What makes a community? Is it just a name for a group of houses all in one area? Is it the shared facilities and services?
Really, it’s the connections between people that make a community hang together. Community associations — groups of neighbours who join together to make their part of Kamloops better — are a barometer of just how strong those connections are.
Kamloops is blessed to have a dozen community associations representing neighbourhoods from Aberdeen to Westsyde. But as you read this past week in The Daily News, it’s not easy keeping them running. The Juniper Ridge Community Association is in jeopardy of losing its status under the Societies Act after failing to get a quorum — that’s 15 residents — at its annual general meeting last week.
People may value what community associations do, but may be ignorant of how they function — and the fact is, like Juniper Ridge, they need participants, sometimes just to show up and vote.
Without those votes, and proper society status, Juniper Ridge will have trouble maintaining its annual community garage sale, Halloween fireworks and maintaining their local ice surface. They also risk losing an established voice with the City on community related issues like a dog park and traffic speeds through the community.
While Juniper’s troubles are in the news now, we suspect they may ring true for many of the other community associations in Kamloops.
Volunteer groups of all stripes often see the heavy lifting done by a small dedicated group.
Thankfully, these groups don’t stand alone. The City of Kamloops supports community associations by posting links to groups through the City website and in the biannual recreation guide (find the full list of community associations at www.kamloops.ca/socialdevelopment/ca-directory.shtml) and even offers grants for neighbourhood-driven projects organized by community groups.
Kamloops has all the pieces of the puzzle — a full network of community associations and a City committed to supporting them.
But none of that matters if the community doesn’t show up.
This Thanksgiving weekend, as you enjoy time in your community with your family and friends, be thankful for your community as well — and maybe look into what you can do to help your local community association.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.