Infill growing pains Increasing density in mature neighbourhoods

Growing pains. Children have them. Families too. And so does our city. According to the city census, Edmonton’s population grew by 7.4 per cent between 2012 and 2014. More people means more housing is needed. By 2018, city council wants 25 per cent of new housing to be infill in mature neighbourhoods.

Infill is less expensive as infrastructure and services are already in place. It reduces commutes, saving on transportation infrastructure and pollution. It also saves farmland from being eaten up.

Continue reading Infill growing pains Increasing density in mature neighbourhoods

Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

The West Nile virus worries me. Not because of the one in a million chance I might get infected, but because we don’t need another excuse to demonize the outdoors.

Ours is the first society that spends the majority of its time indoors. According to studies, the average North American spends less than two hours per day outside. Compared to our climate-controlled, sealed and sanitized homes, we have developed the attitude that nature is uncomfortable, disorderly, unsanitized and potentially dangerous. Possibly true.

Continue reading Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

Making a difference to at-risk youth Two men bring different methods when working with youth

Meet Sean Dunster and Sebastian Barrera.

Both help at-risk youth. Dunster’s approach is through wrestling and motivational presentations, Barrera’s through community development and public art.

Dunster’s path into wrestling took many twists and turns. “I was always a misfit because of my size, so I called my pro wrestling character Massive Damage.” He trained for football, then bodybuilding, until a pro wrestler recognized that Dunster’s frame and athleticism was perfect for the ring.

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Supporting inner-city youth for 23 years Crystal Kids has results with mentoring and harm reduction

A basketball game is starting in the Crystal Kids Youth Centre’s gym and a staff member is designating positions with six boys.

The focused and friendly energy highlights a core premise of Crystal Kids: to provide positive mentoring and individual engagement with youth. The centre’s approach is flexible within a programmed structure.

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Camp organizers seek a spark of funding Local theatre camp unsure of what the future holds

A theatre camp dedicated to providing affordable and accessible arts education to youth is uncertain of the future. Spark! ran the first two weeks of July with students ranging from ages 7-14.

Unable to secure grant funding, organizers were forced to rely on donations and charge a fee for each student. This meant the camp is difficult to justify for students coming from low-income families. Chris dela Cruz, founder of Spark!, explained, “These kids are not normally afforded opportunities to be exposed to performance art as it can be an expensive activity.”

Continue reading Camp organizers seek a spark of funding Local theatre camp unsure of what the future holds

There is no golden rule for creativity Shima Aisha Robinson talks about art and poetry

The best poets throw out the rule book and speak plainly to you with electric words they pull from their veins of consciousness and then pour like lightning into the reader’s bones. Shima Aisha Robinson’s electric first book of poetry, Horn, will soon be available in a second printing. 

Few acts are more courageous and electric than truth. Autobiographical poetry, as Robinson defines her work, is thought and truth aloud on the page. “My book is about personal experience, friends and family, all the major themes, love and pain and [it also] explores politics. I tried to choose the most potent poems that communicated the issues.”

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Tales of a wartime photo: what happened here Men walk down Alberta Avenue supporting of the war effort

This 1942 photo of army recruits walking down 118 Avenue is a good representation of popular culture in Edmonton during the Second World War.

The Pearl Harbour attack had occurred on Dec. 7, 1941. Lesser known is the heavy loss of Canadian troops during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong beginning Dec. 8, 1941. The brief but disastrous Dieppe raid on Aug. 19, 1942, was devastating. Of the 4,963 Canadians who left England for the operation, only 2,210 returned, with several wounded.

Continue reading Tales of a wartime photo: what happened here Men walk down Alberta Avenue supporting of the war effort

Local resident’s garden is a labour of love Andrea Ruelling grows food and brings neighbours together

Every spring, Andrea Ruelling reads Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life for inspiration.

Her garden is inspirational as well. The front yard is divided into raised beds, two of which are self-watering. Peas and squash plants climb lattices, ripe strawberries tempt passersby, lettuce and carrots flourish. That’s but a sampling of the front yard, never mind a backyard full of potatoes, dill, tomatoes, sunflowers, raspberries, rhubarb and more.

Continue reading Local resident’s garden is a labour of love Andrea Ruelling grows food and brings neighbours together

Enjoy local history by taking a walk East Norwood Boulevard is an untapped historical resource

Terry Protz is a lifelong resident of Norwood. Walking with me along Norwood Boulevard east of Norwood School, Protz provided fascinating details on local history.

Today these city blocks are victims of urban blight. “It used to be a good neighbourhood,” said Protz.

Norwood Boulevard was a lively mixed use area during the Second World War and the years following the war. This working class district contained several businesses, a church, and modest homes.

Continue reading Enjoy local history by taking a walk East Norwood Boulevard is an untapped historical resource

Still no pool in Borden Park this season Pool was redesigned due to budget needs

Good news for swimmers: Borden Park pool is targeted to open in late summer of 2017.

Calgary-based New Perspective Pools will build the Natural Swimming Experience pool. Built in 1920, the original pool was in dire need of a new filtration system. Rather than invest in an aged facility, a series of open houses pinpointed the need for something new. Three years ago, the idea for the first natural swimming pool in Canada was approved with input from local residents. In 2014, the old pool was closed.

Continue reading Still no pool in Borden Park this season Pool was redesigned due to budget needs