The event put on this past Sunday was a great success, with dozens of neighbours coming together. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other and spark dialogue about our community, how it can improve, and what we can do to make that happen.
To get that dialogue started, we had at the entrance of the meeting room post-it notes and markers for attendees to write ideas, questions, and concerns to put on posters of various aspects of living downtown. These notes came alive just as we had hoped – ideas written by one person evoked responses from others (even in the form of a checkmark, the antique version of a “Like” button), and as attendees toured all posters around the room they struck up conversation with their neighbours just as we had hoped.
Themes arose from these notes that reflect the downtown character we should be proudly promoting. Concerns over sidewalk safety dominated the Accessibility category. It was snowing lightly that evening, so plowed and sanded paths were at the front of people’s minds. While the Transportation category had some notes on more parking for residents and their visitors, issues for buses, bicycles, and pedestrians were of equal concern. These two aspects of living downtown often come hand-in-hand because they’re fundamental to daily life, and they’re what connect us to businesses, neighbours, and our surroundings.
Under Amenities there were numerous calls for better options for healthy food and groceries and longer hours of operation – because we want to live here, and we want to live well. There was overlap between Amenities and Safety because of a shared solution. The more businesses open for longer hours, the more people out and about at more times of day. There was a lot of discussion surrounding cooperation with the Downtown BIZ and other organizations interested in improving the local economy on evenings and weekends.
These voices were expressed by a diverse range of people, including some who live beyond the loosely-defined “borders” of our community, but feel a part of it nonetheless, with similar needs and visions of our shared future. Also attending this meeting were residents involved in their condo associations, volunteers on committees with compatible interests, and professionals whose organizations have a stake in a vibrant residential community downtown. The outcomes and enthusiasm that sprung from this preliminary meeting show great promise for the future growth of the DCRA.
We can’t express enough gratitude towards everybody who made this possible – those who came early to help set up, those who missed the Grey Cup game to attend, and those who provided refreshments including free coffee from Shelley at the Starbucks on Broadway AND delicious home made ginger snap cookies from Daniel Gawryluk.
We will keep you informed on the time and place for the Annual General Meeting in the new year. Thank you everyone for turning the DCRA into a reality!