Friday, June 26, 2009

Recognizing Community Partnerships

This morning I attended a celebration of the significant work that West Side PACT (Police and Community Together) undertakes in the community. The group and its volunteers were recognized by RBC Westwind Place who have been all week long acknowledging community involvement to improve the quality of life for citizens.

A poster recognizing Chuck Edison's (of the Carleton Community Centre) work and completed by students of Beaconsfield Middle School was displayed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fairville Blvd. Plaza

Work is moving along at the Fairville Blvd Plaza. I see that Staples is hiring staff to set up the store / stock shelves in the next few weeks. The Dollarama has its sign erected on the storefront.

Saint John Transit is scheduled to move into its new location within the next few days. There is already demolition happening on the west side of the current site. I recently heard that SJ Transit's new routes will include busses to UNBSJ and the SJ Regional Hospital from the Lancaster Mall. If so, I think this will be a welcomed change for customers who have to make a mad-dash transfer across Main and Metcalf Streets.

Fairville Blvd. at Catherwood Drive is undergoing major renovations, and traffic, although slow, is moving pretty smoothly through the intersection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why so serious ... Champlain?

I hope to
drop by Wolastoq Park (formerly the site of the Provincial Hospital / Centracare) on July 7th to learn more about the individuals represented by the wood sculptures displayed there. David Goss will be the presenter, should be interesting.

Communities at Work and Play

Last weekend saw many activities around the city, and the west side was busy, too. The great weather helped bring people out to support two events that I dropped by. On Saturday at the Carleton Community Center supporters assisted with a clean up and barbeque organized by John Campbell. Members of the International Longshoremen's Association were there to help. Mr. Campbell wants to raise community awareness of the unused and neglected green spaces, and raise funds for a multi-purpose community facility. If you haven’t been to the playground at the Center it’s worth checking out.

On Sunday I dropped by the fundraiser for the Porter Memorial Playground at Seawood Elementary School. The organizers are hoping to raise $200,000 to build a playground. Again, lots of community support was evident. I don’t know how much was raised at Sunday’s event but by the look of the crowd a good beginning was made.

Friday, June 12, 2009

West Side Mall Progress

This week I checked out the progress of the new strip mall on Fairville Blvd. across from the Co-op store. Things are really moving along, and people seem to be excited about the development. Staples will be opening in time for back-to-school. I imagine work will really take off once the SJ City Transit building is empty (the end of this month).

Unfortunately, the mall has already been the target of vandals, who last Saturday caused more than $5,000 damage. Apparently windows light bulbs and toilets were destroyed causing over $5,000 in damages. Not sure if arrests have been made.

Community Gardens are Good

I am not aware of any community gardens on the west side. Although I am pretty sure there were one or two years ago. I have tried to grow vegetables in my part of the west side, but I am in one of the foggier areas, and veggies need heat and sun!

I always thought the area around the Maritime Opportunity Center would be a great location for a community garden. I have no idea who owns the land, but it looks like there’s plenty of space for a couple of garden lots. Community Gardens have been working well in other parts of the city; I think they’d work well here, too.

The American Community Gardening Association is a Canadian / American nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities.

To quote their web site:
community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.

We could use that here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No Pain No Gain

Lots of activity in the Catherwood Dr / Fairville Blvd. / Lancaster Mall area as construction has begun with the installation of watermains, sewers and street reconstruction. The area is down to 2 lanes and traffic is very slow.

This work is expected to last until the end of September.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Irving Nature Park

Yesterday evening I headed to the Irving Nature Park for a walk and saw this group of women on the beach taking advantage of the low tide for their work-out. I have seen this group on other occasions, usually inside the park. From what I have seen their work-outs look to be part of a training session for some event or another, or maybe it’s a fitness boot camp ….

Hold the Cheese, Please

While at the Irving Nature Park I had a chance to watch four of the six fox pups, (or kits if you like), playing near their den. They weren’t afraid of me, which is too bad; they’ve really become used to humans around them. However, mom gave me the evil eye. Unfortunately the object of their attention was the cheese flavored popcorn someone left for them.

I can guess cheese popcorn is no healthier for foxes than it is for humans. Apparently whoever left the popcorn missed the sign posted by park staff:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Wonder What Will Replace This Home?

A few months ago an intense fire destroyed a couple of properties on

Manawagonish Road. This home has been boarded up since the fire but today I see that the walls have begun to collapse. Too bad, looks like it was a beautiful home.

Dominion Park Beach

After an exceptionally beautiful day Saturday, it took a while on Sunday to warm up. I was at Dominion Park Beach at noon and it was pretty deserted except for a few die-hard sun seekers.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Martello Tower Concert

This summer Parks Canada will hold a monthly Martello Music Series at the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site on Saturdays at 2pm. Today's session, the first, featured Brent Mason. The concerts are free with regular admission.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Don't Want to Cook

Church Suppers celebrate a gathering of family, friends, neighbours and community. If you haven’t experienced a traditional church supper, it’s worth your while. It’s not just about the food, but catching up on news in your community.
It’s social networking – unplugged.

Ambitious Plans for the Lower West Side

Carleton Community Centre

In an article in yesterday’s TJ west side resident John Campbell says he wants the community to be the “changing force” in bringing about revitalization to the lower west side neighbourhood. According to the article Mr. Campbell is fed up with the condition of the green space around the Carleton Community Centre so he is hosting a community cleanup and barbecue there on Saturday, June 13, at 10 a.m. to start the ball rolling on an ambitious plan for the space. His plan would include a facility that comprises a pool, skateboard park, dog park, horseshoe pit, tennis courts, soccer field, picnic area and outdoor ice rink.

Identifying the wants and needs of the community is a good first step. I am not sure I agree with all of Mr. Campbell’s ideas, but a revitalized lower west with facilities that everyone can use would be a great asset to the area.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Westfield Road: Phase I Information Session

A couple of information sessions on the Westfield Road construction will be held on June 2 at Shades of Green, 2483 Westfield Rd, at 2-4pm and 6-8pm.

Residents of the area have been lobbying for years to have upgrades made to the road there. It’s a great spot with beautiful views of the river, but very dangerous for pedestrians.

The reconstruction work will begin this summer but will take years to complete. I imagine it will make the area a more desirable location to live, and wonder how it will impact home prices.

The City’s website says the first phase will include replacing the existing roadway culverts, installing sections of storm sewer and road reconstruction consisting of road widening, new curb, sidewalk, bike lanes and asphalt road surface within the construction limits.