Community groups hard at work

By: Andrew Swan, MLA for Minto

As published in The Metro

May 12th 2015

MLA Andrew Swan, MP Pat Martin and community members participate in this year’s Spring Clean Up, organized by the Daniel MacIntyre/St. Matthews Community Association.

The West End has many vibrant communities. Some of our most exciting neighbourhoods are Daniel McIntyre, St. Matthews and Spence. In part, this is due to the community organizations that work in those areas.

The Daniel McIntyre/St. Matthews Community Association (DMSMCA), which covers the area from Ingersoll to Victor and Portage to Notre Dame, and the Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA), includes Agnes to Balmoral and Portage to Notre Dame.

The DMSMCA and SNA were established by community members wanting to renew and revitalize their neighbourhoods. The provincial government provides core and program funding to these community organizations through the Neighbourhoods Alive! Program. These two organizations have played a big part in making the West End a cleaner, safer and more exciting place to live and work.

The key to their success is community participation: people who live in the catchment areas set the goals and priorities for the organizations and volunteer board members guide the organizations. Those same board members and volunteers, together with staff, organize events throughout the year that allow residents to share their skills with the neighbourhood. Examples, you ask? How about the annual West End Cleanup?

This year residents came out in record numbers to clean up our streets. April 25 turned out to be the perfect day for it — not too hot, not too cold — and the neighbourhood was successfully tidied up. We cleaned nearly every block and collected 75 bags of garbage!

Local residents also enjoy winter carnivals and summer festivals, workshops on gardening, home renovations and bike maintenance — all put on by these community organizations. The SNA’s now-famous Ellice Street Festival will take place again this year on June 5 and 6.

Each organization also helps local residents improve the appearance of their homes through their Exterior Fix-Up Grant. These can help with things like exterior painting, door replacement or veranda and eavestroughs repair. People in the DMSMCA area can apply before June 1. Spence residents have a May 20 application date.

Both organizations deliver local newsletters and you can also get more information online at dmsmca.ca and spenceneighbourhood.org