Community: A social group of people who are geographically located in the same area and have access to the resources in this area The way in which individuals in the same vicinity socialize, connect, and interact with each other
Hillside-Quadra Neighborhood in Victoria, B.C. Borders: Tolmie Street, Cook Street, Blanshard Street and Bay Street Population: 7,180 Ethnic origins (most commonly cited): English, Canadian, Scottish, Irish, German, French Aboriginal population: 7.1% Marital status: 47.9% single people 10% of the population is bilingual 45% of households earn incomes under 30,000/year
Housing 27.3% are single homes 58.6% are apartments 61% are rentals 39% owned In the heart of the community is a large low-income housing complex that provide 184 families with affordable housing. I have lived in this housing complex for the past 7 years.
Community Needs/Problems Map The following slides reflect the Hillside-Quadra neighborhood’s needs and problems
My information and sources My information and sources were gathered by going out into this community and talking to people who live in the neighborhood, local merchants, and community workers. I have chosen to respect their wishes to remain anonymous. I have also gathered my information through the experience of not only being a resident for the past 7 years in this neighborhood but of also frequenting this neighborhood and visiting friends for the past 25 years that I have lived in Victoria.
Unemployment and welfare recipients The Hillside –Quadra area is referred to by many people in the area (and in the city) as a “poor” neighborhood with many people unemployed and living on welfare In the low-income townhouse complex where I live known as Evergreen Terrace (previously Blanshard Courts) all families are working poor, living on welfare or disability, or are trying to survive on student loans as students. Many people in the area refer to our complex as “slum housing”
Domestic violence and broken familiesI was shocked by the number of women that I spoke with in the community who have experienced domestic violence and are single parents. The majority of these women were under the age of 30.According to one caretaker in the complex where I live, over 75% of the households are run by a single parent.Several women that I have known in this complex have had their children taken away by the Ministry of Children and Families.
Teens The Hillside-Quadra area has many teens that hang outside the community centre and all over the neighborhood. Many people in the community see the teenagers as “problems”. They see them smoking pot, drinking, getting into fights, and bullying people walking by. Some people I spoke with claim they are afraid to walk around the neighborhood at night for fear of being “attack” by the teens. Police cars frequently drive the streets at night to take care of this “problem”. Over 20 cameras were installed in the housing complex where I live to monitor the teens and other concerns. To prevent the teens from hanging around the old elementary school, the city’s bright idea was to take out the basketball courts.
Drug Abuse and Alcoholism The Hillside-Quadra neighborhood frequently has people “hanging out” or walking around that are visibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Occasionally, there are needles laying in the park or on the sidewalk. To deal with this problem the city workers “clean” the park several times a week. Many transients sit in the park and drink alcohol during the day and night. Seems they are not concerned with all the children playing and perhaps watching what they are doing. On many occasions I have left the park to take my children to another park because of this behaviour. The police asking them to leave and dumping out their alcohol does not seem to deter them from coming back.
Homelessness While observing, I notice there are a lot of homeless people walking around this neighborhood. Some push shopping carts with all their belongings inside of it. Many homeless people dig through the garbage cans looking for cans and other “treasures”. To solve this “problem” many local establishments put locks on the garbage bins in the hopes that these homeless people will move into another neighborhood. However, they just move to other areas in the neighborhood looking for food, cans, warm clothes and other items that people throw out.
Crime Many people, including myself, have had items stolen from our back or front yards. Most people put locks on their gates now. However, sometimes those are broken off. I talked to several people in the neighborhood who claim to have their townhouse, house, or apartment broken into. Many blame teenagers, others blame drug addicts, however, when asked if they actually KNOW who broke into their house all say “no!” In the housing complexes and apartments in the Hillside- Quadra area many people claim that because of criminal activity and unruly teens hanging out in the laundry rooms, most are closed around 4pm. This causes major problems for people who work after that hour and do not have a washer or dryer in their suite.
Slum Housing As noted earlier many buildings in this area are considered “slum housing.” This includes my complex. Many people complain of mold in their homes, mice, moths continuously in their food cupboards, things remaining unfixed, and rats outside. The housing management has done very little to address these complaints. They do however, constantly clean up and fix the outside buildings and surrounding areas so that they “appear” well kept.
Child Neglect One issue that has bothered some people in the community (myself included) is the fact that many parents are free to allow their young children to play outside by themselves or at night. It is not uncommon to see children as young as 3 or 4 to be running around in the parks by themselves or with equally young children. I find this disturbing, especially because of the number of successful and attempted abductions of children in the area (the most famous being Michael Dunahee several years ago). I have personally walked children home when they are very young and playing in the park right outside of my house. Most of the parents I have seen while doing this are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and do not seem concerned for their young children. I know of several parents who have been investigated by the Ministry of Children and Families on matters such as child neglect.
Poverty The Hillside-Quadra area is considered a “poor” neighborhood in comparison to many neighborhoods in Victoria. There are many consequences of poverty that are not addressed effectively in this area. Some of these consequences include unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, child neglect, homelessness, and broken families.
Interactive Walking Tour of Hillside Quadra Area from the Victoria Heritage Foundation Follow this link: http://www.victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/hillsidemap .html
Here is a link from the VictoriaHeritage Foundation on the manyArchitectural Styles in the area http://www.victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/hillsidefeat ures.html
Features The Hillside- Quadra neighborhood has many interesting features. At the heart of the neighborhood is “Quadra Village” which features a mix of retail stores, community services, and small office spaces. Quadra Village also features multiculturalism at its finest with Caribbean, Dutch, Indian, Greek, and Filipino stores and bakeries. The neighborhood also features the city’s only independent movie theatre, “The Roxy.” There are over 43 acres of parkland, including Summit Park, which showcases rare and protected Garry Oak trees (City of Victoria, p.1).
A bit of History an excerpt from “About Smith Hill” by the Victoria Heritage Foundation “The area east of Quadra Street and north of Hillside Avenue rises to the summit of Smith’s Hill, also known as The Rise, Work’s Rock and Summit Hill. The landscape was once covered in Garry Oak meadows except for the swampy land near Hillside and Quadra. This is part of the traditional territory of the Lekwungen speaking (Songhees) First Nations. They cultivated and harvested the meadows’ indigenous camas lily bulbs for a staple food source” (Victoria Heritage Foundation, p.1). Here is a link to more interesting info: http://www.victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/hillside- quadrabrochure.pdf
Some people may have the perspective that the Hillside-Quadra neighborhood is a slum, poverty stricken, with many problems. However, looking at this area from a positive perspective, there is much to share about this interesting and vibrant community!
Community Assets Map This map will show the many features, resources, and community connections for the people who reside in and outside of this area of Greater Victoria.
Low income housing complexphoto credit: Ginger Green
The many community resources inthe Hillside-Quadra area The following link is to the Hillside-Quadra community newspaper article that expresses that the area of Hillside- Quadra has an abundant amount of community resources such as Blanshard Community Centre, Citizen’s Counselling, BC Schizophrenia Society, Parent Support Services, Salvation Army, Alzheimer’s Society, and Inter- Cultural Association. Note: although this article is from 2007, all the associations still exist in the neighborhood and the community newspaper still circulates monthly. http://www.blanshardcc.com/files/2007-HQN-Spring.pdf
Primary Building Blocks The Wark Street Commons Community Garden Project is a run by volunteers in the community in partnership with the Blanshard Community Centre. I take my children to this park everyday. The community garden has fruit, veggies, herbs, and edible flowers for whomever would like to enjoy them. The volunteers include youth, elderly people, low-income citizens, and people from all walks of life and all nationalities.
Wark Street Community Gardenphoto credit: Ginger Green
Wark Street Community GardenPhoto credit: Ginger Green
The following is a link to thecommunity garden project http://www.blanshardcc.com/commgarden/index.ht ml
Quadra Village Days pamphlet taken from: http://www.blanshardcc.com/qvd/ QUADRA VILLAGE DAY "BEE" A PART OF QUADRA VILLAGE DAY! Building and Celebrating Our Thriving Community Mark your Calendars: SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2012 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Check back later for information on this years activities and entertainment. In the meantime, why not take a look at some images from Quadra Village Day 2011. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Volunteers Needed There are lots of ways to be involved. Do you have a cheerful, outgoing & helpful attitude? Are you someone who can work with people of all ages? We particularly want to hear from you. 1. We need people on the day of the event for: Decorating Committee Painting Crafting Set up & take down (requires strength & agility to handle tents, tables & chairs) Recycling & Garbage Maintenance Helium Balloons General Food Handling 2. The Quadra Village Day Planning Committee also has an opening for a Marketing Assistant to help our PR and Communications volunteer. This opportunity is suitable for a senior high school student or other community member with an interest in marketing and communications. The Marketing Assistants role will be to provide administrative support with web postings, email, and public service and media announcements. Duties will be negotiated based on experience and time available. Be part of an inclusive, family-friendly event and help build community while learning more about the role public relations and marketing play in successful event planning. 3. Do you have experience with music and dance events? The Quadra Village Day Planning Committee has an opening for a Community Stage Co-ordinator. In this position you will work together with our Main Stage Co-ordinator, and community dance and music groups, to schedule entertainment for the Community Stage at Quadra Village Day. This opportunity is suitable for an individual who is comfortable working with diverse community groups, and has knowledge of the technical requirements involved in staging entertainment. (Note to high school students: volunteer hours contributed to this event will count for your graduation credits.) CONTACT US: Quadra Village Day Planning Committee c/o Blanshard Community Centre 901 Kings Rd. Victoria 250-388-7696 email@example.com --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quadra Village Days Quadra Village Days is celebrated every year in the Hillside- Quadra neighborhood. There is music, food, and entertainment. There is lots of things for children and adults to do. It is a celebration for everyone living in the neighborhood to come out, socialize, and be proud of our community.
Communications Another primary building block is the Hillside-Quadra community newspaper that is circulated every month. This newspaper is in direct association with the Blanshard Community Centre.
Blanshard Community CentrePhoto credit: Ginger Green
Blanshard Community Centre The following is a direct link to the Blanshard Community Centre’s website http://www.blanshardcc.com/
Blanshard Community Centre The Blanshard Community Centre offers so many community resources. There is a seniors group, youth and family workers, youth and family counsellors, best babies programs, a nurse for immunization, adult coffee groups, free bread, internet access, a clothing exchange, weekly hot and affordable lunches, out of school care, a daycare for young children, parent and tot drop in groups, family games night, a woman’s support group, and effective parenting groups. This community centre supports, empowers, and helps so many people in this neighborhood.
Secondary Building Blocks These building blocks would include assets in this neighborhood that are located within the community but are mostly controlled by outsiders (McKnight, J., Kretzmann, J.).
CDI Community CollegePhoto Credit: Ginger Green
Other secondary building blocks would include local public schools and social service agencies such as Citizen’s Counselling, the Schizophrenia Society, and the Umbrella Society.
Wark Street Commons ParkPhoto Credit: Ginger Green
Potential Building Blocks The following is a link to an example of potential building blocks. It is a link to the “City Planning Division of Victoria, BC” and it is the Hillside-Quadra Neighborhood Plan that includes topics, maps, and graphics on areas such as housing, land use, commercial use, social planning, parks/open spaces, public works, and the implementation of the plan. http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Planning ~Development/Development~Services/Documents/ne ighbourhoods-hillside-quadra-plan.pdf
As you can see there are many ways to view a neighborhood. One can stand from a point of view that relies heavily on what is wrong with the neighborhood and what we should do about all the “problems” or one can see all the positive assets a neighborhood has. I choose to view my neighborhood as a beautiful place full of resources, diversity, and acceptance.
References City of Victoria. Hillside Quadra. Retrieved from http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/community/about/n eighbourhoods/hillside-quadra.html McKnight, J. L., Kretzmann, J. P. (1996). Mapping Community Capacity. Retrieved from http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/paper s/mcc.pdf Victoria Heritage Foundation. Hillside-Quadra Heritage Walking Tour No. 1. Retrieved from http://www.victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/hillside- quadrabrochure.pdf