HCA’s Best of 2018

As the days slowly elongate and I re-emerge from some much-needed time off, I feel compelled to look back on the past year through HCA’s eyes, and to throw our own Best-Of list into the mix.

It’s easy to get swept away with the day-to-day nitty-gritty in a job like this. So, before I do, while I’m still partially enjoying the luxury of my holi-daze, let’s indulge in a moment of reflection and celebration.

Abshir on megaphone - Lesley Farley

Abshir Mohamed addresses the crowd at the rally to Save Maple Leaf Pool Again on Dec. 8, 2018. Photo by Alex Crease.

Here are HCA’s 12 highlights from the past year (roughly in chronological order):

  1. New strategic plan! Throughout 2018, our board developed a plan to guide us for the next 3 years (may not sound that exciting to you, but it is to us!). It is visionary and practical, charting out a realistic path for our organization’s growth, diversification, and enhanced relevance. Hooray for clarity, priorities and direction!
  2. Carmichael moved in! We welcomed Carmichael Outreach’s lunch program into our space temporarily in Spring 2018, so that their meal service can continue uninterrupted until their eventual home on the corner of 12th Ave. and St. John St. is renovated. The move has greatly enlivened our office space and deepened HCA’s relationship with Carmichael, and with the community they work for and with.
  3. New Neighbour-Friends: Newo Yotina! In May, we gained new neighbours and hopefully long-term collaborators and partners when the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre moved in across the street. Their presence greatly enriches the block, and the neighbourhood, and we are excited to continue working with and alongside them.
  4. New staff! We had 3 new amazing, talented, proactive summer staff in Summer 2018, who significantly increased the organization’s capacity for outreach and programming during those months. One of them, Kristen Windigo, has stayed on with us part-time through the school year, as our Youth Programming Coordinator. And we trust all 3 of them will remain active in the community, through HCA or otherwise, in future.
  5. New board members! We welcomed Heritage residents Shawna Semeganis and Gina Burnard onto our team. These two powerhouses bring a lot of valuable knowledge, perspective and experience to our board, largely based on their active involvement in community work in this neighbourhood.
  6. Launch of graffiti removal initiative! We removed or covered up nearly 100 instances of unwanted graffiti in the neighbourhood. Plus, we hired Artist-in-Residence Jamie Reynolds in September; Jamie is expanding our Mural Project, which works to deter graffiti and develop artistic skills, confidence and sense of belonging among Heritage youth.
  7. Our first Community Cleanup in 5+ years! With the help of 40+ volunteers, and an array of business sponsorships, we removed an absurd amount of trash and recycling from our neighbourhood’s alleys, backyards and homes. Shout-out to summer student Cristina Crowe for coordinating it all!
  8. Two Good Neighbour Community Grants! We distributed funding to two Heritage residents through our Good Neighbour Community Grants Program. Cat Haines used her grant to put together a panel discussion called What the Queer? at 33 1/3 Coffee and Malty National. Neighbourhood artist Karlie King is using her funds to engage Heritage residents and visitors in “doily-bombing” a tree on 15th Ave. — another work of gorgeous public art in our neighbourhood.
  9. Harvest Moon Festival! This year’s festival engaged more organizations, businesses and artists than any other Harvest Moon Festival in recent years! Despite having to move it indoors due to weather, it was well attended and received rave reviews from attendees. It also helped to strengthen our relationship with our very accommodating hosts, Trinity Lutheran Church. Major kudos to Kristen Windigo for pulling it all together!
  10. New Mentorship Program! We incorporated a Mentorship component into our Let’s Move physical activity program for youth. Now, young people who’ve aged out of Let’s Move have the opportunity to stay engaged and develop their leadership skills as facilitators-in-training. We have 6 amazing Mentees in the program this year.
  11. Funding Advocacy! Throughout 2018, we worked with other Community Associations and Central Zone Board to assemble a case for increased funding to Community Associations based on the immense value we provide to the City. We brought a strong presentation to Council’s budget meeting in December, and although a funding increase was not immediately approved, it was a good start to the conversation. Councillors acknowledged the need for greater support, and we are looking forward to further engagement with them in 2019.
  12. Convincing the City to rebuild Maple Leaf Pool! This is by far our biggest highlight of 2018 — not just because of the outcome, but because of the incredible community engagement that influenced the outcome. The groundswell of passionate, grassroots mobilization around this issue reminded me of the power that exists in many diverse voices all saying the same thing from different perspectives. It connected our organization with dozens of residents, teachers, students and community leaders, who came to us asking what they can do to help save Maple Leaf Pool. And it reminded the City, and the people of Regina, how lively, steadfast and strong our community is. You’ll be hearing lots more from me/HCA about the pool in the weeks and months ahead, so I’ll leave it at this for now: Thanks for helping to finish 2018 off with a bang, Heritage (and non-Heritage supporters of Maple Leaf Pool)!

To everyone who feels connected to the Heritage neighbourhood in one way or another, I wish you a Happy New Year on behalf of the Heritage Community Association. Thank you for all you do to make this community richer, more vibrant and more connected.

Shayna Stock, Executive Director

Presentation to Council Re. Maple Leaf Pool Closure – Dec. 10 2018

It is not an overstatement to say that Heritage residents are devastated and outraged by the planned closure of Maple Leaf Pool. It is frustrating that it has gotten to the point of immediate closure without there being a succession plan. We’ve all known for many years that Maple Leaf Pool was getting old and run down. It is hard to understand why the City did not engage our community in creating a plan for its replacement sooner. There’s nothing we can do about this fact now, so I don’t want to dwell on it. But the City does have other outdoor pools that are the same age as Maple Leaf, and I want to strongly recommend that Council and City staff begin talking now about the future of those facilities, so that those communities do not experience the gap in services that Heritage is about to experience.

Maple Leaf Pool receives an average of 134 visitors a day. These numbers are not declining; they have remained roughly the same over at least the last 5 years according to numbers provided to me by City administration. Throughout the summer, this represents roughly 11,000 visits.

As the only rec facility in our neighbourhood, Maple Leaf Pool is a lifeline for many families and individuals. Many children spend all day every day at that pool, providing them with safe, supervised recreation while their parents or guardians work or take care of younger children. One third of Heritage families are single-parent families, and the pool is a major support for these, and all families, while school is out.

The pool is also well used by seniors, may of whom live in one of several nearby seniors complexes.

With heat waves becoming more common, the pool acts as a neighbourhood cooling centre on the hottest days, especially for people whose apartments or homes don’t have AC.

I have spoken to Police Chief Evan Bray about the potential impact of the pool closure on crime and safety in our neighbourhood. He agrees that the pool is vital to keeping people – especially youth – engaged in safe, positive activities during the summers, and shares our concerns that its closure may be damaging to the safety of our neighbourhood. Chief Bray is here today and available to answer questions if you have any.

In a neighbourhood and a city that can often feel very divided by socio-economic and racial lines, Maple Leaf Pool offers a central, neutral meeting place where people from all backgrounds and ages play, exercise, make friends, and socialize with one another. It is a community hub, and a treasured neighbourhood resource, whose benefits extend far beyond recreation and physical health.

This is about more than losing an option for leisure; residents’ concerns are coming from a place of real fear for the health and safety of their families and our neighbourhood, and also from a place of deep pride and appreciation for what is an exceptional asset to our community.

The Core Neighbourhood Sustainability Action Plan, endorsed by the City in 2012, calls for the rehabilitation of Maple Leaf Pool, or the building of a new recreation facility and pool on that site. It states: “Maple Leaf pool is a valued and well-used community gathering space. Investigating opportunities to use sustainable energy to heat the pool would offset operation costs and set a great example of sustainable development in the neighbourhood.”

The City’s own Official Community Plan identifies “complete neighbourhoods” as a key Community Priority, which it defines as “safe and inclusive neighbourhoods that are easy to get around and that have a mix of housing choices, amenities, and services.” The Plan explicitly identifies recreation as one of the “daily lifestyle needs” that residents of a neighbourhood should have easy access to as part of a “complete neighbourhood.” Maple Leaf Pool is the only recreation facility in our neighbourhood. Decommissioning it will mean we have none.

Within the OCP, our neighbourhood is identified as an Intensification Area, where the City wants to encourage development and population growth. Removing one of our neighbourhood’s most prized assets is not conducive to attracting more people to the area.

The OCP also calls for the City to “Ensure access to a variety of recreation programs and services in all neighbourhoods” and to “Study the application of new financing strategies and development incentives to provide, maintain and operate recreation facilities.” One of the stated objectives of the Core Neighbourhood Plan within the OCP is “to enhance community based recreation to meet the needs of Core Neighbourhood residents.”

We appreciate the City’s offer of programming in our neighbourhood to meet some of the needs left behind by the pool, but programming will not replace the unstructured, drop-in recreation opportunities and community hub that a pool provides.

The City’s current plan calls for the pool to be replaced by another outdoor recreation facility — or mix of facilities — that costs much less to build and maintain and will likely be unsupervised. The proposed timeline means that facility wouldn’t be built for at least 4 or 5 years. We believe strongly that the City needs to keep the value of Maple Leaf Pool in the Heritage neighbourhood; if a pool costs $4M to re-build, we do not want to see the cost of that removed from our neighbourhood and re-invested in a city-wide facility. We also believe strongly that 4 or more years is too long for our neighbourhood to wait for another recreation facility; even 1 year will have a significant impact on our community.

We respectfully request that the City invest in re-building the pool, with a goal of re-opening it by summer 2020. We also request that, in 2019 (or until Maple Leaf Pool re-opens), there be free transportation and admission to Wascana Pool for residents of Heritage and Al Ritchie, and an investment in programming in Heritage.

We have nothing against a destination aquatic facility in Wascana Park — we suspect many of our residents may enjoy it from time to time — but a leisure facility of that nature should not happen at the expense of a vital neighbourhood asset like Maple Leaf Pool. Maple Leaf Pool needs to be prioritized, and if that means the Wascana facility is delayed while the City raises additional funds, we believe that’s a much smaller sacrifice than the cost of our community being without a recreation facility for several years.

Regardless of Council’s decision tonight, I want to emphasize that the Heritage Community Association is eager to continue working with City staff on making sure the recreation needs of our neighbourhood are met to the best of our collective ability. We have offered to work together to access capital grants that are available for community-based facilities like this. We appreciate the City’s willingness to engage us in next steps, and look forward to working together to make the best of this difficult situation.

-Shayna Stock, Executive Director, Heritage Community Association

Call for Submissions: Heritage Happenings

photo of Spring 2017 newsletterThe Heritage Community Association’s print newsletter, Heritage Happenings, is seeking story ideas for its Fall 2017 issue!

Heritage Happenings is published 2-3 times per year and circulated to all households and businesses in the neighbourhood. It publishes stories on any subject relevant to Heritage residents. For our Fall issue, we are seeking:

  • a round-up of food offerings in the neighbourhood (eg. “11th Ave. Eats”)
  • reports on recent events in municipal, provincial, or federal politics that will impact Heritage residents
  • poetry on issues relevant to the neighbourhood
  • interesting photos that tell a story about how you experience the neighbourhood
  • maybe you have another idea that we haven’t thought of yet!

In order to submit your story idea, email heritage.director@sasktel.net or call 306-757-9952 before August 1. First drafts will be due August 7 (somewhat negotiable if needed).

And please share this Call for Submissions far and wide!

Regina neighbourhood sends welcoming message to newcomers

UPDATE: We are now out of signs until further notice. Thanks to all 1000 of you who took one home!

IMG_2335In response to Islamophobia in both Canada and the United States a Regina neighbourhood association has created lawn signs so that people throughout the city can show their support to their Muslim neighbours and help newcomers feel welcome.

The signs written in English and Arabic read “I’m glad we’re neighbours”. It’s a simple phrase with a powerful message of acceptance and welcoming.

The Heritage neighbourhood has always been a place that people from all over the world call home. Because Regina is on Treaty Four Territory we felt it was important to feature Cree and Saulteaux prominently on the sign. The Cree word Tawâw translates into “Come In. There is room.”

The Heritage Neighbourhood (formerly Core) was once known as Germantown, and 11th Avenue was home to Regina’s Chinatown. The neighbourhood is home to several cultural centres including the German Club, The Chinese Cultural Society of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Serbian Cultural Club, St. Anthony’s Polish Hall and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. It is also home to many different faith groups including offering services in various languages, the Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre, and many longstanding restaurants and shops specializing in food from around the world (Italian Star Deli, Korean House, Ngoc Van, Ukrainian Co-op).

The yard signs are available in time for Mosaic, a festival that celebrates different cultures in Regina. The signs feature the word Welcome in: Punjabi, Tigrinya (Eritrea/Ethiopia), Arabic, Burmese, Ukrainian, Chinese, German, English, Arabic, Cree, Saulteaux, Korean, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish, Hindi, Serbian, Swahili, Urdu, Romanian, and Italian.

While lawn signs will not address the root causes of racism and hate in our city, the Heritage Community Association hopes this initiative can be part of their broader anti-racist efforts in the neighbourhood.

This weekend the HCA is hosting a Sign Blitz.

Volunteers will be putting up signs around the neighbourhood and encouraging people from all over Regina to come and pick up some signs and spread them throughout their neighbourhoods.

The signs are free to residents of the Heritage Neighbourhood and available by donation to people, businesses and organizations outside the neighbourhood (suggested donation is $10 per sign). All proceeds go to the Good Neighbour Community Grant program, which funds creative projects proposed by Heritage residents.

Signs will be available by pickup at the Heritage Community Association Office (#100 – 1654 11th Avenue) on Saturday June 3rd from 10am -1pm while supplies last.

They will also be available for pickup during office hours: Mon-Wed 1-5pm.

For more information, e-mail Shayna Stock at heritage.director@sasktel.net.

Regina has a rich history of welcoming people from all over the world. Let’s send a message that Regina is a welcoming place and that we are stronger because of our diversity. Get your sign today!

Job Posting: Program Coordinator

June 30 – Sept. 1, 2017 (9 weeks)
30 hours/week
Wage: $16/hour

The Heritage Community Association has an exciting job opportunity for a returning student looking to gain experience with a wide variety of community-based programming. Our Program Coordinator will help to run a program for Two-Spirit youth, a mural-painting project, a neighbourhood festival, and other community outreach efforts.

Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Heritage Community Association’s Executive Director, the Program Coordinator will:

  1. Help to run a Two-Spirit youth group – providing a safe space for young Two-Spirit community members to build community with one another, including:
    • Support with promotions and recruitment
    • Arrange snacks and prepare space for weekly meetings
    • Participate in weekly meetings
    • Compile a Two-Spirit resource library to be housed at the HCA
    • Help with research on future program development
  2. Support in the planning of our annual neighbourhood celebration, the Harvest Moon Festival, to be held on September 9 2017, including:
    • Participate in planning discussions
    • Help to book artists and workshop presenters
    • Help with sponsorship and permit applications
    • Outreach to neighbourhood businesses
    • Promotions
  3. Support in the implementation of a neighbourhood mural project, including:
    • Outreach to neighbourhood businesses
    • Participate in project meetings
    • Help to promote and document the project
  4. Coordinate the regular maintenance of Art Park and container gardens along 11th, including:
    • Schedule, organize and promote Art Park work bees
    • Organize volunteers to help maintain container gardens and other aspects of the streetscape along 11th Avenue

Qualities and Skills Sought:

– As per Canada Summer Jobs funding criteria, applicants must be full-time students, aged 15 to 30, and intending to return to studies in the next school year
– Priority will go to applicants who identify as Two-Spirit, LGBTQIA+, and/or Indigenous
– Self-motivated and capable of taking initiative; strong leadership skills
– Experience organizing events or programs, especially with/for youth
– Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills
– Familiarity with social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
– Capacity to conduct research, write basic reports, and maintain accurate records
– Familiarity with the Heritage neighbourhood and/or other inner city Regina neighbourhoods an asset

Successful applicants must provide a Criminal Record Check; a criminal record will not impact your eligibility unless it raises concern about the safety of any children or finances left in your care.

Please submit resume and cover letter to heritage.director@sasktel.net by Noon on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Job Posting: Event Coordinator

June 12 – Sept. 29, 2017 (16 weeks)
Part-time (average of 19 hours/week)
Wage: $17/hour

The Heritage Community Association has an exciting job opportunity for someone who likes organizing and values cultural diversity, art, and local community! We are seeking a Coordinator for our Harvest Moon Festival – an annual neighbourhood celebration to be held on September 9, 2017.

Responsibilities:
Identify potential partners, sponsors and donors (e.g. local businesses, corporate sponsors, community organizations);
– Complete sponsorship applications and maintain sponsorship records;
– Work with the Executive Director to coordinate all marketing and communications for the festival (including creation and distribution of materials and creating content for website and social media);
– Recruit and manage volunteers;
– Any other duties/activities related to the Festival to ensure the successful staging of a multicultural community festival.

Qualities and Skills Sought:
– Experience planning and promoting events and/or managing volunteers;
– Self-directed, independent worker with effective time-management skills;
– Strong written and verbal communication skills;
– Excellent interpersonal skills, can connect with strangers and professionals in a friendly manner;
– Computer skills (Internet, word processing, spreadsheets);
– Adept at using social media including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram;
– Connection to the Heritage Community preferred.

Please submit resume and cover letter to heritage.director@sasktel.net by 4pm on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.