Friday, October 30, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
This is the board that the City of Sudbury makes available for community posters, announcements and flyers in City Hall.
No other postering is allowed in the building. Population 165,000.
And they wonder why they have low citizen engagement? Maybe that's what they want?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
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It is with deep regret and frustration that we submit this letter to the City of Greater Sudbury. For the past two and a half years, Myths and Mirrors Community Arts has been actively involved in the Donovan Elm West Community Action Network, which has seen an impressive increase in the participation of residents, business owners, and youth in our neighborhoods. We are involved because we believe in the importance of the Community Action Network and of the need for the community to engage in community decision-making around issues that affect the neighborhood.
For the past year, we have also worked actively with other members of the Community Action Network to increase youth participation and address some of the issues of concern to the residents, particularly in the area of Heritage Park. We have come to understand that the issues there are complex and will require an extensive commitment from all involved to address them in ways that build community rather than destroy it.
As a result of our work with other members of the Donovan, and with the support of the Community Action Network and of Councilor Evelyn Dutrisac, our four summer students mobilized the youth at Heritage Park to paint a mural on the façade wall, a façade which in the past had been a focal point of contention among the neighbors. Our summer students observed all kinds of problems in the neighborhood, but despite these, were able to facilitate a discussion with the youth about the park and what it meant to them, and led them through a collective process to identify the theme of the mural. The youth painted images of peace and respect, and dedicated the mural to Adam Dickey, a youth who drowned in Junction Creek, but who also saw Heritage Park as a space to hang out with his friends.
Overall, the time of five of our staff, plus a considerable amount of our financial resources went into the production of the mural at Heritage Park. ( Here is a link to our online photo gallery of the summer project:
It is therefore with shock and disappointment that we write this letter. We found out that the façade was destroyed on Monday, September 28th in the afternoon, from one of our volunteers who lives close to Heritage Park and happened to go by it on her way to work. No one from the City informed us that this was going to take place, nor did they consult with us as to what to do with the artwork that was dismantled. And finally, no one seemed to care that it was a group of youth, who face all kinds of barriers to community engagement, who worked so hard on painting that mural.
While we understand that Heritage Park is City property, the fact remains that Myths and Mirrors and dozens of neighborhood youth were partners with the City in this initiative, and at the very least, we all should have been consulted about how to dispose of their artwork. But we have other questions:
1. Why would the City provide financial and in-kind support to a project if it was going to be dismantled two months later?
2. What is the point of engaging marginalized youth in a community engagement process that will only serve to disempower them even more?
3. Is this how the City plans to address social problems in all areas of Greater Sudbury, or is destroying parks a tactic reserved only for the Donovan?
This letter is in response to the Heritage Park Razing. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Tanya Ball and the youth at Myths and Mirrors who work tirelessly to promote youth events and civic engagement in the community. Having worked with Tanya and Myths and Mirrors on previous projects I know the good they do in the community and the importance of engaging youth in their communities.
I must say that having read that Councillor Evelyn Dutrisac ordered the city to destroy the buildings on site at Heritage Park is very disheartening and shocking. Destroying these buildings does not deal with the real issues that have been raised such as drinking, drug use etc. It is important that these youth be supported in their efforts and have meaningful projects that they can be engaged in and have a place to hang out which indirectly addresses the concerns that have been raised. By destroying these buildings we have destroyed the dreams and efforts of these youth who have worked hard to make inroads in the Donovan community through their participation in the Community Action Network.... Read more
When will our city deal with the real issues surrounding the use the drugs and alcohol in public spaces, lack of youth engagement, lack and recreational facilities etc? Tearing down buildings, putting up fences, creating roadblocks is not leadership and does not deal with the real issues which will still exist.
Its time some city councillors and staff take a step back and look at the big picture vision of what Sudbury can be by engaging youth in their community and not campaigning to win votes in the next election which is narrow minded and demonstrates a lack of vision and long term planning. We sit back and say youth don't vote and youth aren't engaged in their community but yet we continue to do things that force youth to become disengaged and have their dreams and efforts destroyed then wonder why they do not vote.
Councillor Dutrisac should take a lesson from Councillor Landry-Altmann whom I have had to pleasure to work with on many park projects. Landry-Altmann has faced similar challenges in her ward. During her term thus far Percy Park, Red Fern, and Ridgecrest have been revitalized and become community gathering spaces serving the unique characteristics of their respective neighbourhoods. Another great example is the green stairs at Ste. Anne Road which now has a park like atmosphere with new shrubs, sculptures, and green space. We did not tear down the green stairs and parks when there were similar issues.
Enough is enough. We must move forward as a city and address the real issues. Programs such as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) by Sudbury Police provide the tools and resources to deal with these issues in Heritage Park without destroying the park and hopes and dreams of the area's youth who will be our next leaders.