It's kind of weird that in a neighbourhood where you can get up to 300 kids at your door on Halloween that there isn't a new community centre or swimming pool for us all to use. Odd that in Strathcona, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, we don't have these new services or spaces for the community. Neither is there a Senior's centre, for our elders to have access to knitting clubs, outings, and simple things like hot lunches to share conversations over a meal. It's kind of long overdue and that's the thought that came to mind when I sat in a meeting, held at the new library asking the community: what we needed in a new community centre?
Firstly, here's what I think community looks like.
Twelve photos, taken in the moment, that have focused my thoughts on community representing many important aspects of what it means to come together. Community is about those feet on the ground, not afraid of hard work to get quality and things in which one believes. Also it's, those people, who see an idea turn into a project taking it through to the end. The people who can handle unexpected surprises that bring them together to get a job done or celebrate the happy happen chance generosity of others as they arise. There are also the thoughtful inspiring neighbours who plant a seed that grows into a new connection with someone you've never met before -- "if you don't try it won't ever happen", was the piece of advise heard that resulted in the drone post of last week. Oh, and the respect of the elder who comes along to see how it's all going that, off handedly, offer up pearls of wisdom. Community comes together when it's not about the self, but others and a bigger picture.
That meeting at the library created a process for thoughtful questioning? How do we bring community to a Centre for all who live here now and for those who will be coming? Oh and they'll be coming, just look at the area planning going on in this town. So, who would be the users of a brand spanking new Community Centre in Strathcona, hehehe one with a POOL!! Wouldn't it be awesome to have a pool? Do we sense a bias on my part for a pool?
Well come along let's visualize it!! Hmmm, a dog bone shaped pool (got that idea from someone special in our hood) of course, her idea was for dogs to use it. The people pool, dog bone shaped or otherwise, is where one could dive into waters of creativity and diversity emerging with art all around you. After the swim, in architectural structure that blows your mind, you pass through halls of children laughing, seniors sharing stories, and a place that welcomes everyone. This place serves exquisite lunches that you treat your friend to, or anyone else you chose to bring (subsidized for elders, 'cause they've done time and contributed greatly), oh and the opportunities for mentoring are everywhere you look. The culture of this place is art, it's soul is creativity, it's heart beats with respect. This place smells so good it makes you want to come back everyday!
Oh ya, I down for a new Community Centre!! The kind of place that sings to a melody of compassion, inclusivity, and harmonious interaction with the land that has housed the people who came before us, are here, and are coming. It's long overdue for this loved community -- let's even toss in a rooftop cinema and dog bone shaped pools in the parks where the sign says "all pets welcome"!