February 2011 Village Vibe

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Fernwood`s neighbourhood newspaper


  • villagevibeNews and views from the heart of Fernwood

    February 2011

    in this issueBuzz

    A Taste of Taiwan page 3


    Fiction Contest page 4

    Included with this issue:

    2010 Annual ReportTo get the Vibe digitally, sign up at fernwoodnrg.ca

    Lee Herrin

    I n the spring of 2004, when the Cor-nerstone Building was a boarded-up eyesore in the heart of our neighbour-hood, the Fernwood Community Cen-tre Society (now Fernwood NRG) and the Fernwood Community Association invited the neighbourhood to the Fern-wood Community Visioning Forum. Over seventy people responded to our invita-tion, and met for the day in the gymna-sium of the Fernwood Community Centre on a Saturday morning in late May.

    Facilitated by Marianne Alto (who was elected to City Council in the recent by-election), we undertook a capacity build-ing exercise, catalogued the assets we could bring to bear on solving some of the critical problems facing the neighbourhood, and moved into an open space visioning session in which participants were invited to write down their priorities, dreams and ideas for how to make Fernwood a better place to live. Each person was then given coloured stickers with which to indicate their prior-ities from all of the ideas on the wall. We then spent the afternoon talking through acknowledged high priority areas.

    Looking back from the perspective of 2011, the results are incredible:

    Buy Robin Kimptons Buildingdone.

    Community Cafdone. Generate business piggy-backing

    on the Belfry patronsdone. Refurbished performance

    spacesdone. Traffic calming at Fernwood and

    Gladstonedone. Wider sidewalks on Fernwood

    Roaddone. A comfortable attractive square

    done. More affordable housingdone.

    Now, its true that not all of these have been accomplished to the same degreethe wider sidewalk on Fernwood Road is a short distance and not the entire length of the roadbut considering the state of things in 2004, many of these priorities, dreams and ideas seemed at the time like pie in the sky.

    Well, that pie came down to earth, and we ate it, and now its time to co-create a fresh vision of what just might be pos-sible in this wonderful neighbourhood.

    Fernwood NRG will be undertaking its own internal strategic planning exercise this Spring, and a critical consideration is what you, our neighbours, want to see in your neighbourhood.

    For this reason, weve decided to host another Neighbourhood Visioning Forum. So come on out and share your ideas, hopes and dreams with us, no matter how wild. Who knows, come 2018 it might be your handwriting on the cover of the Vibe!

    And if you cant make it, watch the Vibe this April for a re-cap of the day.

    Visions of a neighbourhood

    If you care about the future of Fernwood, youre invited!

    Please join us for our Neighbourhood Visioning Forum Saturday, March 19th The day will start at 9:30am for coffee and muffins, and will continue through lunch (which will be provided). We will wrap up at 2:30 in the afternoon. Childminding will be available. Please RSVP to forum@fernwoodnrg.ca if you will require childcare.

  • page 2 villagevibe February 2011 News and views from the heart of Fernwood

    Lee HerrinAlice laughed: Theres no use trying, she said; one cant believe impossible things.

    I daresay you havent had much prac-tice, said the Queen. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes Ive believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

    Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland.

    We go through life bumping up against invisible limits. To be sure, there are always hurdles in our way, but none so insurmountable as the ones in our mind. Occasionally, if we are lucky, we glimpse, fleetingly, what might be possible if only we changed the way we think, or what we believe to be true.

    And sometimes, we have the good for-tune to be surrounded by people who buoy our confidence and who are as determined as we arefor a time, our vision clears and we see that things which previously seemed impossible are actually possible, even probable.

    I have been lucky enough to work with such people on a couple of different occa-sions in my life. It seems almost magical when one looks back that a statement scrawled on whatever paper was at hand

    at the time, has become manifest reality. The future is thought, spoken and written before it comes to pass.

    At the time we held the Community Visioning Forum in 2004, it definitely seemed as though the things we wrote down were impossible. And there were times on the road to getting there where we feared that we would fail, and that all of our hard work would come to nought.

    It is an amazing thing, though, how a dream, or a vision, fixed in your mind, can create a tension between what is and what could be, that like an elastic contracting, pulls you toward your goal. And no feeling is better than achieving what others have declared to be impossible.

    So, I urge you to come out and partici-pate on March 19th. Although our neigh-bourhood is much healthier now than it was the last time we came together to envision the future, there are still a great many things to do that presently seem impossible. Do we have a sustainable trans-portation system? Do we have real food security? Do we have renewable energy? Do we have enough affordable housing? Do we have a solid, local economy? And what about the Community Centre itself? The building is aging and the City hasnt the money to replace it. Will we ride it into the ground, or...?

    Lets get together for day and believe six impossible thingsat least before dinner.

    Joshua SchmidtStep aside Chuck Norris. Stand back Sher-lock Holmes. Theres a new sheriff in town looking to keep the peace, and that man is Constable Mike Russell, Fernwoods very own Community Resource Officer.

    Who is Mike and what exactly is a Com-munity Resource Officer (CRO)?

    Glad you asked! Mikes interest in com-munity development began back in Edmon-ton when he got involved with the Alberta Avenue, an area akin to Fernwood, where he saw the power of community transform a neighbourhood and how a CRO could facilitate and support positive change.

    Unlike patrol officers, who can be brought in to address a crime but simply dont have the time to spend digging into the deeper issues of the community, CROs are dedicated for a 3 year period and act as

    a resource for both community members and officers, clarifies Mike while sipping

    his coffee. We can access resources like building, mental health, fire, and electrical inspectors, he lists off, and are here to protect and serve... its not just protect. A lot of people forget that part.

    And Mike is very excited to be able to be a part of Fernwood, which fondly reminds him of his hood back in Edmonton. Mike expresses earnestly, Theres NOT two faces of me... Im not constable Russell, Im Mike, whether in uniform or not. Youll see him chatting with neighbours, getting involved with the Pole Painting project and Sunday Swap n Shop, cycling with his family, or enjoying a nice Zinfandel.

    Ill be chilling in Cornerstone every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and am happy to chat about ideas, receive criticism, or just shoot the breeze says Mike, so if you spot him around be sure to say hi.

    declarationof principles

    & values

    villagevibePublished by Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group

    We are committed to creating a socially, environmentally,

    and economically sustainable


    We are committed to ensuring neighbourhood control or

    ownership of neighbourhood

    institutions and assets;

    We are committed to using our resources prudently

    and to becoming financially


    We are committed to the creation and support of neighbourhood


    We are committed to engaging the dreams, resources,

    and talents of our neighbours

    and to fostering new links

    between them;

    We are committed to taking action in response to

    neighbourhood issues, ideas,

    and initiatives;

    We are committed to governing our organization and serving our

    neighbourhood democratically

    with a maximum of openness,

    inclusivity and kindness;

    We are committed to developing the skills, capacity, self-worth,

    and excellence of our

    neighbours and ourselves;

    We are committed to focusing on the future while preserving

    our neighbourhoods heritage

    and diversity;

    We are committed to creating neighbourhood places that

    are vibrant, beautiful, healthy,

    and alive;

    and, most of all, We are committed to having fun!

    Editorial Committee

    Lee Herrin Stacey Curtis Joshua Schmidt Matt Takach

    Founding Editor Lisa Helps


    Lee Herrin Kyla PlaxtonJoshua Schmidt Jenelle PasiechnikKate Naugler Margaret HantiukArlene Severina Elizabeth WellburnStacey Curtis Deryk Houston Maddy Cristall Denyse KooRobert Adair Wilson


    Mila Czemerys Terence RadfordLyn Atkinson

    Production Ellen Rooney

    Contact us

    1313 Gladstone Street Victoria, BC V8T 1G6T 778.410.2497 F 250.381.1509vibe@fernwoodnrg.cawww.villagevibe.ca

    To enquire about advertising in the Village Vibe, please contact ads@fernwoodnrg.ca

    The views expressed in the Village Vibe do not necessarily reflect the views of Fernwood NRG.

    Mike Russell chilling at Cornerstone Cafe.

    Photo: Mila Czemerys


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