Construction pain will build benefits

The adage that there are two seasons in Edmonton—winter and construction —is set to hold true in our downtown this summer. But that’s a great thing.

While Ice District continues to take shape, other construction projects are starting up. The much anticipated Valley Line LRT will close much of 102 Avenue and Churchill Square, beginning this fall, leaving some festivals scrambling for new places to call home over the next few years.

This is all wonderful, because we are already starting to see the downtown of our future emerge.

Rogers Place has already brought thousands of Edmontonians to our downtown, sometimes for the first time in years. That the Oilers have gone on a playoff run that has been a boon for many restaurants and pubs is icing on the cake.

This summer will also see Alex Decoteau Park, downtown’s first new park in many decades, start offering residents another place to get some green. The park’s official opening is September 16, but no doubt many are already itching to use the community garden or walk their pooch in the off-leash dog run, or let their kids frolick in the water fountains.

What else? Well, an entire downtown bike grid has seemingly popped up over night, and soon the new Royal Alberta Museum will open and become a place for downtown residents and visitors to enjoy.

Great cities are always changing. As governments realize the economic, social and cultural benefits of a healthy, vibrant core that people want to live in and visit, we will all benefit. Rogers Place and Alex Decoteau Park are proof.

Through all of this, DECL will continue to grow our community and try to connect residents to each other through our events and programming. Our annual Pancake Breakfast is June 17, from 9–11am at our community space, at 10042 103 St. The breakfast is a chance to meet your neighbours and celebrate the fantastic summers we enjoy. And on July 21 we will again host a patio pub crawl to some of downtown’s finest patios. Stay tuned for details.

As always, if you have ideas or questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@ decl.org. Even though much construction is still in our future, let’s celebrate what’s been achieved in the place we call home.

Chris Buyze

President, Downtown Edmonton Community League

DECL Summer Events

JUNE 5 & 19
Urban Kids Playgroup
Meet other parents and kids ages 0–5.
No registration required. Just drop-in!
10–11:30am, DECL Community Space,
10042 103 St

JUNE 16
Urban Kids Family Night
Our monthly family night is where kids-
and parents-can play, explore and make
friends in their neighbourhood.
6-8pm, DECL Community Space
10042 103 St.

JUNE 17
Pancake Breakfast
There’s something comforting about a
stack of pancakes for breakfast. It’s the
perfect way to start the weekend so we’re
firing up the griddles again for the annual
DECL pancake breakfast. For a toonie, pile
up your plate with pancakes and sausages.
Coffee and juice will be served. 9-11am, 
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

JUNE 20
Open Mic Night
Ever wanted to perform publicly or just want
to be inspired? It’s time to try Open Mic
Night. Play a guitar tune, read a poem or
share any hidden talent you’ve got.
7pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

JULY 21
DECL Patio Pub Crawl
Cheers to downtown living. Grab some
sunscreen and come out to the DECL Patio
Pub Crawl. By foot, we’ll explore some of the
best patios in the city and signature cocktails
each location. Details will be available on 
Facebook.com/DECLORG.

AUGUST 26
Downtown Bike Network
The wheels are turning! DECL, The City
of Edmonton and various community organi-
zations officially kick off the Downtown Bike
Network. Ride with other cyclists via to desig-
nated bike stations around the core using the
new lanes. A station will be at our Community
Space where cyclists of all ages can decorate
their bicycles and then join a bike parade to 
the Federal Building at the Alberta Legisla-
ture grounds. Follow us on Facebook.com/
DECLORG for more details. DECL Community
Space, 10042 103 St.

 

 

DECL Spring Events

MONDAYS (EXCEPT MAY 22)
Urban Kids Playgroup
Meet other parents and kids ages 0–5.
No registration required. Just drop-in!
10–11:30am, DECL Community Space,
10042 103 St

MARCH 1, 15
DECL Book Club
Our first book Happy City was so good,
we’re on to our second! Follow us on
Facebook.com/DECLORG to find out what
we’re reading next. Don’t forget to show
your DECL membership at Audrey’s Books
and receive a free Audrey’s Book Club
membership. 7pm, DECL Community
Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 8 & 29
Learn to Play Ukulele
Dust off your ukulele and learn to play with
Dylan Ella. Free for DECL members. $10
for non-members. 6:30–7:30pm, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 17, APRIL 21, MAY 19
Urban Kids Family Night
Our monthly family night is where kids—and
parents—can play, explore and make friends
in their neighbourhood. 6–8:30pm, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

APRIL 27
DECL Annual General Meeting
Find out what your league is all about, volunteer
for board positions and get the low-down
on what’s happening in the community. Light
refreshments provided, cash bar. 6:30pm
Registration, 7:00pm meeting start, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 14, 28, APRIL 11 & 25
Programs Committee
Join us every second Tuesday of the
month to help organize programs and
events. Bring your ideas! 7–8pm,
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

APRIL 18
Open Mic Night
Got something funny to say or a poem
you’ve wanted to read? A guitar tune
to play? Share your artistic talents with
Downtown neighbours. Join us for our first
Open Mic Night. 7pm, DECL Community
Space, 10042 103 St.

JUNE 10
DECL Annual Block Party
Join us for our annual pancake breakfast.
Our garage sale is also back for a
second year. Details to be announced
on Facebook.

DECL Winter Events

DECLlogo DEC. 16, JAN. 20, FEB. 17
Our monthly children’s game night is where kids—and parents—can play, explore and make friends in their neighbourhood. 6–8:30pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

MONDAYS (EXCEPT DEC. 26 & JAN. 2)
Urban Kids Playgroup
Meet other parents and kids ages 0–5 Downtown. No registration required. Just drop-in! 10–11:30am, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

JAN. 18, FEB. 1, 15, MAR. 1, 15, 29
DECL Book Club
We’re reading Happy City by Charles Montgomery and discussing two chapters each meeting. Show your DECL membership at Audrey’s Books and receive a free Audrey’s Book Club membership. 7pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

DEC. 15
DECL Christmas Mixer
Celebrate the season with your downtown neighbours. Bring some baking to share, but don’t worry about drinks—there’s a cash bar and light refreshments.  7pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

Walking the Line on Thoughtful Development

With all the changes in Downtown, it’s easy to forget that the end goal is a sustainable, inclusive and robust community that people are proud to call home. Sometimes that’s lost on folks who don’t get why we live here, and you see it in recent conflicts like the proposed “megabars” for 104 St. and 109 St. These debates in particular stress thoughtful development—proposals that not only respect zoning and statutory plans in place (in this case the Capital City Downtown Plan adopted by City Council in 2010), but our dense, multi-stakeholder neighbourhood. No other part of the city can boast, for better or worse, a street like 104th, a place with density levels comparable to Manhattan, but which has had to fight to retain its 15-year growth and investment as a model “urban village.”

The pressures of a master-planned entertainment node, the Ice District—arguably an important missing part of vibrancy in Edmonton’s core—means we have to be thoughtful and sensitive when we decide how we’re going to encourage more people to live Downtown, and live there longer. One block can make a huge diferent in an urban setting. When it comes to the co-existing but disparate needs of residential complexes and late-night bars, other cities do this successfully. We’re only beginning to see the kinds of skirmishes that arise from an urban core, which is starting to be more bricks and mortar than gravel parking lots.

There’s a place for great late night venues and entertainment. We’ve seen how successfully Jasper Ave. has been transformed by venues like the Needle Vinyl Tavern, and we expect to raise a glass or two in the anticipated sports pubs and bars of the Ice District. A decade ago you could open any business wherever you wanted in Downtown without opposition, namely because no one lived close enough to be afected. But times have changed.

We’re learning how to co-exist as neighbours. The applicant of the proposed 400-seat bar on 104 St. pulled the appeal, not just because of pressure from local residents and businesses, but because it wasn’t the right place for such a venue. But this won’t be the only learning curve. Being open to change and growth is why we all live Downtown. We will have to continue to work together, in an open dialogue, to make sure the special community that have been created continues to thrive. It’s an exciting time to be part o

Job Post: Editor-in-Chief

The Yards magazine (published by the Central Edmonton News Society, on behalf of the Downtown Edmonton and Oliver Community Leagues) needs a new Editor-in-Chief to keep the momentum going on this popular quarterly magazine and to build its supplementary online reporting platform. This is a part-time paid position with very flexible hours. The ideal editor is self-disciplined and self-motivated, enjoys working with writers and creators and collaborating with community members, and LOVES EDMONTON’S CORE NEIGHBOURHOODS.

The Yards is a hyperlocal magazine for Downtown and Oliver covering community and civic affairs, so the ideal editor would be knowledgable about the area and someone who actually likes civics. But we also cover culture, food, business and all other aspects of downtown life—so someone “in the know” is equally valuable. The Yards has won awards from the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association and its hyperlocal journalism has been recognized by the Canadian Association of Journalism and the CBC; it is important to us that our stories meet writing and journalistic standards. We really love journalism junkies and magazine fanatics—people who relish the publishing process, who can be witnessed sniffing glossies and fondling paper stock in the magazine aisle.

Duties

  • Meet with Central Edmonton News Society to develop stories and key messages for stories
  • Schedule editorial meetings and manage pitches
  • Develop story assignments for specific writers and editorial interns
  • Hire editorial interns, liaise with writers and editorial assistant to ensure deadlines met
  • Review stories and make substantive edit
  • Liaise with CENS to ensure satisfaction with stories and to edit notes
  • Write headline, decks, pull quotes and cut lines
  • Meet with art director to plan design, assist when needed
  • Proof first and final designs
  • Publish stories to web with editorial intern
  • Contribute to social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)
  • Represent the Yards out in the community (broadcast media and community events)
  • Organize panel discussions and work with events manager to launch each issue

Time Commitment

Approximately 10 hours weekly. Because The Yards staff and volunteers work remotely through email, it is a requirement of the position that applicants are self-starters and can make themselves available for feedback, discussions and design changes via email at a relatively prompt speed.

Pay

Pay is negotiable and in flux, depending on the growth of The Yards online reporting.

Contact

Send your resume, cover letter and published articles to publisher Jarrett Campbell at publisher@theyardsyeg.ca, by Dec. 10, 2016.

Seven Ways to Meet Your Downtown Neighbours This Fall

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SEPT. 3, OCT. 1
Membership Table at the City Market Downtown
Come get your new 2016/17 memberships for $5 and get free access to the Don Wheaton YMCA Sunday afternoons. • (9am–3pm, 104th St. and Jasper Ave)

SEPT. 10
CornFest 2016
Drop by to renew your membership, grab some free corn-on-the-cob and check out the debut of our Urban Agricultural Fair! Balcony in Blooms winners will also be announced. (11am–3pm, Beaverhills House Park, 105 St. and Jasper Ave.)

SEPT. 28
Downtown Docs
The first of the film series, where we feature local films by local directors, feature’s Anti-Social Limited by Rosie Drensfeld, who’ll be in attendance. (7pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

OCT.7-9
Up + Downtown Music Festival @ DECL
We are proud to be a festival venue partner again this year. Concerts at DECL feature Jody Glenham and the Dreamers, Lucette and more. (Full festival details at updt.ca. DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

NOV. 17
Fall Regular General Meeting for Members
Here’s an opportunity for members to meet the board, ask questions and find out what’s going on in their community, plus hear from an insightful guest speaker. (7pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

MONDAYS STARTING SEPT. 12
Urban Kids Playgroup
Meet other parents and kids ages 0–5 Downtown. We’ve had so much interest, playground is now every Monday.  (10–11:30am, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

SEPT. 16, OCT. 21 AND NOV. 18
Urban Kids Family Night
Our monthly children’s game night is where kids—and parents—can play, explore and make friends in their neighbourhood. (6–8:30pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

A Wishlist of Improvements for Downtown Edmonton

imageThere is a lot of development and investment in Downtown to celebrate, but there is also still a lot undone. We need to keep looking critically at improving our city (especially our urban areas), as we’re coming from behind in many respects. With that in mind, here’s your league’s wish list for the heart of Edmonton:

1. Separated Bike Lanes: Councillor Scott McKeen and Stantec’s initiative to implement a “minimum grid” separated bike lanes pilot makes sense. While very few Edmontonians commute by bicycle, that, we believe, is because of lacking safe infrastructure. The pilot is actually quite a cheap project that’s had big returns in other cities, including ones with similar winters, like Calgary.

2. Better Streetscaping: While roads like 104 St. have been made more pedestrian and retail friendly, we have literal miles to go. The OCL fought against the status quo for the west side of Jasper Ave., but every central Edmonton street, especially right Downtown, deserves better. The City ought to budget this as a priority, not as an afterthought.

3. Clarifying the Urbanism Rules: Recent rejected “megabar” applications have raised the need for fine-tuning of our zoning bylaws. Sensitivity to Downtown’s mixed-use nature and the desire to continue to attract residents (including families!) means our high-density core needs clearer rules to prevent disruptive businesses from ruining the street for all of us. We love our nightlife, but at the right scale and in the right location.

4. Developing Surface Parking: Surface parking lots do nothing for Downtown vibrancy or community. Provincial rules about taxation do not encourage owners to build on empty lots. Edmonton and Calgary are lobbying to change the rules.

5. More Community Programming: We’re doing more events than ever. This year we’re proud to add the Balconies in Bloom awards (with an urban agriculture fair component), plus a mini film festival. Events are our way of connecting residents with new and returning community league members. If you have ideas and suggestions for future programming, we’d love to hear from you.

DECL board of directors: Chris Buyze (President), Ian O’Donnell (VP), Milap Petigara (Treasurer), Jillian Gamez (Secretary), Phil Anhorn, Erin Duebel, Yvonne Epp, Laurissa Kalinowsky, Christie Lutsiak, Alena Manera, Jarrett Mykytiuk, Chris Pilon and Scott Winder.

Email  DECL or visit its website for more information.

Making Our City More Vibrant for the Next Generation

imageThe construction is underway. It sometimes comes with headaches for drivers and aggravating detours for pedestrians.

The changes are long overdue and the investment to improve our Downtown—to turn it from an auto-focused daytime place to a 24/7 entertainment and residential enclave—are finally here. But the showy Downtown condos still only represent a small percentage of the residential growth in Edmonton. All core neighbourhoods—not just ours—have to do better jobs of encouraging residential infill, good urban design, pedestrian-oriented amenities and active transportation if our city is going to be vibrant and financially sustainable for the next generation.

This neighbourhood that we call home is improving slowly to meet the needs of residents. This June we celebrate the long-anticipated ground-breaking and construction of Alex Decoteau Park. This amenity is to support the thousands of residents who’ve made the “Warehouse Campus” home, who provided a catalyst for further residences in the area. The park is 10 years in the making, so we couldn’t be more excited.

Our community league continues to evolve to meet the needs of residents. Recently we welcomed our first families to our regular Urban Kids Playgroup. But as some things change, some stay the same: We’re hosting our annual Toonie Pancake Breakfast this June but with an added twist—a parking lot sale! Just another great way to support our community. We hope you enjoy this construction season. It won’t be one of the last.

Remembering Patrick Cardinal: “DJ Cardinal,” or Pat as he was known to friends, passed away this April after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Pat will always be known as a great supporter of DECL through his volunteerism as a board member (2010–2014), his help with events, his can-do attitude, and not to mention his good tunes. Pat was a radio industry guru who managed major stations across North America, including Power 92 in the 1990s. On the day before he died, Pat learned that he would be inducted into the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame on May 5.

DECL board of directors: Chris Buyze (President), Ian O’Donnell (VP), Milap Petigara (Treasurer), Jillian Gamez (Secretary), Phil Anhorn, Erin Duebel, Yvonne Epp, Laurissa Kalinowsky, Christie Lutsiak, Alena Manera, Jarrett Mykytiuk, Chris Pilon and Scott Winder.

Email DECL or visit its website for more information.

Seven Summer Events from Your Downtown Community League

Alex Decoteau Park Ground- Breaking Ceremony
JUN 10: Join Mayor Don Iveson, Coun. Scott McKeen, community members and descendants of Alex Decoteau for this milestone almost 10 years in the making. After the ceremony, stick around for activities and speakers on the park’s design. (1pm, 105 St. and 102 Ave.)

Urban Kids Board Game Night
JUN 17: Our monthly children’s board game night is where kids can play, explore and make friends in their neighbourhood. This is the last game night of the season until the fall.  (6–9pm, DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.)

Annual Toonie Pancake Breakfast and Parking Lot Sale
JUN 18: This year we’re adding a rummage sale, sponsored by Impark. It’s free to register for DECL members, $15 for everyone else. Proceeds support our programming efforts. Email info@decl.org. (Breakfast from 9–11am; Rummage sale 9am–2pm, Freemasons Hall, 10318 100 Ave.)

DECL at the City Market Downtown
AUG 13, SEPT 3, OCT  1: Pick up your $5 2016–2017 league membership from the DECL table at the outdoor market on select days. (9am–3pm, 4th Street Promenade)

Urban Kids Gardening
TUESDAYS (JUL & AUG): Show your little ones how to sow and grow, then busy them with pretty craft-making to adorn your home. (10am–11:30am, Urban Eden Community Garden, 9836 Bellamy Hill)

IMG_0277Urban Kids Playgroup
JUN 13, JUN 27, JUL 11, AUG 15, AUG 29: It’s where downtown children (0–5) play together and their caregivers meet. (10:30am, DECL Space, 10042 103 St.)

NEW! Summer Patio Pub Crawl
AUG 27: Get a taste of the Downtown Edmonton bar scene when neighbours gather at the hall, then sets out on a sun-soaked social adventure. (4–8pm, starts at DECL Space, 10042 103 St.)