Four Ideas on Curbing Park Vandalism

I’m happy to report that last night’s post on the vandalism problems in Kinsmen Park South is already getting shared around the neighbourhood.  I received a thoughtful email from a neighbour with four ideas on how, together, we could improve things.  Here they are:

  1. Regular Nighttime Watering:  Would timed watering (say, at night, on weekends) help reduce the amount of late-night park activity?
  2. Signage in the park on who to contact.  It’s easiest to report a problem immediately, so what can we do to make it easier to report problems?
  3. Posters / Education sessions in the schools.
  4. Flyers / Awareness for homeowners surrounding the park on what to watch for and who to call.

Good ideas!  Any others?  Leave them in the comments, drop us an email or come on out to our November meeting at 7PM on Monday, November 10 at Lakeview School (in the library.) Together, perhaps we can get a couple of these ideas actioned in time for next summer.

What to do About Vandalism in Kinsmen Park

Literally years of work by community volunteers is being torn apart due to the large amount of vandalism in Kinsmen Park South.    Most of the trees that were planted by volunteers over the past three years have been damaged and six of the trees have been completely destroyed.

New preschool playground equipment, which was installed only last year, has been damaged and covered in graffiti. The picnic tables which we installed three years ago have been burned.

The saddest thing about all of this is that most of the damage has been done since at least June of this year and left unreported and unrepaired for at least four months, through spray-pad season, soccer season and football season.  I started a Flickr photoset with 28 pictures documenting the damage as of October, 2008 and they can be found here.

What Went Wrong

Kinsmen Park South is a very active park, with houses facing the park on one side and houses backing on to the park on two sides.  It’s a very big park too, with lots of room for skiers in the winter and dog-walkers in the summer and fall.  Nearby schools and daycares use the plaground extensively.  Yet the damage still went unreported and unrepaired.

It’s assumed that most of the damage was caused by late night parties in the park during the summer.  Branches from newly planted trees were broken, and in some cases the entire trees broken, for firewood.

The graffiti?  Who knows why or when, but we couldn’t find a single piece of equipment that wasn’t tagged.

Why it matters

The main goal we had when we took on the park project was to provide shade for young families using the playground and equipment for the smallest children.  Both those goals are in doubt if we can’t keep the equipment maintained and the trees growing.

A secondary goal was to re-ignite a sense of community ownership of the park.  We figured that if the LCA invested money and effort in the park, the neighbours who lived around the park and the people who used it would take on a sense of stewardship.  Clearly we failed in this goal.  We didn’t even come close.  It’s causing us to reflect on how we choose our projects and why we do community projects.  We got this one wrong and need to tackle new problems differently.

What Can You Do?

Is the City responsible for maintaining the park?  Yes.  But are we responsible for reporting problems both when they are happening and after they happen?  Also, yes.  So what can you do?

First off, report the damage!  If you see damage or graffiti in the park call the city Community Service department at 777-7000 and report it.  Call the police if there are people in the park after 11PM.

Second, well, I don’t know.  I’d like to suggest walking the dog with some pruning shears on Sunday morning and trimming some things up.  But I think we’re all waiting for someone else to do it.

Thirdly, use the park!  Often!  One of the best things we can do to prevent any kind of crime, be it in parks or our streets is to be outside and active.  An active, busy community is a safer community.

Fourthly, contact the LCA if you have ideas on how to fix this.  As I said, we took the ‘build it and community will follow’ approach and it didn’t work.

What should we do differently? Leave your thoughts in the comments after this post.  Or come to our next meeting Monday November 10, 7PM at Lakeview School and tell us.  We’ll listen.

What Have We Been Up To: The LCA 2008 Annual Report

Back in the day, Annual General Meetings were long affairs.  Each executive member and committee chair would stand and read a report which described everything they did over the past year.

Four years ago, we decided to compile an Annual Report document which contained all the reports, so people could review them at home (hopefully with a nice drink and a comfortable chair) and use them as reference.  The report part of the meeting went quicker so we had time to talk about the future while still reflecting on the past.

Now let’s be honest — most of us don’t keep an LCA reference file with past reports (maybe I do, but I’m special that way.)  If we’re really honest, most of us read it once and chuck it out.  But not this year.  Oh, no indeed.

This year, the LCA Annual Report is available in a new fangled E-lec-tronic form!  All you need to do is click the link below and the report will appear right on your computer screen.  Enjoy the reports at home with no paper wastage!  Come back again and again to see what we did!  Come back next year to see if our forward looking statements came true!  Find hidden clues for the coming years contests! It’s all in the report, and the report is right here…

lca-agm-report-2008

Special thanks to our Secretary Patti Chesters for compiling the report and all the executive members for writing their reports.

Results from the Annual General Meeting

On Thursday, October 16 we held our Annual General Meeting in the Lakeview School library.  As AGM’s go this was a pretty good one, since it gave us a chance to welcome some new members to the LCA executive, congratulate some long serving members on their retirement and set a direction for the coming year.

Here are some highlights:

2007-2008 Financials

Outgoing treasurer Dayle Wollenberg presented his sixth and final set of annual financial statements, showing an overall deficit of approximately $3000 for the year.  The deficit was pretty much expected at the start of the year as we try to keep our programs affordable for everyone and continue to invest in the community with our scholarships, outdoor ice shack supervision and free skate days, etc.

We spend nearly $10,000 every year in community investment programs and general administration of the association, and while we have a few other sources of income, the majority come from our programs. We’ll be reviewing both our program fees and our expenses over the coming year to make sure we find the right balance.

2008-2009 Budget

Our new treasurer Amy Mader, secretary Patti Chester and chairperson James Holtom sharpened their pencils and came up with a budget for the current year.  Right now we’re projecting to either break even or have a small increase in net income for the year.  The final results will depend on whether we receive any applications for our Community Grant program this year.  Deadline for applications is December 31, 2008.  I’ll be posting more information about the grant program this week.

LCA Annual Report

Patti Chester collected annual reports from all LCA executive and program coordinators and shared the document with all attendees.  It’s really great to see the wide range of contributions to the community that LCA volunteers have made in a year.  It’s a remarkable collection of achievements.  We’re working on getting a PDF version that I can post on the website for people who missed the AGM.

Thank You to Our Retiring Volunteers

Two special people were recognized at the AGM this year on the event of them retiring from the LCA executive.

Dayle Wollenberg has been our treasurer for six years now and has done an outstanding job from the first day.  Aside from making sense of a fairly complicated set of financial statements, Dayle has added some much needed colour to registration nights, budget meetings and the financials themselves.  He oversaw moving our bank account back into Lakeview at Affinity Credit Union and has built an excellent relationship with both the bank and our external reviewer.

Cindy Dyck is also leaving the LCA after several years as our Special Projects Coordinator.  Her major accomplishment is one that will last for generations, as she led the three year park improvement project at Kinsmen Park South.  The project, which cost over $70,000 in equipment and labour,  included installation of new playground equipment, benches, picnic tables and over 40 new trees.  Cindy was instrumental in creating the design, applying for matching grants, coordinating with City officials and organizing volunteers.  Over time,  this project will turn what is already an excellent spray pad into a top notch park and gathering place.

New LCA Executive

Finally, attendees elected a new executive for 2008-2009.  They are:

Chairperson:  Mark Dyck

Secretary:  Patti Chesters

Treasurer:  Amy Mader

Past-Chairperson:  James Holtom

Program Coordinator:  James Holtom

Outdoor Soccer:  Linda Thauberger

Newsletter:  Jessica Tiefenbach

Website:  Mark Dyck

Outdoor Sign:  Marci Brisbourne

South Zone Rec Board Liasion:  Lily Tingley

Thank you to everyone who agreed to take on a position.  Especially to Jessica Tiefenbach (our newest member), Lily Tingley (our longest serving member), and James Holtom (who is still playing a major role in the LCA even though he has moved to Lang, SK.)

Will You Attend Next Year?

The AGM is usually a sparsely attended event and this year was no different.  I think it reflects on how little is known about what we do in the community — either that or people fear being pressed into service.  Either way, we’re going to put extra emphasis on listening to and talking with our neighbours over the next year.  Perhaps that way, a goal of doubling attendance next year might be within reach.

Question:  What would you like to see at next year’s AGM, that would inspire you to attend?

Let us know in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hmmm…I thought we had Thanksgiving in October to avoid the snow.  Better make a pot of tea for this update…

Things may seem quiet around the community association, but we’re working hard behind the scenes to make this year’s Annual General Meeting the best one ever.  Our secretary Patti is busy preparing our annual report document so you all know what we’ve been up to over the past year, treasurer Amy is busy balancing the budget, Chairman James is no doubt working on an inspirational speech for the volunteers and visitors and I’ve been busy bugging everyone for vision statements and goals for the future.

There has never been a better time to get involved with the Lakeview Community Association.  We’ve got lots going on with our traditional programs and some new programs and we’re trying hard to figure out what’s the next big thing to tackle as a group.  Do you see a need in the community?  Something bad need fixing?  Something good need duplicating?  Come out to the AGM and tell us about it!

Oh yes, that date again:

Lakeview Community Association Annual General Meeting

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lakeview School Library

7:00PM

LCA Programs Kick Off This Week

Enjoy your turkey this weekend — you can work it off starting Tuesday.  Most LCA programs get underway this coming week, starting with family fitness programs on Wednesday and kids Learn to Skate on Saturday.

Week 2 of Power Skating and Mini-Mites Hockey is on Tuesday as well.

Sunday Roundup: More Words, More Good Work

It’s time to take a break from the normal weekend craziness to tell you about three really big events.  Guaranteed to fill your bellys and minds and help people at the same time!

Regina Food For Learning Steak Night

Regina Food for Learning keeps kids fed, so they can learn and grow.  And now they want to feed you!  They are holding a steak night on October 18th to raise money for their in-school programs.  Get a great steak for your $15.00 and you are helping a great cause.  Contact Heather Stevenson at 565-8632 to book some tickets.  If you can’t make it, call Heather anyway and send RFFL a cheque!

Use Your Words, Help African Children

We’ve told you about the excellent Grandmothers for Grandmothers program before, and how they are helping Grandmothers in Africa care for their grandchildren who were orphaned by AIDS.  They are running a very interesting Scrabble fundraiser on October 26 at the Riddell Centre at the University of Regina.  Please contact mtudor@sasktel.net or call 731-2768 for more information or to receive a pledge package.

Need a Good Book?  Regina Public Library can help!

Got a nice email from Carole at the Regina Public Library about a new service for popular books.  They are ordering lots of copies of the most popular new titles and putting them on their Popular Picks list.  Check them out and read them fast:  They are on 7 day loan and the late fees increase, but the service should ensure the book you want is available quickly.

Share Your Views at the Lakeview Community Association AGM

The Regina Lakeview Community Association Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 16 at 7PM at Lakeview School in the school library.

The AGM is a pretty good deal — All Lakeview Residents are invited and LCA members* are eligible to vote on a series of important items, like:

  • The Annual Report:  Hear what we’ve been up to in the past year to help make Lakeview the best neighbourhood in the city!
  • the 2008-2009 LCA Budget:  Learn about the projects we plan to take on this year and influence what we do.
  • 2008-2009 Executive Elections: Have your say about who leads the association.

If that’s not enough, there is likely food available too!

*LCA Memberships will be available prior to the meeting to ensure you have a vote.

Photo Credit:  reinvented