43-week (10-month) term, with possibility of extension
The Heritage Community Association has an exciting job opportunity for someone who is Indigenous, with strong program management skills and a passion for community development. We are seeking a Program Coordinator for our 2019-20 programming, including: a neighbourhood food security initiative, a Truth and Reconciliation discussion series, and a youth physical activity program.
With direction from the Heritage Community Association’s Executive Director, and in collaboration with our partner organizations, the Program Coordinator will:
Coordinate the new Heritage Food Security Initiative, including:
Organizing cooking classes for both children and adults
Organizing community kitchens for residents of the Heritage neighbourhood
Researching and developing a report on options for community gardens in the Heritage neighbourhood
Coordinate a newly expanded TRC Report Discussion Series, funded by Central Zone Board and in partnership with the Regina Public Library and Reconciliation Regina, consisting of 9 monthly events that each engage a different theme from the TRC Report
Organizing fun recreational activities for 20-40 youth ages 9-14
Managing project budgets for all 3 programs
Managing program promotion and registration for all 3 programs
Arranging logistics such as facility booking and snacks
Maintaining regular communication with all partner organizations
Keeping clear records
Supporting the Executive Director with reports to funders
Qualities and Skills Sought:
We do not expect all applicants to have every quality and skill listed here, and are willing to train and support the right candidate to develop the necessary skills. Nonetheless, our ideal candidate will either have the following qualities and skills, or be able to develop them in a short time on the job:
Indigenous, and well-versed in the content of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report
Good Afternoon Mister Chair and Committee Members. My name is Shayna Stock and I’m here on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Community Association.
The majority of existing body rub parlours are located in the Heritage neighbourhood; as the organization that represents that neighbourhood, we’re glad to be a part of the conversation.
We understand that this discussion has arisen from the recent movement of sex work from the streets to indoors, and that this is due in part to changes in federal legislation that criminalizes the purchasing of sex work, making it more dangerous for johns and workers to negotiate in the open.
In a 2007 study done on our neighbourhood’s assets and needs, the community identified the sex trade as one of their primary concerns. In a recent update to that study, conducted in 2017/18, it was mentioned only once out of 91 interviews with residents. We suspect this is because, with sex work moving mostly indoors, it now has a much lower impact on most Heritage residents.
After much research, thought and discussion, we offer the following recommendations to the City:
That insights and perspectives of body rub parlour workers be prioritized in any decision made by the City, since they are the ones most likely to experience significant risks to their health and safety due to any new City policy or enforcement efforts. We understand that City staff have connected directly with workers, and made efforts to make these engagements as safe and accessible for them as possible including providing interpretation when helpful. Due to high levels of stigma against sex work in our society, these workers have risked a lot to provide their input, and we request that City prioritize it above all other input.
That demonstrable safety concerns of the immediate community also be taken into account. We have heard from some Heritage residents, living in very close proximity to body rub parlours, who’ve said that they or their family members have felt unsafe due to the sex work happening next door. This is mainly a concern for young Newcomer and Indigenous women, who may be mistaken for sex workers and approached by johns while coming and going from their home. We ask the City to consider the safety of these residents in their decisions.
That the City not make any decisions based on moral grounds, because moral objection increases stigma, which decreases the safety of workers. It is well documented in academic research that any increase in stigma has a negative impact on the safety of workers. We encourage the City not to engage in any discussion that serves to increase anti-sex work stigma.
That body rub parlours not be relegated to industrial zones, as this is likely to have a negative impact on the safety of workers due to lower visibility and more isolation. In other words, we do not support the enforcement of existing Zoning Bylaws, as it would not prioritize the safety of workers.
That the City not consider banning body rub parlours, or sex work generally. Sex work will continue to exist whether or not we agree with it, and a ban is likely to result in greater health and safety risks for workers, especially those who are already the most vulnerable. This is well documented in the research.
That the City work with trusted local agencies to provide comprehensive support to any workers who are negatively impacted by any new policies or enforcement efforts, and provide additional financial resources to those agencies if needed. We ask that the City create a plan for supporting impacted workers before any licensing structure or other regulatory efforts are implemented, including ensuring these supports are adequately resourced, and that workers are fully informed about them.
Thank you for considering these recommendations as you take your next steps. We appreciate the opportunity to weigh in, and I am available now for any questions you might have.
In Spring 2019, Heritage resident Heather Cameron was a successful applicant to our Good Neighbour Community Grant Program to re-invigorate an existing art gallery she’d been running in the alley beside her house for the past 3 years. In order to inspire and support others to take on a similar project, we asked her to do up this short how-to. Heather’s Alley Galley can be found on the west side of 2300-block Toronto St., in the alley between College and 15th.
An Alley Galley is an outdoor art gallery that exists in a back alley. It’s both private and public. Technically it’s installed on private property (i.e. a fence), but the viewing takes place in public territory (i.e. the alley).
Our Alley Galley exists on the outside of our fence that borders a highly trafficked alley. It works well because it is easy for us to maintain, but gets a lot of walk by traffic. Alley Galleys would also be effective on the sides of garages or any other space on private property that borders an alley. Think outside the box and use what infrastructure is available to you – maybe the art hangs from a tree?
Having a theme to tie in the different artworks is an effective way to connect the diverse submissions of art you will receive. Decide on something that is broad enough to allow for lots of artistic freedom, but specific enough to give the artists a bit of direction. (i.e. “Feather & Bone” or “Floral Monstrosities”)
Decide how many pieces of art you can fit on your fence/wall/location and contact artists to create the work. Explain the theme to your artists and any special conditions of your gallery. (i.e. Do you accept sculpture? Is size an issue?) Make sure you give the artists a deadline to submit their pieces.
We have always featured the youth (ages 2-14) of the Heritage Community as our artists. Any age or background of artist could work. Primarily, it depends on who you are able to connect with.
Decide how you are going to showcase the art and collect the necessary supplies to do so. We chose to frame our art in gold frames, so a large part of our preparation was hunting down 22 frames and spray painting them gold. Frames can be expensive, so buying second hand pictures or asking people for old frames is your best bet. Do not use MDF or any material that will disintegrate due to sun and rain. We also sprayed a weather protector top coat on the frames to help them endure outdoor conditions.
All of the 2D artwork and any labels/signage was laminated to protect it from rain and moisture. Taking it to an office store is professional, but expensive. A cheaper alternative is self-adhesive laminate available at the dollar store.
Once the artwork and frames are collected, the installation can occur. As a curator, select what frame fits each piece, what pieces work best together and how to best arrange the show.
We used a pneumatic brad nailer to fasten the frames to the fence and a staple gun to hang the 2D art. Small wooden shelves were built for any sculptural pieces that required a base for installation.
The final touch is hanging a small label beside each artwork. This label includes the artists name, the title, the medium of art and the age of the artist.
Heather Cameron addresses attendees at the 2019 opening of Alley Galley
Having an opening reception is a wonderful way to gather the artists and community together. Mimicking a professional art opening we served drink, food & candy! The artists were introduced and had a chance to speak on the megaphone about their work.
An alley galley is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Rain or shine! It is inevitable that the art will begin to fade and weather. To help enhance the site, we plant sunflowers along the fence. This adds a little colour as the season plays out.
Why Do It?
This project improves the streetscape and atmosphere of the Heritage Community. Our particular alley can be a challenging and neglected space -it often houses crime, graffiti and an abundance of trash. By creating the Alley Galley this space, and how people use it, immediately changes. I have been presenting artwork displayed in the alley for 3 years now and am always impressed at how the Alley Galley sparks friendly neighbourhood dialogue and a respect of the property. The art work has never been destroyed or stolen – it seems to create a space of respect and peace within the citizens in this neighbourhood.
This project empowers the youth artists, and anyone that experiences the Alley Galley, to be active citizens in their community and demonstrates that a simple act of improvement can change the physical and communal landscape of their neighbourhood.
The Alley Galley becomes a place of destination in Regina. People choose to walk and drive by the colourful alley, encouraging community support and creating allies for the Heritage Community.
Artist and Heritage resident Karlie King has been working on doily-bombing this tree on 15th Ave. The project is funded by the HCA’s Good Neighbour Community Grant Program. Photo by Slate Gallery.
Last year, I applied to the Heritage Community Association’s Good Neighbour Community Grant, with the idea that I would work with my neighbours using their family doilies to doily-bomb the trees in their yards. The intention was to display the tradition and artistry held in these family doilies, instead of having them stored in a drawer or box where no one gets to see or appreciate them. Further, I had hoped that as we doily-bombed together we could share stories about who made the doilies and discuss the intricate designs.
Like most of my art projects, the process deviated a little from what I had first proposed. For example, I had grossly underestimated the size of the trees in our neighbourhood! We have some seriously big trees. So the collection part of the process took a little longer than expected. But, we got there. A call was put out via the Heritage Community Association’s Facebook page, and people did not disappoint. Heritage residents were very generous and forthcoming with their family’s traditions.
In November of 2018, I finally got to Doily-Bombing the first tree on the corner of St. John’s Street and 15th Ave. – a great location since it’s aligned with the south side doors of the General Hospital and there is lots of traffic and exposure.
No exaggeration, I am sure I talked to fifty people in the first few hours of the project. And then I lost track of how many after that. So many people stopped their cars as they passed by, rolled down their windows, asked what I was doing, and then told me “good job” or some other accolade. Basically all of the foot traffic stopped to talk, and those conversations ended up having the most depth and consideration. As predicted, many shared stories about the doilies stored in their homes. They’d get nostalgic and tell of an Aunt or Grandma’s nightly dedication to these crafted mathematic traditions. A couple people even told me they were going to go home and do the same – “sew them together, and cover the front evergreens” one woman said. People from the hospital even came over to talk. They said they could see me from the south side windows and wanted to take a closer look.
I got half the tree done before the winter weather set in. Once Spring comes I’ll bring out the long ladder again and continue up the tree. So, if you see me, please stop and chat. I look forward to hearing more of my neighbours’ great stories of their family traditions.
In order to keep you informed and engaged, together with City of Regina staff, we will be providing regular updates on the progress of the Maple Leaf Pool rebuild and interim programming.
March 30, 2020
The City of Regina made the following announcement:
Construction work on Maple Leaf Pool begins
Construction on the new Maple Leaf pool is set to begin this week.
The decision to move forward with this infrastructure project was done with careful consideration. Throughout the project, we heard from area residents of the invaluable role this facility plays as a community hub and gathering place for families. While we continue to focus on the health and well-being of residents, this will play a very important role in community well-being in the long-term and we are committed to moving this infrastructure project to completion.
The health, safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. Additional safety measures and site monitoring will be in place to ensure a safe work environment for contractors. Some measures include appropriate physical distancing between workers on site, adherence to handwashing protocols, additional cleaning of shared surfaces and personal protective equipment.
City Council approved $5.3 million to support building a modern, accessible and inclusive facility while taking steps to reduce environmental footprint. The design incorporates industry best practices for accessibility and sustainability. The design, developed through consultation with the community, includes features that appeal to the whole family, regardless of age or ability while incorporating systems that will result in reduced energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption.
The contract for the construction work was awarded to Westridge Construction Limited. We will continue to work with the Heritage Community Association and provide area residents with information updates on the Maple Leaf Pool renewal.
February 26, 2020
An additional $880,000 (out of a pre-existing recreation fund) was unanimously approved for Maple Leaf Pool by City Council today. That means the pool will be re-built according to the designs we saw in October, and is on track to be completed by Fall 2020.
February 12, 2020
The Finance & Administration Committee approved the request for $880,000 more toward Maple Leaf Pool! It now goes to City Council on Feb. 26 (1:30pm). If it passes there, the pool re-build will go ahead as planned, with a short delay in the timeline (completed by Fall 2020 instead of mid-summer 2020).
We are pleased that the Committee and City staff continue to understand the value of this pool, and the urgency of getting it completed as soon as possible.
City staff are also working on summer programming for 2020, and on ensuring our community has access to another pool facility for the summer. We don’t have details yet, but we expect that PlayEscapes will run again at Thomson School, potentially a separate program for older youth, and free transportation/admission to another City pool. We’ve been told they’ll be in touch to work with us on the details, and we’ll keep you posted as we know more.
Thank you Councillors Sharon Bryce, Barbara Young, Lori Bresciani and Jason Mancinelli for your words of support and your unanimous vote today! And thanks to all the City staff who are working hard to get this project done asap, and to ease the stress on our community in the meantime.
And Extra Special Thanks to members of our community for continuing to stay engaged in this conversation! If you wish to speak at the Council Meeting on Feb. 26, you must submit a request by 1pm tomorrow/Thursday (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a summary of your presentation; See “How to Make a Request” here).
February 7, 2020
City staff provided HCA with the following verbal update:
They have been negotiating project details with the contractor who will be building the pool;
The contractor has said they cannot complete the project within the timeline identified, and have pushed their completion date back to Fall 2020 (from mid-Summer 2020);
City staff are hopeful that there will still be an opportunity for the community to experience the facility upon completion in Fall 2020, but cannot promise anything;
The contractor has also said they cannot complete the project within the available budget, and need $880,000 more;
City staff plan to make this request to the Finance & Administration Committee at their Feb. 12 meeting at 9am. They are proposing to take the money out of the Recreation/Culture Capital Program, which was established in the 2020 budget for “the purpose of funding and supporting investments that advance the Regina Cultural and Recreation Master Plans and other initiatives that focus on enhancing quality of life in Regina” (in other words, there’s an existing source of this money, which will hopefully make it easier for the Committee and Council to approve);
If this request for additional funding is turned down, the only other options are to re-design and re-tender the project, further delaying the pool’s opening until at least mid-Summer 2021 (everyone involved is very hopeful this won’t happen!);
The Committee meeting is open to the public; anyone can just show up at 9am and sign up then to speak; HCA will be present to speak in support of this request for additional funding;
If the Finance & Administration Committee approves this proposal, it will still have to go through Council, probably at their Feb. 26 meeting.
The new ‘L’ shape pool design supports all swimming levels and provides areas for socializing and playing games in the water while keeping the deck and green space around the pool. The plan also features a beach (zero-depth) entry allowing patrons with mobility challenges and young children improved access to the pool.
The new facility was designed with extensive community consultation. Thanks to all who provided their feedback into the design concepts and summer programming while the new pool is being constructed.
The next step is finalizing the design and preparing the tender documents for construction. Project costs and timelines will be determined once the construction tender is awarded.”
June 12, 2019
The City held a come-and-go community barbeque at Thomson School, where community members could provide feedback on design options for a renewed Maple Leaf Pool.
Details on summer programs for kids in the community was also provided.
May 23, 2019
HCA met with the City today to get an update on plans for the demolition and re-build of the pool, and to plan a community consultation on the design of the new pool.
A tender process is currently underway to select a firm to take on the demolition, which should still happen this summer.
P3A Architecture is the local firm responsible for developing the designs for the pool’s re-build. HCA is working with them and the City to plan a community consultation event in mid-June. Consultation details are currently being finalized, and will be shared soon — stay tuned to this page, our e-newsletter and/or social media!
May 15, 2019
The Executive Committee of City Council approved the report outlined below, and sent it forward for discussion at City Council on May 27.
The only element of the report that’s not confirmed, and that Council will have to vote on, is the changes to the transit route.
May 9, 2019
Next Wednesday, City of Regina staff will be presenting a report to City Council on their engagement to date on summer programming during the Maple Leaf Pool rebuild. The full report is available here.
Highlighted recommendations include:
That admission to Wascana Pool will be free for ALL this summer, between 12-8pm
That a free PlayEscapes program be held at Thomson School for ages 5-12, including free lunch and supervised visits to Wascana Pool 2-3 times per week
That the City provide a free drop-in program in the neighbourhood for youth in grades 8-12 on weekday afternoons and evenings, including supervised visits to Wascana Pool
That the #15 Heritage bus route be amended slightly to include a stop near Wascana Pool
That a special bus pass be made available to Heritage residents to give free access to the #15 or #8 to get to Wascana Pool
We’ve been working closely with the City on these consultations and plans, and will be speaking in support of this report on Wednesday. If anyone has any feedback or questions, before then (or anytime) we’d love to hear from you! Email director [at] heritagecommunityassociation.com, or call 306-757-9952.
Jan. 30, 2019
The proposed plans and timelines (see below) were approved by Council with no major discussion.
Jan. 23, 2019
On Jan. 17, the Community & Protective Services Committee of City Council met. Their agenda included the timeline and plan for the re-development of Maple Leaf Pool and Wascana Pool.
HCA also met with 3 staff from the City’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services department this week to discuss the same timeline.
Here’s the outline proposed by City Admin:
To summarize: Demolition of Maple Leaf Pool would begin this spring/summer, along with consultation with the community about the design of the new pool. The design would be finalized by September 2019. Construction of the new pool would begin in early 2020, with the goal of it being completed partway through the 2020 swimming season.
In the meantime, the City will be consulting on programming options (including for whom, and where) over the next 2 months. They are currently finalizing a timeline for this consultation process; we should be able to share more details soon.
The Community & Protective Services Committee approved the above plan, meaning it will go to City Council for discussion at their Jan. 28 meeting.
We have raised concerns with City staff about both Wascana and Maple Leaf pools being closed for the first part of the swimming season in 2020. They stressed that these timelines are preliminary, and that they can’t be finalized until they discuss with the contractor, but that they will do their best to minimize the amount of time when both pools are closed, and look at offering Heritage residents transportation and admission to a different City pool during that time. HCA will be keeping a close eye on this aspect of the timeline as more detailed plans develop.
The above plan goes to City Council on Monday, Jan. 28, at which point anyone who wants to speak to it can do so. The meeting starts at 5:30pm; if you want to speak to Council, you must submit a summary of your presentation by this Thursday (Jan. 24) at 1pm.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on all this! As always, call 306-757-9952 or email director [at] heritagecommunityassociation.com with any and all feedback.
Jan. 11, 2019
Since Council’s decision to re-build the pool on Dec. 11, HCA has had 2 meetings with City staff — one on Dec. 19, and one today, Jan. 11. The main focus of these two conversations was how to best meet the needs of our community in the interim, while the pool is being demolished and rebuilt.
There are two threads to this conversation:
1. Programming — what types of programs, for what ages of participants, and where?
2. Transit and admission to Wascana Pool — how to make it as easy as possible for community members to access Wascana Pool for free?
Both HCA and the City are committed to consulting the community in order to answer these questions. City staff are currently developing a timeline and plan for these consultations, which should happen in February/March.
HCA has suggested: open houses at the schools that serve the neighbourhood, an open house at the Seniors’ Centre, and an online survey. If you have other ideas, please let us know!
The City is in conversation with the Board of Education about the possibility of accessing Thomson and/or Balfour Schools in the summer months, as potential home bases for programs.
We will be having a separate meeting specifically about the pool later this month, at which we hope to receive more detailed information about the timeline, budget, and consultation process for the facility’s re-design and re-construction.
Stay tuned to this web page, our e-newsletter and/or our facebook page for future updates! And if you have any feedback or questions, don’t hesitate to call 306-757-9952 or email director [at] heritagecommunityassociation.com.
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 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):
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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