* Originally published in The Lance on May 15, 2019 *
With Fern Kirouac and Chris Chipman, Chair of the Niakwa Park Residents’ Association
Every neighbourhood in Saint Boniface – Saint Vital is unique. They all have different needs and challenges to be met. That is why residents’ associations play such a vital role in building our communities.
Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament and City Councillor, I was President of the Old St. Boniface Residents’ Association. I understand the impact that these groups can have in shaping a community and being the voice of those who live there.
Saint Boniface – Saint Vital is well served by a large number of residents’ associations in Sage Creek, Island Lakes, Southland Park, Niakwa Park, South St. Boniface, and Old St. Boniface. Last week, a new neighbourhood group was established thanks to some engaged residents: the Norwood Flats Residents’ Association.
Residents’ associations are volunteer-led and community-driven, advocating for the services and infrastructure that is required to meet the needs of their area. Often partnering with other volunteer groups like school Parent Advisory Councils and local community centres, residents associations organize events such as movie nights, BBQs, charity runs, community clean-ups, information evenings and newsletters.
These volunteers also keep elected representatives at all levels up-to-date on the vision and priorities for their neighbourhood. Their advocacy has led to new infrastructure, such as playgrounds, splash pads, pool upgrades, walkways and other important community spaces.
I look forward to continuing to work with you and thank all the volunteers for their countless hours dedicated to bettering our communities.