“Be a Good Neighbour” – simple words, big meaning. Most of us can reflect on this phrase and connect some personal meaning, whether that means something as simple as saying hi, keeping an eye out, helping shovel snowy sidewalks in the winter, or helping with small repairs.
In a community like McCauley, it feels like a common sentiment and nowhere else in this city where I’ve lived over the past 30 years has it had more meaning. I am fortunate to know most of my neighbours by name, as well as their kids and pets. It comes with an unspoken agreement that we care about each others’ well-being, safety, and happiness. I make a point of saying hi to people I see walk past the house, and that is usually all it takes. People engage, share their names, or start to talk. It’s that simple in most cases. The same goes for local businesses – easy enough, right? How hard is it to ask someone’s name you see everyday? It’s easy to get behind the concept of being a good neighbour, isn’t it? Be considerate, and think of someone other than yourself. Look out for your neighbour’s home and their property. In the end, we’ll all be that much better off and it didn’t cost you anything and you made a new friend in the process.
Speaking of good neighbours, the City of Edmonton released the report prepared by ZGM (formerly Calder Bateman) on the Housing Pause in the five core communities in mid-May. In December of 2018, the City sponsored an open dialogue with representatives of the core communities on the heels of a smaller questionnaire that was managed by ZGM. The summary version of the report states pretty clearly that the communities affected have little confidence in the City and its processes and policies regarding non-market and affordable housing in these communities. It states that while the impact of the housing pause was hard to measure, it also states that there was no significant investment during those years of developments anywhere else. It calls for a decentralization of services and a dedicated reduction in the concentration of perceived poverty.
Interestingly enough, it also references the Neighbourhood Financial Health Index which ranks McCauley at quite possibly the worst of all 286 census tracks. This is another indicator of why we’ve asked the City to consider other neighbourhoods for future development of non-market and supportive housing. It is imperative that McCauley have some breathing room to recover and flourish, to ensure we exist as a vibrant thriving community for all. I have confirmation from Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen’s office that they will continue to fight for us. And, hopefully, the City will be able to announce some development projects in other parts of the City following the adoption of Policy C601 last year which provides guidance on the development of affordable housing targets of 16% to the other 80% of communities in the City that are at 5% or below. That’s just being a good neighbour.
We will have a copy of the report available on the Community League’s Facebook page, and if you have an opinion you want to us you share with City Council, send it to us. We will be your good neighbour.