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Local Greater Victoria Community Association issues


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#1 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 04:46 AM

Editor's Note: This opinion essay is the first time we have published writing of its type in Capital Daily. Opinion pieces will always be categorized under the "Capital Ideas" tag. We are hoping that by offering a platform for informed opinion writing we can spark conversations about this imperfect city, and we eagerly anticipate hearing from people and groups on all points of Victoria's political compass. Submissions can be sent to contact@capitaldaily.ca, and should be specifically about issues of governance, city planning, politics, and the future of Victoria.

 

 

 

I am a new board member of the Fernwood Community Association (FCA), one of a dozen community associations in Victoria with an official relationship with city hall, and I have been stunned and disappointed by my experience. The FCA is run by a coterie of longtime residents that routinely disregards its own bylaws—or applies them only selectively and self-servingly—reactively opposes change, and oversees a disorganized and mismanaged organization with little transparency or accountability. Newcomers are treated with suspicion and the organization is run much more like a private club than an accountable public organization.

 

 

 

The experience has led me to ask questions about the origins and role of community associations in Victoria more broadly.

 

https://www.capitald...ty-associations

 

 

 

 

 

i'm sure the next meeting will be fantastic.   :1954_dancing: 

 

 

 

 

It’s debatable whether this has worked for Vancouver, but it most certainly would not work in Victoria. Victoria is a small city with urban villages that are ideally suited for three- to six-storey buildings. If residential areas don’t choose to tastefully densify around urban villages—the plainly stated goal of Victoria’s Official Community Plan (OCP)—then we will end up a miniature-sized Vancouver, with Starlight-sized developments, and the same big-city problems.

 

 

^ that's an interesting statement.   "big-city problems" emanate from dense, market-rate housing?  and not from say government housing for the hard-to-house?

 

 

 

Of course, it is not a black-and-white issue. Since the 1970s, some of the community associations have evolved with the times. Even the early neighbourhood associations did some good work, and in Fernwood, Paul Phillips (the patron saint of Fernwood) and the FCA of the mid-1970s was instrumental in creating Fernwood Square, which was achieved by shutting to cars a small stretch of road that once acted as the terminus of the streetcar line that ran from downtown to the Belfry.

 

Today, the Oaklands Association is a well-run organization, with daycare services, children’s programming, and an active community centre. North Park Neighbourhood Association is a model of progressive thought and open-mindedness, and the dedicated leaders of that organization have done so much to support marginalized populations and the unhoused during the pandemic and before. Many community associations have progressive, hard-working volunteers who are open to change and tasteful densification of residential areas. They tend to be the minority.

 

But many community associations, including my own, are stuck in post-war Canada. They view themselves as self-appointed gatekeepers of change, and are run overwhelmingly by established residents, longtime members, and homeowners. Little is done to attract newcomers or a diverse and inclusive set of voices at the table. There are relatively few young people, newcomers to Victoria, or renters in the associations, and the involvement of Indigenous people is practically nil, from what I’ve observed. The associations, for the most part, are set up to defend a certain conception of what residential Victoria is meant to be: white and middle class, with few renters, people of colour, or unwed mothers to bring down property values.

 

 

 

 

 

this marxist author is off his freaking rocker.  he wants everyone in social housing and "more unwed mothers!"

 

oh here we go:

 

It’s clear that community associations need to change. To support this goal, I have joined with more than a hundred Fernwoodians to launch a new campaign called Fernwood Forward, in an effort to bring positive change to the FCA and Fernwood as a whole.    :muching_out: 

 

 


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 June 2021 - 05:03 AM.


#2 Nparker

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 05:34 AM

...North Park Neighbourhood Association is a model of progressive thought and open-mindedness...

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:


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#3 A Girl is No one

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 07:03 AM


Editor's Note: This opinion essay is the first time we have published writing of its type in Capital Daily. Opinion pieces will always be categorized under the "Capital Ideas" tag. We are hoping that by offering a platform for informed opinion writing we can spark conversations about this imperfect city, and we eagerly anticipate hearing from people and groups on all points of Victoria's political compass. Submissions can be sent to contact@capitaldaily.ca, and should be specifically about issues of governance, city planning, politics, and the future of Victoria.




I am a new board member of the Fernwood Community Association (FCA), one of a dozen community associations in Victoria with an official relationship with city hall, and I have been stunned and disappointed by my experience. The FCA is run by a coterie of longtime residents that routinely disregards its own bylaws—or applies them only selectively and self-servingly—reactively opposes change, and oversees a disorganized and mismanaged organization with little transparency or accountability. Newcomers are treated with suspicion and the organization is run much more like a private club than an accountable public organization.




The experience has led me to ask questions about the origins and role of community associations in Victoria more broadly.


https://www.capitald...ty-associations






i'm sure the next meeting will be fantastic. :1954_dancing:





It’s debatable whether this has worked for Vancouver, but it most certainly would not work in Victoria. Victoria is a small city with urban villages that are ideally suited for three- to six-storey buildings. If residential areas don’t choose to tastefully densify around urban villages—the plainly stated goal of Victoria’s Official Community Plan (OCP)—then we will end up a miniature-sized Vancouver, with Starlight-sized developments, and the same big-city problems.



^ that's an interesting statement. "big-city problems" emanate from dense, market-rate housing? and not from say government housing for the hard-to-house?




Of course, it is not a black-and-white issue. Since the 1970s, some of the community associations have evolved with the times. Even the early neighbourhood associations did some good work, and in Fernwood, Paul Phillips (the patron saint of Fernwood) and the FCA of the mid-1970s was instrumental in creating Fernwood Square, which was achieved by shutting to cars a small stretch of road that once acted as the terminus of the streetcar line that ran from downtown to the Belfry.


Today, the Oaklands Association is a well-run organization, with daycare services, children’s programming, and an active community centre. North Park Neighbourhood Association is a model of progressive thought and open-mindedness, and the dedicated leaders of that organization have done so much to support marginalized populations and the unhoused during the pandemic and before. Many community associations have progressive, hard-working volunteers who are open to change and tasteful densification of residential areas. They tend to be the minority.


But many community associations, including my own, are stuck in post-war Canada. They view themselves as self-appointed gatekeepers of change, and are run overwhelmingly by established residents, longtime members, and homeowners. Little is done to attract newcomers or a diverse and inclusive set of voices at the table. There are relatively few young people, newcomers to Victoria, or renters in the associations, and the involvement of Indigenous people is practically nil, from what I’ve observed. The associations, for the most part, are set up to defend a certain conception of what residential Victoria is meant to be: white and middle class, with few renters, people of colour, or unwed mothers to bring down property values.






this marxist author is off his freaking rocker. he wants everyone in social housing and "more unwed mothers!"


oh here we go:


It’s clear that community associations need to change. To support this goal, I have joined with more than a hundred Fernwoodians to launch a new campaign called Fernwood Forward, in an effort to bring positive change to the FCA and Fernwood as a whole. :muching_out:


Does that mean we might finally see homeless housing in Fernwood?
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#4 rjag

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 07:14 AM

Looks like TV are changing tactics. What a load of woke ideological garbage.
Divisive and arrogant, his disdain for homeowners is so predictably Marxist. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in favour of seizing personal property by the State…. Animal Farm lunacy. And it got printed… reinforcing my earlier theory that Capital Daily is the PR media wing of TV
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#5 Mike K.

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 09:45 AM

They view themselves as self-appointed gatekeepers of change, and are run overwhelmingly by established residents, longtime members, and homeowners.

 

 

The flip side of that are pro-development newcomers. Guess how that would be eventually perceived?

 

No matter what, some group, somewhere is going to oppose your point of view or agenda at every step of the way. That's just how it works.


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#6 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:15 AM

Opinion: Community associations are open to everyone. Why attack them for being closed?

 

Responses to 'Community associations need to evolve'

 

 

Sometimes people confuse the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) with the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (FNRG). The FNRG offers a daycare, children's programming, and an active community centre and we thank them for that. They also have a big budget and a big profile. 

 

The FCA is a shyer kind of association. Our primary mandate is land use issues. Along with that we are responsible for two community gardens; Pandora Arts Collective, an open arts group started by people with mental health concerns; attend CALUC and cross-neighbourhood VCAN meetings; deal with traffic issues, and other similar activities. We host Theatre Inconnu, a great arts organization; sometimes collaborate with The Belfry; and provide space for Cafe Sympatico, Little Fernwood Art Gallery, and several 12-Step programs. We rent out four offices to non-profits and our hall at the lowest rates in the city. The FCA successfully lobbied the city to initiate and support the current community centre. We serve numerous communities who are integral to Fernwood's special place in Victoria's landscape.

 

Mr. Caradonna says we run the FCA like a private club; that we are a closed shop. That is unfair. All our meetings, both FCA and CALUC, are open to the public. Between AGMs if there are spaces on the board and someone wants to join us and has attended the requisite number of meetings, they're in, no questions asked. That's how Mr. Caradonna and his wife became board members after attending 2 or 3 meetings. We assume that if someone volunteers for the board it is out of love of the community and our strangely unique charm. 

 

more:  https://www.capitald...pen-to-everyone

 

_______________________________________

 

 

On the unglamorous work of community associations

 

As someone who spent over 15 years on the executive of the Fernwood Community Association (FCA), I was both bemused and disturbed at Jeremy Caradonna’s characterization of that community association as some Machiavellian force for maintaining the status quo.

 

In the period of time I was involved with the FCA, from 2005 through 2019, the volunteer positions on the board of directors often went unfilled. The constitution allows for up to 15 board members. The reason is simply that some of the groups Mr. Caradonna debatably cites were under-represented never put their hands up to volunteer. The board positions were there for the taking, in most years from 2005 to the present. Several of those boards had significant representation from non-property-owners, like I am.

 

The work of the community association board is generally not splashy, nor does it tend to garner a lot of public attention. Maintaining the FCA building, operating allotment gardens, facilitating citizen input to City Council, and facilitating the Community Association Land Use Committee (CALUC) are not glamorous tasks. To denigrate the efforts of those who have contributed to that community effort for many years, in some cases, feels profoundly disrespectful.

 

more:  https://www.capitald...pen-to-everyone


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 25 June 2021 - 12:17 AM.


#7 punk cannonballer

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:20 PM

It's really a matter of sorting through the complex and nuanced relationships when trying to navigate joining a Community Association and fitting in as a newcomer. In my experience part of the problem with CAs and their CALUCs is, and pardon me for the subtleties, the sanctimony and entrenched entitlement that burns with the force of 10,000 suns. It's a barrier, for sure.



#8 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:24 PM

it’s not unusual for people to want to protect their own community from whatever they perceive as negative development though.

we give them that opportunity.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 25 June 2021 - 02:24 PM.


#9 G-Man

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 01:47 PM

The issue is that we should really not have neighbourhood associations as part of the land use process at all. The elections are often hokey and as one of the writer says above positions often go unfilled. While it is stated that it is open to all, not all are going to feel welcome to attend unless you have the right view. Unless the boards are elected at the same time as council they should be removed from the land use process entirely. Of course they would still be free to submit letters to council and attend meetings to voice their opinion.


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#10 Mattjvd

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 08:33 PM

I've long grumbled about the (imo) excessive influence community or neighborhood associations have on development. But I'm also the guy who thinks rezoning should be delegated to staff (Council just sets OCPs) and there should be 0 council meetings or "public engagement" for development permits within the OCP (even if they require re-zoning).

Edited by Mattjvd, 25 August 2021 - 08:34 PM.

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