April 18, 2014 - 2:29 PM
KAMLOOPS — It’s been nearly two years since a community association helped plan the conversion of the old golf course to West Highlands Park and now several Aberdeen residents are moving forward with an effort to relaunch a community association for the neighbourhood.
One of the new directors, Helen Newmarch, says part of the reason the original community association no longer operates is the proposed Ajax Mine.
Many of the people previously involved in the association are now focusing attention on other groups such as Kamloops Area Preservation Association, Kamloops Moms for Clean Air or Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment and because of those involvements others had begun to see the community association as another anti-Ajax group.
“(The association) fell to the wayside as leadership became busy in other ventures,” Newmarch says, adding. “There seems to be the perception the association was taking a stand. It was individuals within the association that have become involved in other groups and when you publicly take a stand like that can you really represent the association, all the people in the neighbourhood?”
Newmarch says she decided to step up because of the work that still needs to be done.
“It’s really important that the community association continues on, in some way,” she says. “We wanted to have a clean start though, there might be the perception that (the association) was an advocacy group against Ajax, and we absolutely take no stand on Ajax at all. If we started discussing Ajax it would only create diversity in the community as opposed to working together towards common goals.”
The four new directors decided to change the name to Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association (formerly Aberdeen Community Association) and believes some of the top concerns in the Aberdeen area are walkability, maintenance of trails and the soon to be built community centre. Newmarch notes that is just what the current group of four have talked about and what exactly the new association works on will be dependent of what other residents have to say.
“The possibilities are endless,” she says. “Is there any way to squeeze in a community garden? Have block parties? What are we doing to protect ourselves from wildfires if it gets hot and dry this sumer?”
She adds there may be more talk of which areas need to be developed and maintained, there could be concerns over water and of course they would love to see more talk of activities and projects for the community. The group would like to see another 6-8 people step on board as directors and they hope to collect email and contact information to help keep the community more connected.
Aberdeen residents will get the chance to talk more at a continental breakfast meeting on Saturday, April 26. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the Community Room at Aberdeen Elementary. A professional facilitator will lead everyone through the conversation needed to start planning the new vision for the neighbourhood.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014