Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Slocan Park notice board keeps community connected

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Local artists create a gorgeous salmon-shaped bulletin board with the help of a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation

BY ROB HOWATSON

This beautiful salmon-shaped bulletin board, hanging on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, is an invitation for neighbours to connect with each other.

This beautiful salmon-shaped bulletin board, hanging on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, is an invitation for neighbours to connect with each other. Photo courtesy of Rob Howatson

When it comes to community building, you can never have too many bulletin boards to help spread the word about upcoming neighbourhood events.

Problem is, aside from libraries and community centres, the city offers few legal spaces to display notices. There are about 200 or so municipality-approved poster cylinders – metal bands that wrap utility poles – located in the city, but they tend to be restricted to the busiest arterials. And, as the Vancouver Public Space Network points out in a letter to Mayor Robertson’s Engaged City Task Force, commercial poster companies quickly and repeatedly blanket these word rings with their paid advertising. This leaves little room for neighbours to tape up their block party invites.

Fortunately, some community-minded Renfrew-Collingwood residents have found a way to provide at least a little space for grassroots notices. Local artists Carmen Rosen and Suzo Hickey applied for a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation to create a gorgeous bulletin board shaped like a chum salmon. The functional art piece hangs on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, an effective location given its proximity to the busy 29th Avenue Skytrain station.

Suzo says they chose a fish shape for the piece in recognition of Still Creek that used to flow through Vancouver’s eastside until much of the waterway was culverted in the early 1900s. Sections of the creek still run on the surface in the Renfrew Ravine, near the Grandview Highway and in Burnaby. In 2012, a record number of chum found their way up the creek to spawn, despite the fact that until recently the creek was considered one of the most polluted streams in B.C. and little fish activity had been reported there in the past 50 years.

“This project was a great way to share local history with the neighbourhood,” says Suzo, “but more importantly we invited area residents to help decorate the notice board’s fishy frame with steel washers, copper washers and bottlecaps. And in doing so, we provided a  great opportunity for people to meet and share experiences, which I think is the best way to build community.”

The eye-catching bulletin board is managed by the Art House in the Field Collective, which uses the Slocan Park field house as studio space for visual art classes, costume design, music and photography.

Neighbourhood Small Grants Project – Application deadline April 7, 2014

Collingwood Neighbourhood House has once again partnered with South Vancouver Neighbourhood House to host the Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants project this year. Pairs or small groups of residents are encouraged to apply for a grant from $50 to $1,000 to improve your neighbourhood socially, culturally or physically!

Please go to vancouverfoundation.ca/nsg  for more information and to apply. All applicants are encouraged to apply online. If you cannot apply online, paper applications can be picked up at the Neighbourhood House beginning in March 2014. Online application opens on March 3, 2014. Application deadline is April 7. For further information contact Sheri Parke at sparke01@shaw.ca or reception at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 604-435-0323.

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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