Best in Class

THIS ISSUE OF THE YARDS celebrates what makes central Edmonton an outstanding place to live, work and play. But while we applaud what already makes our community great, the Oliver Community League (OCL) also works to create public and private development that will better serve our neighbourhood in the future.

Here are just a few of our successes.

In 2014, when city administration published its recommended capital budget projects for the following four years, Jasper Avenue was only scheduled to be repaved. The OCL immediately organized a team to explain to City Council the importance of consulting with Oliver residents to create a new design for Jasper Avenue. Council unanimously voted in favour of OCL’s recommended approach. In late 2015, the Imagine Jasper Avenue consultation initiative launched. And this summer, the city rolled out a first-of-its-kind, four-month installation on the avenue, piloting some of the proposed design features.

On the private side of things, our league continues to work to be nimble and agile negotiators, while maintaining our standards for process and good governance. While there are some land re-zonings in Oliver that are not best in class, there are nonetheless examples of developers improving design based on OCL recommendations. I’m happy to recommend these developers for working in partnership with our community.

For example, in 2016, Devonshire Properties proposed a site-specific re-zoning for a 14-storey tower on 118 Street, north of Jasper Avenue. The original design was typical of apartment buildings in Oliver — a single entrance on the main level and nothing else. The OCL Civics Committee asked the developer to consider adding townhouses on the main floor to improve street engagement, and also bolster housing choice in Oliver.

I was pleased with the developer’s reception of this feedback. Devonshire incorporated our requests into its design.

In the coming months, the OCL will draw on these experiences as we begin negotiations with Abbey Lane Homes and city administration over a proposal for the St. John’s School Site, south of Peace Garden Park. We will be pushing for maximum benefit to all residents of our neighbourhood.

When it comes to development, some communities have a reputation for opposing all of it. In Oliver, we do not do this. Instead, we have found it is more helpful to push for smart development that will better serve the community in the future rather than simply say no.

Lisa Brown
President, Oliver Community League

OCL Winter Events

JANUARY 19, FEBRUARY 16, STARTS AT 8 PM
Walking Pub Crawl

Meet with new and old friends at the hall every month before walking to pre-determined locations to enjoy Oliver nightlife. Meet in Oliver Park (between 104 Avenue and 103 Avenue, 118 and 119 streets) by the playground. No pub crawl in December.

DECEMBER 11, JANUARY 8, FEBRUARY 12, 7 PM
Civics Committee

This fully engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. Grace Lutheran Church. 9907 114 Street, enter by grey door on the east side.

JANUARY 17
Make Something Oliver Idea Incubator

Come help us dream up projects for our Oliver-building project.
6pm – 8pm, Brewsters, 11620 104 Avenue.

 

OCL Fall Events

SEPTEMBER 15, OCTOBER 20, 18
NOVEMBER 17
Walking Pub Crawl
Meet with friends new and old, and walk
to pre-determined pub location to enjoy
the Oliver nightlife. Starts at 8 pm, meet in
Oliver Park by the playground. (note: no
pub crawl in December).

SEPTEMBER 28
Municipal Election Forum
Ward 6 forum runs from 7-9 pm.
St. Joseph Catholic High School,
10830 – 109 Street.

NOVEMBER 18
Holiday Craft Market
Get your holiday shopping done in one place
and have league volunteers wrap your gifts in
exchange for donation to our hall redevelop-
ment. 9am-2pm, Location to be announced.

NOVEMBER 25
Holiday Potluck
Bring your favourite holiday dish and join
friends and neighbours for a hearty meal.
Eating together is a wonderful way to build
community and celebrate the season. Runs
5-8 pm at Grace Lutheran Church gymnasium,
at 9907 – 114 Street.

SEPTEMBER 11, OCTOBER 10*, 
NOVEMBER 13, DECEMBER 11
Civics Committee
This highly engaged committee meets on the
second Monday of the month to discuss develop-
ments in Oliver. Runs from 7 pm. Grace Lutheran
Church social room, at 9907-114 Street (enter by
east grey door).*changed to Tuesday for October.

SEPTEMBER 20, OCTOBER 18, 
NOVEMBER 15, DECEMBER 20
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the committee
for you. Runs at 6:00 pm, Nosh Cafe, 10235
124 Street.

My Journey to YIMBY

The first time I heard ‘Yes in my backyard’ was at a workshop for the proposed rezoning of the Molson Brewery site. It was 2013. I had just moved back to Edmonton from eight months in the United Kingdom, where I had fallen in love with narrow roads, centuries-old buildings and the pubculture. But within a few weeks of being home, the Oliver Community League hosted a workshop in response to the Molson Brewery proposal, which was essentially a higher-end suburban strip mall.

The workshop catalyzed OCL’s strategic plan, as the 60-plus attendees determined what we value in Oliver. Little surprise, then, that at the City of Edmonton’s public meeting for the Molson site proposal, hosted a couple months later, resident after resident stood up and rather than saying “No,” instead asked the developer for more. Some literally said “Yes in my backyard.”

“Give us mixed use development,” some said.

“We’re fine with high-rises — this is the perfect site for them,” others said.

“Give us less parking, we actually don’t want surface parking lots at all,” some said.

“Give us high quality pedestrian access and amenities. Give us buildings that face both the Oliver and Queen Mary Park communities. Give us a development that allows better connection between the two neighbour- hoods,” many said.

They said yes.
Then those with power said no.
The Brewery District officially opened more than a year ago and new businesses continue to open there. But while we are thrilled to have another grocery store in our midst, for me the development falls short, for all the reasons I’ve just discussed. The Oliver Community League certainly welcomes all of the businesses into our community and we wish them every success.

It represents a missed opportunity. The community’s vision for this significant development was shared, and ignored. Having the community stand up and ask for more, ask for the envelope to be pushed, even ask for more density and less parking, was unique. And was ignored.

Still, while saying “Yes in my backyard” did not produce the results we were looking for, this time, that Oliver spoke of what it wanted in unison started something. Residents have become more active in shaping the change in their community. And yes, that’s exactly what OCL wants to foster in our backyard.

Lisa Brown

President, Oliver Community League

Age restrictions a human rights issue

When I became president of the Oliver Community League in 2015, I met some folks that had searched for months for a home in Oliver appropriate for a family. This shocked me. Before I became OCL president, I spent about a year living in the UK, where multi-unit residential housing catering to all ages is standard. I’d assumed the same is true in Oliver. It isn’t.

One father of two young children told me his family aggressively searched for a home for six months. They were moving to Edmonton from eastern Canada and Eastern Europe, to be close to their family, who lived in Oliver. They wanted to be close to work and only need one vehicle. Eventually they found a townhouse they renovated extensively to fit enough bedrooms for their kids.

Another looked for two years for a home in Oliver big enough to start a family. But just prior to putting an offer on a three-bedroom apartment condominium in Grandin, their realtor discovered the building had anti-child age restrictions. They too eventually bought a townhouse.

My partner and I like to be prepared.

After hearing these stories, we decided to look for our “forever” home in Oliver. We saw handful of units, in buildings a short walk to Oliver or Grandin schools and large enough for a small family. All were age-restricted. We’ve now left the searching to a realtor. We’ve been looking now for almost a year.

Age restrictions create barriers to diversity and inclusion in our core neighbourhoods. Not everyone can afford the time, money for car maintenance or the stress of owning a detached house to live in the suburbs — where Edmonton tells you you’re supposed to raise a family.

Because these barriers restrict choice, age restrictions for housing is a human rights issue, and not just a preferred living style. I just hope that a shift in provincial legislation in the next year will make that decision more feasible.

 

Lisa Brown

President, Oliver Community League

OCL Summer Events

You may have noticed construction at
our hall. The OCL board is evaluating
the condition of the hall and will be
reaching out soon. Event locations will
be changed and are TBD right now.
Please stay tuned for more information.

JUNE 18
Ollie’s Treehouse Inclusive Playgroup
Your little ones will have fun at the hall
with our toys, books and activities while
you hang with other parents. 4-6pm, 
location TBD. No playgroup July and August. 

JUNE 16
Walking Pub Crawl
Meet with new and old friends at the
hall every month, before walking to pre-
determined locations to enjoy Oliver
nightlife. 8pm, location TBD. No pub crawl
July and August. 

MAY 3-JUNE 14 (WEDNESDAYS)
Walking Group
Join your neighbours for some fresh air and
exercise. This is a gentle approach to walking,
with the focus on enjoying ourselves and
meeting neighbours. 6pm, location TBD. 

JULY 1
Canada Day Pancake Breakfast
Get your Canada Day celebrations started
with our traditional and annual Pancake
Breakfast. Join neighbours for pancakes,
coffee, fruit and good conversation. Breakfast 
is free. From 9-11am, location TBD. 

JUNE 12, JULY 10, AUGUST 14
Civics Committee
This fully engaged committee meets on
the second Monday of the month to discuss
developments in Oliver. 7pm, location TBD. 

JUNE 21, JULY 19, AUGUST 16
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the
committee for you. 6:30pm, location TBD.

*Note, we enjoy holidays in August
and look forward to returning to
regular programs and special events
in September. Save the date: September
16 is Community League Day.

OCL Spring Events

TUESDAYS
Drop-In Basketball
Enjoy a pickup game or just shoot some hoops at this regular basketball drop-in open to the Oliver community.  7–9 pm, Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 St.

MAR. 4
Community Potluck
Bring your fave food dish to share with friends and neighbours. This is a licensed event, but of course, children are welcome. 5–8pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 13, APR. 10, MAY. 8
Civics Committee
This fully engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. 7 pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 19, APR. 16, MAY 21
Ollie’s Treehouse
Inclusive Playgroup – Your little ones will have fun at the hall with our toys, books and activities while you hang with other parents. 4–6pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 15, APR. 19, MAY 17
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the
committee for you. 6:30pm, Oliver
Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 10, APR. 21, MAY 19
Walking Pub Crawl
Meet with new and old friends at the hall
every month, before walking to pre-determined
locations to enjoy the Oliver nightlife.
8pm, meet at the Oliver Community Hall,
10326 118 St.

APRIL 19
Annual General Meeting
Review financials, vote in new directors,
learn more about OCL and what we’re up
to. Mix and mingle with neighbours. 6pm
registration, 7pm start, Oliver Community Hall,
10326-118 St.

WEDNESDAYS, MAY 3-JUNE 14
Walking Group
Join your neighbours for some fresh air and
exercise. This is a gentle approach to walking
with a focus on enjoyment and meeting neighbours.
6pm, meet at the Oliver Community
Hall, 10326-118 St.

JUNE 10
Rummage Sale
Find trinkets and treasures at our Third
Annual Rummage Sale. 9:30am–2:30pm,
Oliver Community Hall, 10326-118 St.

OCL Winter Events

Logo DEC. 3, MAR. 4
Community Potlucks
Celebrate the Holiday Season at the hall—then again in the spring—with a community potluck. Bring your favourite holiday food dish to share with friends and neighbours. These are licensed events but, of course, children are welcome. 5–8pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

TUESDAYS (WINTER)
Drop-In Basketball
Enjoy a pickup game, or just shoot some hoops, at this regular drop-in basketball event open to the whole community. 7–9 pm, Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 St.

DEC. 12, JAN. 9, FEB. 13
Civics Committee
This fully engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. 7pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

DEC. 18, JAN. 15, FEB. 19
Ollie’s Treehouse Inclusive Playgroup
Your little ones will have fun at the hall with our toys, books and activities while you hang with other parents. 4–6pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

DEC. 21, JAN. 18, FEB.15
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the committee for you. 6:30pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

JAN. 20, FEB. 17, MAR. 10
Walking Pub Crawl
Meet with new and old friends at the hall every month, before walking to pre-determined locations to enjoy the Oliver nightlife. 8pm, starts at Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

Reflecting on a Busy Year—and the One Ahead

As another year draws to a close, the Oliver Community League is reflecting on its successes and challenges in 2016. This year, the OCL created the Hall Redevelopment Committee and Social Advocacy Committee to further the goals of our strategic plan. The addition of new events like the Summer Social, Halloween in Oliver and quarterly potlucks provided even more chances for neighbours to meet neighbours.

This year also saw our second anniversary of The Yards magazine. In 2014, our League initiated the creation of The Yards in collaboration with DECL and the Central Edmonton News Society (CENS). Both leagues have seats on the CENS board and help steer the content of the magazine. Add in the non-resident readers who find it in area businesses, and we have well over 30,000 readers each issue. That’s 30,000 people who read about Oliver and the fine work being done by our League to create a neighbourly, sustainable, well-developed community.

Where will 2017 bring us? In the past two years the League has held larger events (like Canada Day and Community League Day) and regular smaller events (like pub crawls and library afternoons). Next year will bring more opportunities to meet at events and programs designed to attract the variety of our demographic.

Social advocacy will gain a footing for the League in 2017, with plans to see how we can assist organizations and agencies in meeting the needs of our more isolated residents.

The Hall Redevelopment Committee will continue to make strides with public engagement and a “needs assessment.”

Planning and development will remain in our lens as we help shape the visual identity and social integrity of Oliver with recommendations on changes to our community, both on public and private land.

In a word, we will be busy. The commitment of the many volunteers who give time and energy to the League is astounding. Together we can create a model community that showcases positive urbanism, neighbourliness and cohesion.

Five Ways to Meet Your Oliver Neighbours

hall2

SEPT 12, OCT 10, NOV 14
Civics Committee
This fully engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. (7pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)

SEPT 17
Oliver Community League Day presented by Planet Organic (Jasper Ave.)
Join the league as we celebrate Community League Day. We’re delighted to have our proud event sponsor and partner, Planet Organic (Jasper Ave.) onsite with snacks. Members of all ages are welcome as the Edmonton Public Library kicks off the day with MakerSpace tools. Or try your hand (and whole body) at bubble soccer! A beer garden and barbecue in our beautiful park round out the day. (Starts 2pm; beer garden and barbecue at 5pm, Oliver Park, 10326 118 St.)

SEPT 18, OCT 16, NOV 20
Ollie’s Treehouse Inclusive Playgroup
Come let your little ones run around the hall and play with friends. Held every third Sunday, Ollie’s is a great place to meet other parents and make new friends. (4pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)

SEPT 21, OCT 19, NOV 16
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the committee for you. (6:30pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)

SEPT 23, OCT 21, NOV 18
Walking Pub Crawl of Oliver
Meet with new and old friends at the hall every month, before walking to pre-determined locations to enjoy the Oliver nightlife. (8pm, starts at Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.)