A New Focus (or, the birth of a resident association)

Scaledown.You’ve noticed by now that our former vigorous posting schedule here on ScaleDown has dwindle to a trickle.

Or a stop, many of my colleagues would say.

It’s hard to argue that point.  Lately, much of my attention has been diverted to a new venture.  Still in the vein of Scaledown, though more localized to my immediate neighbourhood.

I am far from abandoning the mission and vision established over the course of 4+ years ScaleDown has been active.  That would be like abandoning the sound of my voice.  I will stand by everything we’ve espoused to date and argue that the contributors to this site have been ahead of Windsor’s curve when it comes to addressing our built environment and it’s effect on our quality of life.

However, I am narrowing the focus a bit from here on out when it comes to expending my energy.  As many of you may know, I live in beautiful Olde Walkerville.  A neighbourhood I’ve held in high regards for many of my postings as an example of all the good things that are possible when it comes to urban design.

Unfortunately, I have been reminded quite a few times that simply because a neighbourhood has withstood the trials of many other communities, we are still vulnerable to the pressures of “growth” and “progress” that plague our culture.  When we lost the Seagraves building and then the old Bank of Montreal building at Ottawa/Walker, and the insensitive infill development on our residential streets, we scrambled to get the word out about the precarious nature of our architectural heritage and how it defines our ‘hood.  We were constantly on the defensive, which put us in a weak position.

Hence the establishment of the Olde Walkerville Residents Association.  From our press release:

Residents in the Olde Walkerville are determined to preserve the neighbourhood’s unique “character” and bring together residents through a variety of social events.

The Olde Walkerville Resident’s Association (OWRA) was created to “promote, support, facilitate, coordinate, or undertake activities that will enhance the well-being and character of the Olde Walkerville community.”

Chris Holt, Mita Williams, Adriano Ciotoli, Greg Cooper, Chris Schnurr and Chris Edwards have been meeting laying the ground work for the association and planning the launch party.

“We need more opportunities to get to know our neighbours,” said Mita Williams, “I’m hoping the Olde Walkerville Resident’s Association can bring us together to do just that.”

In addition to social events to build a stronger community, the group has their eye on preserving Walkerville’s significant history and architecture.

“Walkerville has been cited as an example of good neighbourhood planning, so we as a neighbourhood and as a community want to preserve and enhance this as well as our culturally and historically significant buildings, architecture, green space and trails,”  stated Holt.

Our stated goals are:

  • providing a forum for dialogue on neighbourhood matters;
  • maintaining the character of Olde Walkerville based on its unique history;
  • preserve and/or enhance culturally and historically significant buildings, architecture and spaces, green space, parks, and trails within the community;
  • enhance the livability and quality of the Olde Walkerville neighbourhood;
  • fostering a tight-knit community.

We really feel that we can have a positive impact in our lil’ ol’ neck o’the woods by building a stronger community and highlighting the benefits to creating vibrant, walkable urban spaces.  On a more personal level, I feel that if more neighbourhoods took a more proactive approach to “fostering a tight-knit community“, we really wouldn’t have a need for the ScaleDown blog to continue.  Once residents in Windsor decide that the power lies in their hands, they will once again enjoy beautiful communities that are serviced by local, independant retailers within walking distance from their homes.  They’ll rediscover the joys of going for evening walks and greet their neighbours out doing the same.

We’re lucky here in Walkerville in that we have most of what we value in tact.  We aim to protect and enhance our ‘hood for the enjoyment of everyone for a very, very long time.

So, as you can see, my shifting energies are well within my stated goals established way-back-when.  I look forward to this next leg of the journey.