Community-building in action!

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Bownesians are taking action in response to key issues identified in Voices of Bowness: Creating a Vibrant Neighbourhood, the report from the 2009 Vital Signs project led by the Bowness Community Association. Many activities have emerged out of interest areas identified in the Vital Signs Action Plan Community Workshop Report.

Sense of Community

The Bowness Railway Garden in full bloom

Respondents to the Vital Signs survey suggested that greater awareness about community events, the new community association, volunteer opportunities, and resources and services available in the neighbourhood would increase residents’ sense of community. The new Bowness Community Association has taken the lead with a revitalized Bowest’ner. Watch for it in your mailbox at the beginning of every other month. Also check http://www.mybowness.com, the BCA’s official website for updates between publications.

Respondents also indicated they’d like to see more community events and other activities that bring neighbours together to celebrate success. The Bownesians’ Picnic in July—supported by the BCA, the City, the Bowness Lions Club, many Bowness businesses and the United Way—drew hundreds from the community and the city at large to Bowness for a wonderful day of music, food and fun in Baker Park hosted by the über-local Bownesians.

Looking forward, don’t miss the upcoming first annual Bowness Harvest Fair Sept. 11 at the Boys & Girls Club, another initiative identified in the Vital Signs Action Plan. Find full details on page 7. Plus members of the Bowness Historical Society are already making plans for ways to involve the community in centennial celebrations in 2011. Find out how you can get involved on page 6.

Natural Environment
The Bowness Railway Community Garden near 66 St. NW and Bowness Rd. is a great example of community members taking action together. The gardeners at this site have been able to help each other with seeding, watering and weeding to ensure all 30 plots have maximum yield. They have had several get-togethers at the site to learn from the volunteer master gardener and share their experiences. Wonderful stories of community-building abound.

When an unfortunate car accident destroyed one of the raised beds in late June, just as plants were becoming established, the father of one of the younger gardeners volunteered his time and some of his own materials to rebuild the structure. He also refilled it with soil, and the other gardeners contributed seeds and plants to get it growing again.

Another of the gardeners is brand new to Bowness, having recently moved from Saskatchewan. He joined the group because he knew this would help him meet local residents and feel more at home in his new community. He has been a tremendous asset to the garden project—his assistance with keeping the rain barrels full has been invaluable to everyone at the site.

When four heavy wooden benches formerly used at the Devonian Gardens came available, volunteers from Simon House Recovery Centre donated their time and their van to pick up and deliver them to the garden property. The benches now provide an excellent gathering and resting place for gardeners at the site.

Discussions are underway within the Bowness BRZ to feature public art along Main Street in centennial celebrations

Arts and Culture

Have you checked out the newest piece of public art in Bowness? Called Community Belongings, it was created by neighbourhood youth working together through the Y.E.A.R. project with the support of local artist Nikki Gour, and is located on the east wall of the Bowness Boys & Girls Club.

It was unveiled during the Lions Club Stampede Breakfast in early July.

Another project in the works that promises to bring together local adults and youth is the creation of signage for the Bowness Railway Community Garden. Three four-foot by eight-foot signs are in the planning stages. If you would like to be part of this project, please contact Alan Horn at 403-512-4336 or pcurbanyouthworx@gmail.com.

Discussions are also under way within the Bowness BRZ (Business Revitalization Zone) to feature public art along Main Street in plans for the 2011 centennial celebrations.

Local Economy
The owners of our local coffee shop, Cadence Coffee, have taken action in response to requests in the Vital Signs surveys for later opening hours. Beginning last May, Cadence extended its hours to 7:30 p.m. for several weeks to see whether locals would enjoy coffee and even selections from a dinner menu throughout the week. Cadence’s management will review the impacts.

Health and Wellness
Fitness programs such as yoga, pilates, karate and the like were identified in the Vital Signs Action Plan Community Workshop Report as a means to improve the health and well-being of Bownesians. Since then, some local yoga classes have become available. Last spring, Friends of Families, a project sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club, hosted Tuesday evening yoga classes at the club, and these classes will resume in fall. Contact Marion Paulson at 403-571-0516 for more information. As well, Yoga in Bowness hosted drop-in Yoga in the Park sessions at Bowness Park over the summer, and has classes available through fall and winter at the Irish Cultural Centre. Visit www.yogainbow
ness.com
for more information.

Safety
In conjunction with Bowness Block Watch, a safety council has been established to explore solutions to deal with specific challenges and crime problems in the neighbourhood. Look for an update from the Safety Council on page 7.

A complete report on these and other actions arising from the Bowness Vital Signs process will be made available at the Annual General Meeting of the Bowness Community Association on Oct. 25, 6–8 p.m., at the Community Hall.

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