Calgarians ponder Downtown Commercial Core community association

·2 min read
This map shows the area of the downtown Calgary that is not a part of any of the city's 150 community associations. (Photo submitted by Paul Fairie - image credit)
This map shows the area of the downtown Calgary that is not a part of any of the city's 150 community associations. (Photo submitted by Paul Fairie - image credit)

Calgary has about 150 community associations, but there isn't one in the heart of the downtown core and some residents of the area want to see that changed.

The area in question, dubbed the Downtown Commercial Core, spans from Ninth Street S.W. to Third Street S.E. and from the CPR train tracks south of Ninth Avenue S.W. north to Third Avenue S.W.

Paul Fairie, a senior research associate in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary is starting the conversation about creating a community association with some of his neighbours to see if there's interest.

He says about 8,500 people live in the downtown core, he among them.

He describes the community as "diverse" group who mainly rent, made up of new Canadians, younger people and 1,000 kids.

"I'm not jumping into this with a terribly pre-defined notion of where I want to get to, other than reaching out to neighbours in the community," said Fairie.

Missing out

He says there are potential benefits, like helping people organize and get involved with activities. It would also create the organizational structure to advocate on behalf of community interests.

"We're basically just missing out on all sorts of these activities," he said.

"If no one starts it, it won't exist. So, it seems like a good time to gauge the room and see if there's interest in downtown in forming something like this."

Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley, who represents a portion of downtown, says there would be benefits in joining an association.

"There's been a long conversation over the last number of years around consolidation of downtown-area community associations into kind of a larger downtown community association, the benefits of which would be sharing resources and time and energy and a lot of similar issues," said Woolley.

Fairie says if there is interest, volunteers would have to determine if a standalone association is needed in that area of downtown or if the area should join a nearby community association, like Downtown West or Eau Claire.

"We almost kind of need local champions in each area," he said, because of the way apartment buildings are spread out in the core.

In order to set up a community association, it must be registered as a society through the Alberta government and be established officially by the Federation of Calgary Communities.

Right now, Fairie is gauging interest in the idea by first creating a working group of residents through an online form. He hopes to gather a few dozen interested community members to get the idea off the ground.