Last year, I saw the sign advertising Westwood’s Community League Day. Intrigued, I attended the pancake breakfast, met Bev Esslinger, city councillor in Ward 2, and purchased my membership without hesitation.
Since then, I have met several neighbours who felt the community league has provided many benefits. I learned more at the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL).
Catherine Shek is a library administrative assistant who catalogues old archived materials related to all Edmonton community leagues. She said, “Community leagues are a way for residents to have their voices heard in the municipal government. They help to advocate for the needs of the community, co-ordinate recreational and social functions, as well as provide infrastructure.”
Shek located the following excerpt of the initiation of the Westwood Community League in Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues: A History of the Largest Volunteer Organization in North America.
“C.B. Bostford founded Westwood Community League in 1951. In October of that year community people met at H.A Gray School. They embarked on many projects. One of which was the construction of a skating rink erected by volunteers. They found an army surplus hut which served as a clubhouse. Social activities such as movies, square dances, bingo, cub scouts, soccer and hockey leagues were abundant during those years. There was also an upgrade to The league’s kitchen and hardwood flooring from funds raised by a tea and bazaar.”
The demographics have changed as the population has aged and people have moved away. However, activism remains strong in Westwood through the efforts of volunteers.
Throughout the years, there have been many changes and improvements. In 2014, Triangle Park was renamed in honor of Lorne Larsen and the contributions he made to the community. It is a beautiful oasis along 107 Street. In 2012, the community league and the city led the efforts to redevelop the ornamental pond in Westwood Park. The pond no longer meets health and safety requirements. The final concept design includes a new spray park and construction will begin in 2017.
Currently Westwood is undergoing neighbourhood renewal with sewer and sanitary storm drain replacement, roads, curb and sidewalk reconstruction, and streetlight replacement. Community league meetings were an important part of these changes and began in October 2013. Current board members are Kim Ellis (president), Wally Watts (vice president), Rob Hauk (secretary), and Marlene Larsen (treasurer).
“Westwood is a wonderful community that I have enjoyed serving,” said Ellis. “I’m excited about the new spray park.”
On Sept. 17, Westwood Community League would like to invite residents to their Community League Day Pancake Breakfast and Big Bin Event from 9 am-2 pm. Come by and meet your neighbours. It is a wonderful opportunity to get involved.
As Mayor Hawrelak said during Westwood Community League’s inauguration in 1952, “It needs help from everyone—don’t let all the work fall on the shoulders of a few.”
Header image: Westwood Community League building. Credit: Karen Mykietka
Westwood Community League Day
Pancake Breakfast & Big Bin Event
Sept. 17, 9 am to 2 pm
Westwood Community League Hall
12139 – 105 Street