Celebrate the Holidays at the MacKenzie Art Gallery

mackenzie-art-gallery-post

Another “first post”! Please welcome to Yvette Crane to the role of LCA website editor. With Yvette, Eric and Mark combing the community for news, you can’t help but be informed. And busy!

I don’t know about you, but hanging out at the Mackenzie Art Gallery is one of my favourite ways to while away a Sunday afternoon. And with kids in tow, it’s even better!

And on Sunday December 6th, from 2 – 4 pm, the MacKenzie has a fun holiday celebration planned which will include art activities, refreshments, music, and exhibition tours. Santa loves the art gallery too – so you can have a visit with him while you’re there!

Admission is FREE, but they will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items for the Regina Food Bank.

(Please visit the Mackenzie Art Gallery website at www.mackenzieartgallery.ca for more free family programs!)

image credit: Mackenzie Art Gallery

Be a Part of Olympic History

torch-relay-post

A warm welcome to new website editor Eric Bell who kicks off his LCA experience with this post.  Yay!

Do you love the Olympics but don’t have the time to make it to Vancouver this winter? Good news- you don’t even have to leave your own city to experience the magic of the 2010 Winter Olympics! The Olympics Committee made some last minute changes, and Regina has been selected over Vancouver to host this winter’s Olympics!

Of course I am totally kidding. And I apologize if you believed me and told all of your friends and everyone laughed at you. But if you want to get in on the Olympic action, and don’t plan on leaving Regina, then you need to check out this event:

Our city has been chosen as a host community for the Olympic torch relay, which will take place on Saturday January 9, 2010, at the Sportplex (1717 Elphinstone St.)

The afternoon and evening is set to be jam packed with events, including food, a winter carnival, dancing and even fireworks. (that’s right, fireworks!) So, if you want to have tons of Olympic-related fun, bring your family and enjoy the spirit of the 2010 Olympics on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

For more details, or if you are interested in volunteering to help for this event, visit regina.ca

Let’s Talk Trash: Waste Management Open House

trash-post

This is a topical post for me and anyone who had a neighbour move recently.   Our ‘one big bag per week’ of garbage has been sitting by the back door for a very long time as the dumpsters in my alley are full of unwanted stuff from the aforementioned moving neighbour.   So I was intrigued to read about the City of Regina’s new Waste Management Plan.

I’m still reading it over, but what they’ve developed is a long term plan for dealing with all the garbage that we all create.  There is an online questionnaire where you can give feedback and a Waste Plan Report that you can read.  (I don’t think you need to read the report to answer the questionnaire, but some wider context might be nice!)

There are also a series of Trash Talking Open Houses that started last week and continue through November.  Some nearby events are November 24 (3-6pm, City Hall) and December 2 (5:30 – 8pm, Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre)  But there are others too.

Have you been following this?  What are your thoughts on dealing with trash in Regina?   Let us know in the comments.

Images by MBK (Marije)

Feedback Needed for Recreational Facility Plan

wading-pool-post

Last Thursday the LCA was invited to receive a first look at the City of Regina’s  Recreational Facility Plan. This is an 11 year plan (2010-2020) outlining where the City wants to invest in recreational facilities across Regina — from swimming pools to skating rinks to arts centres and major parks.

Note:  This is different from the Consultant’s Report that was issued last June.  In a nutshell, there were a lot of concerns around the consultant’s report, so the City did another round of consultation before creating this new plan.

Public feedback is needed

Before I give you my take on the plan, the most important thing to know is there are two public open houses planned for this week:

Wednesday November 25 at 7PM,  MacNeill Elementary School

Thursday November 26 at 7PM, Eastview Community Centre

It would be great if we could get a strong local showing at the sessions and give solid feedback, whether in support of the plan or constructive criticism.

Note:  At time of writing, I can’t find confirmation of these dates on the City website.  However, the dates and locations were announced at the meeting I attended.

The plan is consistent with LCA objectives

It was encouraging to see how the priority for City investment in new facilities aligns with how the LCA runs community programs.   The City puts high priority on facilities that can be used by the widest range of people (like leisure swimming pools) and shies away from facilities that are specialized or serve a small number of people (like a dedicated indoor tennis facility.)

That’s not to say the City won’t help fund a specialized facility — but they’ll need a partner to step forward and lead the project, including providing a large portion of the funding.

Three levels of facilities:  City Wide,Community Destination and Neighbourhood Hub

The plan does a good job of describing three types of facilities in Regina:

City Wide Facilities are major facilities that serve the entire city, like Taylor Field, the Neil Balkwill Centre and the Lawson Aquatic Centre.

Community Destination Clusters are groups of facilities at further into the suburbs.  They are nice enough to be worth the drive and are planned to serve a subset of the city (say 15,000-30,000 people.)   The plan calls for the Schmirler Centre (Southeast), Northwest Leisure Centre (Northwest) and South Leisure Centre (South) to be the expanded over time to serve this role.

Neighbourhood Hubs are facilities designed to meet the needs of a smaller neighbourhood, say 7500-12,000 people.  That’s things like the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre or Kinsmen Park South.

Major changes are  planned…

The plan has 32 specific recommendations about changes and improvements to recreational facilities over the 11 year life of the plan.   Some highlights for our end of the city:

  • An improved Lawson Aquatic Centre, including both indoor and outdoor pools, and a mix of competitive (laps) and leisure facilities
  • A greatly expanded Neil Balkwill Civic Arts Centre, which will nearly double the size of the facility in Les Sherman Park
  • A redesigned Wascana Pool
  • No closures of indoor rinks, so long as there is demand for ice.
  • Improvements at the South Leisure Centre, including new tennis courts
  • Consolidation and improvements of City run ball diamonds.

There are items in the plan which could be seen as negative to Lakeview.   For example, the tennis courts at the Lakeview Par 3 golf course will likely not be resurfaced, in favour of better tennis courts at the South Leisure Centre “Destination Cluster”.  Also, the City will be looking to redistribute the number of outdoor rinks so there is one every 2.5-3km.  This could mean a change to the rinks in Lakeview over the next 5 years or so.

…But funding isn’t approved yet

The City is recommending the creation of a ‘capital investment fund’ so there’s money to complete these projects over the next 11 years.   They will also set aside money to partner with other organizations to build more specialized facilities as those opportunities arise.

That’s the tricky bit for City Council:  how to establish this fund at a time when they are also trying to figure out how to deal with garbage and public transportation.

Local impact: rethinking what is “Lakeview”

The LCA boundaries encompass Lakeview, South Lakeview, River Heights and Normandy Heights.  While that sounds like a lot, we have around 3500 households.

We’re also very close to Wascana Park, the South Leisure Centre, the Neil Balkwill Centre and the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre, even though none of those facilities are located in what we call “Lakeview.”

What this means is we’re not going to get a Neighbourhood Centre in “Lakeview” any time soon — at least not one funded by the City.   No surprise there.

We need to realize that the facilities which lie outside “Lakeview” are built with us in mind, however.   South Leisure Centre doesn’t belong to Albert Park, and the Balkwill Centre doesn’t belong to Cathedral.   We need to make sure we use those facilities and have our say in how they are developed.

This includes ensuring that the City and the School Boards are working together so the school buildings serve the community as well.  There’s lots of opportunity to work closer there.

What Lakeview lacks in buildings, we gain in parks

On the other hand, we are blessed with some of the best green spaces in Regina.  Over the 11 years that the Recreational Facility Plan is in effect, the City intends to review the master plans for Kinsmen Park South and Kiwanis Park.

That’s a great opportunity for citizen involvement —  making sure our favorite green spaces are well maintained and meet the needs of our community.

Your Mission (if you choose to accept it)

1.  Tell us what you think in the comments.  What do you think of the plan based on this report?  Any big questions?  Or, go read the plan in more detail and tell us what you think.

2.  Attend the public meetings to learn more about the plan.  Then come to our next meeting or post you thoughts in the comments here.

3.  Be sure to attend the Council meeting when the plan comes forward in January 2010.  We’ll post more info as we receive it.

Image from Seattle Municipal Archives

LCA Website Editors Needed

moleskine-post

This website has been one of the neat additions to the LCA lineup over the past year.  We launched the site with the objective of sharing everything we know about the community, so you know what’s going on and what needs your attention.

So far, the sites been a big success.  We’re getting lots of subscribers, and people are coming to us with ideas for articles.   Once in a while we even get an email telling us you like informal tone of the place — that makes us very happy indeed.

We’ve discovered a flaw though — it’s becoming clear that I’m a bottleneck.  There’s much more going on in Lakeview than I can get posted on the site.   To fix that, we’re looking for volunteers to write and post articles to the website.

If you like writing, we can teach you how to post on the site (it’s easy!)

If you like telling people things, and always wanted to try writing, we can help get you writing, and then teach you how to post.

As Friend of Lakeview Lily Tingley likes to say  “many hands make light work.”  If we can get two or three energetic editors lined up, we can get back to posting twice a week and keeping you in the know.

Interested?  Curious but a little nervous?  Don’t worry.  Fire off an email and we can talk about it!

Photo by Sancho Papa

Hurry! The Wedding Singer Opens Tomorrow!

wedding-singer-post

Sheldon Williams Collegiate is known for a great music and drama program and their fall musical is one of the highlights of their schedule.   This year the students are getting back to the ’80s with a production of “The Wedding Singer.”  It’s a lighthearted blast from the past — go find your skinny tie, put on your Member’s Only jacket and come sing along!

Performances run November 12-14 and it’s cheap, cheap cheap!  Get your tickets at one of the following locations:

Cobb Swanson- 2924 13th Ave
Crocus & Ivy- 3420 Hill Ave
Book & Brier Patch- 4065 Albert Street
Sheldon Williams office- 2601 Coronation Street
Bach& Beyond- Golden Mile
or at the door if available.

The student’s have been working long hours for many weeks to pull the show together and it’s going to be an awesome show.  Come join the fun!

Remembrance Day in the Sunshine

wreaths-homepage2

I’m writing this having just returned from the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in Victoria Park.   As usual, it was a very nice service, remembering the sacrifices of our soldiers in years past and the continued sacrifices our soldiers make today.

The park was packed this year.  I’m sure the fine weather helped — I can’t remember ever leaving the park without frozen toes, but this time I was warm in sneakers — but I really got the sense that people truly wanted to be there today.

Maybe it’s because we’re at war in Afghanistan right now (I can’t imagine us treating this so casually if it was 1942 or even 1951) or maybe it’s because we don’t have many WWII veterans left anymore and feel the need to honour those who remain.  All I know is that stopping to think about the great sacrifices they made (and continue to make) on our behalf has me charged up to make the most of the society we have and to live in a way that makes future wars unnecessary.

Thank you, Lloyd Jones.  Thank you, Ken and Louise Arndt.  Thank you to the other veterans who came back from war and built this neighbourhood house by house in the 1950’s.   I hope we’re building on what you accomplished.