while gushing over your favourite two wheelers. Oliver Park

Oliver Community League
9907 114 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5K 1P7
web: olivercommunity.com
e: info@olivercommunity.com
Facebook: OCLYEG
Twitter: @OCLYEG
Instagram: @OCLYEG

OCL board of directors: Robyn Paches (President), Luwam Kiflemariam (VP), Kirsten Mah (Secretary), Lisa Brown, Justin Keats, Jade Arnaout, Mark Workman, Derek MacDonald, Geoffrey George, Les De Zwaan, Sarah Toderian, Adrian Bruff, Allison Rosland

OCL: Spring Events 2019

OLIVER READS
March 4, April 15, May 27 6pm
Oliver’s next book club meeting will discuss “White Teeth” by Zadie
Smith. Get your free membership to the Edmonton Public Library for
a hard copy or e-book version. Club meets to discuss a new book every 6
weeks. Join the club by emailing us at events@olivercommunity.com
MEC community room, 11904 104 Ave

WALKING PUB CRAWL OF OLIVER
March 15, April 19, and May 17, 8pm
Join your neighbours, meet with new and old friends and explore some
local pubs. Locations TBD; please check up on OCL’s Facebook page.
118 St. and 103 Ave, by the playground

OLIVER PARK ENGAGEMENT SESSION
March 28, 6pm-8pm
Open house to see community member drawings of possibilities of community use of the former St. John’s School Site and Oliver
Park. Help choose a winner from the drawings.
Grace Lutheran Church 9907 114 St

OCL AND SNAP GALLERY PRESENT: OUR OLIVER
March 15, 7:30-10:30pm
A drop-in community printmaking event! Inspired by input from Oliver
residents, local artist Kiona Ligtvoet has created a piece that you can print
and take home. Suggested donation $10.
SNAP Printshop, 10123 121 St., Jasper Avenue Entrance

CIVICS COMMITTEE
April 8, May 6, June 10, 7pm
This highly engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month (unless otherwise posted) to discuss developments in Oliver. Please enter through the parking lot entrance (grey door).
Grace Lutheran Church 9907 114 St

OCL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
April 24
Review financials, vote in new directors, learn more about OCL and
what we’re up to. Mix and mingle with neighbours. Registration starts
at 6 pm, program at 7pm,
Grace Lutheran Church 9907 114 St

OLIVER BLOCK PARTY
May 29, 4-8pm
Party at the “new” Grandin Lookout. Everyone welcome!
Corner of 114 St and 99 Ave.

DROP-IN BASKETBALL
Tuesdays, 7pm
Enjoy a pickup game or just shoot some hoops at this regular basketball
drop-in open to the Oliver Community. In the gym at Grace Lutheran Church.
Grace Lutheran Church 9907 114 St

OCL board of directors: Lisa Brown (President), Luwam Kiflemariam (VP),
Erin Wright (Secretary), Robin Paches (Treasurer), Ilya Ushakov, Courtney
Rippin Kaufman, Keltie Gower, Justin Keats, Blaine Kovacik, Jade Arnaout,
Sanjana Sharma, Mark Workman, Simon Yackulic, Derek MacDonald

Oliver Community League
9907 114 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5K 1P7
web: olivercommunity.com
e: info@olivercommunity.com
Facebook.com/OliverCommunityLeague
Twitter: @OCLYEG
Instagram: @oclyeg

Public Spaces Matter

I lived in Oliver for more than seven years before I knew we had a pool. It isn’t really advertised. Instead, it’s tucked away in the middle of our neighbourhood. If you were walking by Oliver Park, the pool would be easy to miss.

Even though it’s hidden, Oliver Pool is a gem – especially in a city where we don’t have a beach to flock to on a hot day. When outdoor pools became free over the past two years, Oliver Pool became accessible to so many more.

Oliver has the most residents of any other neighbourhood in Edmonton, more than 18,000. Our population spans all ages, from babies in apartments to seniors in our many seniors residences. It spans abilities, incomes and cultures.

Our community has a potential hub in Oliver Park. We have the pool, unless City Council decides to close it, and the Oliver Community League is working hard to move through the city’s process to replace our hall on our land at Oliver Park. Our arena will not be replaced, which gives us space to develop a small facility to serve the needs of our community. We can preserve the playground, mature trees and green space. Imagine Oliver Park having something for everyone.

You’ll read more about the proposed land swap between Oliver Park and the former St. John’s School site, to allow the construction of a 24-storey tower on Oliver Park, in this issue of The Yards. The Oliver Community League recently voted against this proposal and will advocate for city
council to do the same.

Personally, I think it would be a shame to lose Oliver Park, the pool, and the overall potential of a community hub. There are so many other spaces to build towers along 104 Avenue.

My engineering background and passion for sustainable built environments drove me to the Oliver Community League, and I’ve relished the opportunity to shape what’s built here. But what these past five years have shown me is that infrastructure means nothing without a community. We need to invest in our public places, in our recreation spaces, in our complete streets. This is where we connect with our neighbours. And it is these relationships that build our communities.

Lisa Brown

OCL Winter Events

Tuesdays (except December 25 and January 1), 7-9pm | Drop-In Basketball

Enjoy a pickup game or just shoot some hoops at this regular basketball drop-in that’s open to the Oliver Community. Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 Street

 

December 10, January 14, February 12*, 7pm | Civics Committee

This highly engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month (unless otherwise posted) to discuss developments in Oliver. Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 Street *Tuesday after a stat holiday

 

December 10, 6pm | Oliver Reads

Oliver’s book club meeting will discuss Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. Get your free membership to the Edmonton Public Library for a hard copy or e-book version. Join the club by emailing us at events@olivercommunity.com MEC community room, 11904 104 Avenue

 

January 18, February 15, 8pm | Walking Pub Crawl of Oliver

Join your neighbours, meet with new and old friends and explore some local pubs. Locations TBD; please check up on OCL’s Facebook page. Meet at Oliver Park, 118 Street and 103 Avenue by the playground. No pub crawl in December.

Losing Independence

My friend told me a story that left us both in tears.

An elderly man—who spent his career working in our community—had come into the medical clinic where she works to be assessed for his ability to keep his driver’s licence. Prior to his appointment, he told my friend how his career had been worked on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, that he feared losing his licence and that his wife’s health was failing. She sincerely wished him luck as he walked down the hall into the examination room.

Some time later, she knew the news the clinician gave him wasn’t what he wanted to hear. She could hear shouting, things being thrown, the man threatening to end his own life.

As she recounted the experience, we both wept.

This man’s story has stuck with me and has kept me thinking about how we plan our cities, communities and lives. Sure, this man may have chosen to live somewhere where driving was his only option for mobility, as many have done and continue to do, but it’s our collective responsibility to ask for better designed communities that enable multiple modes of transportation. It’s a question of resilience.

In Oliver, we have multiple seniors residences. Our neighbourhood is built for a relatively resilient life; we have access to public transit, new bike infrastructure and lovely tree-lined streets that are a joy to walk along. Our residential neighbourhood has a number of services within it.

But if you live in one of these facilities— Manoir St. Joachim, Kiwanis, Ansgar, or Our Parents’ Home—you will often find you have to cross Jasper or 104 Avenue. Both are seven-lane roads with drivers that are prone to speeding.

Research shows this can be a barrier that keeps people trapped at home.

We are gaining a better understanding of how social isolation can severely impact our mental and physical health. People who lose their ability to drive often lose their independence. They can lose their social connections. And then they may lose their health. Urban design and transportation planning have far reaching impacts on our lives, some of which we may not realize until we are facing a driver’s licence suspension.

If you could no longer drive—maybe ever again—how much would your life change? Would you be able to meet all your needs? It’s an interesting thought experiment. Try it. And then advocate for a better community for all.

Lisa Brown

President, Oliver Community League

OCL Fall Events

Oliver Bike Club Wednesdays for September, 6pm

You have one more month to enjoy this popular OCL program! Destinations and themes vary each week. All levels of riders encouraged! Meet at Oliver Park, 118 Street and 103 Avenue

Picnic in the Park Thursdays for September, 6-8pm

Weekly picnics roving to each of our parks. Stop by for some lemonade, games, OCL membership and to meet your neighbours. Bring your family, friends, pets and snacks. Parks in Oliver – see social media

Oliver Reads September 17, 6pm

Our first book club meeting will discuss “Birdie” by Tracey Linberg. Get your free membership to the Edmonton Public Library for a hard copy or e-book version. Stay tuned for details on book two! MEC com- munity room, 11904 104 Avenue

Community League Day September 15, 12-4pm

Join the OCL as we participate in the city-wide celebration of community leagues. A beer garden, barbecue and games in our beautiful park round out the day. Kitchener Park, 114 Street at 103 Avenue

Walking Pub Crawl of Oliver September 21, Oct 19, & Nov 16, 8pm
Join your neighbours, meet with new and old friends and explore some local pubs. Locations TBD; please check up on OCL’s Facebook page. Meet at Oliver Park, 118 Street and 103 Avenue

Oliver Halloween Trick or Treat | October 31

OCL helps bring trick or treating to our high density neighbourhood. Keep an eye out on OCL’s Facebook page and newsletter to learn more about how you can participate.

Program and Events Committee | September 25, October 23, & November 27, 7pm

Come volunteer with the OCL and help plan events for the community. BRU, 11965 Jasper Avenue

Civics Committee September 10, October 9*, November 13*, 7pm

This highly engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. *Tuesday. Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 Street

OCL Summer Events

JUNE 15
Walking Pub Crawl

Join your neighbors and explore the nearby bars — and make new friends in your community.
Locations TBD; please check up on OCL’s Facebook page. Meet at Oliver Park, 8pm

 

WEDNESDAYS
Bike Club

We will meet on Wednesday evenings at 6pm at the Oliver Park to go for bike rides around the river valley. More details can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OliverBikeClub/ Meet at Oliver Park, 6pm

 

JUNE 11, JULY 9 AND AUGUST 13
Civics Committee

Join this fully engaged committee that meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. Grace Lutheran Church,
9907 114 Street

 

JUNE 22
Paul Kane Park opening

Come to the official opening. There will be some light refreshments and activities. From 5pm to 7pm

 

JULY 1
Pancake Breakfast

Always our most popular event. Come celebrate Canada Day with your fellow neighbours. 9am to 11am. Location to be announced.

Re-creating Recreation

Now that the snow has melted there are so many reasons to get out of your pad (this issue is chock-full of ideas). Go outside and enjoy.

But in Oliver, where the vast majority of us do not have backyards, public and private spaces take on new yard-like aspects.

Where do you find yourself heading on a hot summer day? Maybe a public park or a private patio? Out on our main streets, Jasper Avenue and 124 Street? In our bike
lanes and multi-use trails? On the deck of Oliver Pool or in a place of worship?

About 20,000 people call Oliver home.

Breathe, the City of Edmonton’s 2017 strategy on open spaces, indicates that Oliver has less open space available for residents than in any other part of the city. Oliver also
hosts one of the most diverse populations in Edmonton. This means that not only do we need more community spaces, but a one-size-fits-all solution will not work here. We don’t just need spaces and places to be physically active, or that cater to one age group. We need to nurture the whole person — physically, intellectually, spiritually — and we need to nurture our connections to one another.

Coun. Scott McKeen recently requested a report on the engagement strategy and process for assessing the need for recreation, cultural, education and community space in Oliver. The Oliver Community League will be working with the city to ensure the proposed process will capture our diverse and numerous voices — and we will be pushing to see an engagement and needs assessment for Oliver that will begin the process of developing much-needed community places, spaces and services.

Speaking for my own approach to this challenge, last June, I joined November Project Canada (see page 16), a free outdoor fitness group. This past winter was one of our longest on record in Edmonton, and being part of this supportive community helped me to push through the freezing conditions and achieve my fitness goals.

This is a community that shows up for each other year-round, no matter the weather. They motivate me to push forward and through accountability to one another.

Like November Project, Oliver is stronger when we pull together as a supportive community — we need your ideas, your initiatives and your support. If you have a vision for the future of this neighbourhood, share it. We are all accountable for creating what we see around us. While it could take years to see significant changes, we must be motivated now and into the future to speak
out about what we need in our neighbourhood.

Lisa Brown
President, Oliver Community League