Community-building is Contagious

Community is contagious. We build it through recreational, social and environmental activities.

The Oliver Community League offers neighbours ways to create and participate in their own community experiences. This is why so much of our effort is spent advocating for the future of Oliver. These efforts include the League’s Civics Committee successful presentation during City Council’s 2015 budget deliberations, to ensure that Jasper Ave. be reimagined as safe and accessible for everyone. It is, after all, the most prominent street in our neighbourhood.

Members of our Civics Committee were able to convince City Council to fund a complete streetredevelopment, that includes widened sidewalks and landscaping, benches and pedestrian lighting, like the east side of Jasper Ave., rather than the original proposal that would have put it back together to look just like it does today, with fewer cracks in the pavement. A big thank you to our Councillor Scott McKeen and the rest of City Council, who unanimously passed the redesign!

We also work to build community by bringing people together. Recently, we’ve begun hosting winter socials every second Sunday in Kitchener Park (11411 103 Ave.). They’ve been a huge success. Neighbourhood spirit was welcomed with a bright bonfire, hot chocolate and new community connections. Our monthly games nights hosted at the OCL Hall (10326 118 St.) also provided a mid-week break and friendly competition.

Community programs address the needs for busy families to meet. The Ollie’s Treehouse Playgroup at the hall every Sunday is a great way for little ones and their caregivers to connect and play. And for fitness enthusiasts, the longstanding Oliver yoga program has been a wonderful way to stay warm and make friends this winter, and will continue in the spring (view calendar).

We’re always looking to promote the involvement of Oliver residents. They’re invited to participate in our Annual General Meeting on April 29 at 7:00pm at the Hall (10326 118 St.). The strong turnout in the last several years reflects Oliver’s interest in the League and its activities.

We look forward to presenting our Oliver Strategic Plan at the AGM, a document we’ve worked hard on producing for the past year. It explores questions related to the League’s purpose, goals, and the way we involve residents. Stemming from our values and goals, we will be creating an Advocacy Plan to best articulate the needs of Oliver residents.

OLIVER COMMUNITY LEAGUE EVENTS

MAR. 15 — “It’s Snow Wonder” invites families for an afternoon of snow painting and snowshoeing. (2 pm, Kitchener Park, 114 St. and 103 Ave.)

MAR. 25, APR. 29, MAY 27 — The ever popular BYOB(oard game) night. (7 pm, Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)

APR. 29 — Oliver Community League’s annual general meeting and board director elections. (7 pm, Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)

MAY 30 — The annual Oliver Community Festival closes the street for an artisan’s market, rummage sale, historical church tours and more. (102 Ave. between 121st and 124th streets.)

Editor’s Note

You don’t have to look too closely to see the changes happening in your neighbourhood.

High-rises grow in former front yards. Offices sprout in parking lots. Boutiques blossom in small bays. Look down and you might spot a bike lane. Look up and you’ll recognize the growth potential dangling from cranes, and lingering in the spaces between them.

There are many questions arising from these development and demographic changes. That’s why the community leagues in Oliver and Downtown are collaborating on a new magazine called The Yards.

As its editor, I’ll make sure you still get the important community news and notices the Oliver Community Newspaper has always provided, but you’ll also get original reporting from professional journalists on hyperlocal issues. It will make sense of the urban planning jargon and esoterica that is confusing but critical nonetheless.

The Yards will help you make more informed decisions the next time you write your city councillor or attend an open house, but it will also entertain. You’ll hear about celebrated restaurants and shops opening around the corner, get real estate tips and meet the fascinating personalities that help make the area vibrant.

And when I say the “area,” I don’t just mean the communities flanking Jasper Avenue. I mean central Edmonton. With the ultimate goal of creating a more vibrant core, the magazine will promote connectivity and collaboration with its surrounding neighbourhoods.

Places like Queen Mary Park. That’s where I live. But I work Downtown, buy my groceries in Oliver and patronize the businesses that speckle all three.

I’m thrilled to work with the leagues, an editorial board made up of community members and stakeholders and art director Vikki Weircinski. We’re confident you’ll come to appreciate and trust The Yards.

As for the name? It’s a loving tribute. Both to the CN rail yards that ran through the area just a generation ago, and the role central Edmonton has always played, as a gathering place for the whole city.

See you in December. – Omar Mouallem

Thinking Ahead

On behalf of the Oliver Community League we’d like to congratulate everyone who worked on The Yards’s first issue.

We’re excited about telling our neighbourhood’s stories and discussing it with the broader community. And we’re also thrilled about working with the Downtown Edmonton Community League. This collaboration will only strengthen the bonds between Central Edmonton neighbourhoods.

The Oliver Community League is a group of forward-thinking, hard-working people who are passionate about community-building. We serve Oliver residents in a variety of ways, whether that be renting or lending our hall to the public, hosting community get-togethers, operating a community garden or sponsoring Oliver events and initiatives.

One such example is the Abundant Communities Initiative. Danny Hoyt, our coordinator, has been working with an ever-expanding crew of Block Connectors who, like him, just want to meet neighbours. And they do—by knocking on doors and asking simple questions like, “What do you like about living in Oliver?” It’s our hope that this simple act will allow more household connection and keep the momentum of neighbourliness going.

People are naturally happier when their neighbours wave or at least make eye contact and smile in passing. And everyone is familiar with the warm feeling of helping someone on a cold day. But in our urban surroundings and under the pressure of our financial commitments and longer work days we’ve stopped making time for simple interactions.

Research is piling up on the negative effects of that isolation. So when a Connector arrives at your door try to make time for them and for yourself. Better yet become a Connector by contacting Danny or visit the Facebook page Abundant Community Kitchener Park to learn more about it.

That’s the fun stuff. But the league also provides oversight on proposed developments, works with the City of Edmonton in neighbourhood planning exercises and crime prevention, and advocates on behalf of residents.

Running a league is a lot of work so we’re always looking for great people to get involved. We have a range of opportunities for helping out, from volunteering at an event for a couple hours to a full on dive into community-building and other nitty gritty. Just get in touch.