Letters to the Editor – Reader Gets Involved

We love to hear from you! Send your questions and comments to voice@ausu.org, and please indicate if we may publish your letter.

Re: ?Concert Special: Vans Warped Tour 2007? by Mandy Gardner, v15 i26 (2007-07-13)

That was the absolute BEST review! Felt like I myself was back there after my own long absence (3 years). Punk on, Mandy Gardner!

Joe N.

Re: ?We Are Dying? by Pam Pelmous, v15 i27 (2007-07-20)

I wish to comment on the above article posted by Mrs. Pelmous. I agree with every point she makes in her article, yet I find myself disheartened by a lack of suggestions with which to strengthen the fabric of communities in Canada. Many successful alternatives to the current state of our ‘suburban’ lifestyle come to mind – here are a few –

Start a community garden. Many cities are very condensed and have few places for individuals to gather with one another and work together/play together. We each have our own gardens and rarely help others with theirs. There was a time when community members helped out each other at harvest. If a vacant public lot exists in your community, think about planting a garden there. If someone complains, ask them instead for their help and post information about it. One successful example of this exists in High Park in Toronto. Community gardens exist in the park and various community members grow their own food. The community of High Park is also densely populated, but community members are friendly and welcoming of one another.

Another idea is to get involved in cohousing. Cohousing communities are deliberate or intentional communities. They’re based on reducing our environmental footprint by creating dense communities and housing that is generally self sustainable through the use of alternative energies, ride shares, community greenhouses etc. They also promote a diverse community by ensuring that community members represent all social and economic strata of our society. Further, a communal area is used once a week for potluck dinners where neighbours get together and socialize with one another. One other way that sharing is promoted is that each member of the community is expected to share in the management and chores of the community.

Specialists also help other community members if they have specific skills in order to keep the costs down for all community members. Imagine how much of a difference this can make for a family of four living in a city like Vancouver or Calgary? We’re so conditioned to paying our condo fees and forget about it, what if, in order to remain in a community, one of the conditions was to actually contribute and participate in it? This template can be used in any neighbourhood (one example is the prairiesky community in Calgary).

Finally, promote a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood in your own community. Insist that developers create mixed use communities where members can work, play, live and gather. Make sure that this insistance is legislated.

These are just a few ideas…there are many more (consider car free zones in areas, block parties, it goes on and on…). You’re not the only one that feels the way you do, but there are things you can do about it! So come on, get moving! You have alot of work to do!

Regards, Ryan Nabozniak

Thanks so much for your reply to this article, and all of your great suggestions. These are very valuable and some wonderful ideas. It goes to show that with effort and creativity, we can always find ways to build our communities.

Tamra Ross