Bridgeland’s President’s Message for July

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by Alex MacWilliam

In early June, BRCA Heritage Director Deb Lee and I led a group of elected officials and senior municipal managers from across Canada on a tour through part of Bridgeland. They were part of 3,100 attendees at the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) which was being held in Calgary for the first time in several decades. The City of Calgary, as host of the FCM conference, had organized a series of workshops and study tours to allow attendees to visit various parts of the City and the BRCA was asked to lead a portion of a three-hour tour that commenced at the Silvera seniors’ residence and finished at the now empty Bridgeland Place affordable housing project. Our portion of the tour started at the Community Hall, went around Murdoch Park and terminated at the top of the stairs at the end of 7A Street. Our presentation included a history of Bridgeland-Riverside, the impact of the loss of the Calgary General Hospital, the CGH Commemoration Project, the redevelopment of the Bridges area, the structure and role of the BRCA, the role that Murdoch Park plays in the community, and the challenges and opportunities created by Transit Oriented Development.

We appreciated the opportunity provided by the City to show off our community to municipal leaders from across the country. I was struck by the number of positive comments we received during the tour, as participants praised the level of volunteerism we described in our various projects and said they wished they could get their residents to be similarly engaged. They were impressed by our community engagement project with the Calgary Police Service and the many features of Murdoch Park. One attendee from a large Ontario city even told me he could not believe how “quiet” our neighbourhood is. As the group boarded the bus to head to their next event, a number of them told me I was lucky to live in such a wonderful, dynamic neighbourhood.

I shared this story with the community members who attended our BRCA Annual General Meeting the following week. I am pleased to report that all twelve Directors agreed to remain on the Board for another term and will continue their great work on behalf of the community. I am very fortunate to be joined on the Board by such an amazing group of volunteers, each of whom has made, and will continue to make, significant contributions to our community. Our Membership/Volunteer Director Sarah MacDonald reported at the AGM that, over the past year, an estimated 365 volunteers contributed almost 7,000 hours to the community in support of our various programs and projects. The BRCA would not be able to function without this incredible level of engagement from our residents. Thank you all for your efforts and I encourage everyone to join in and continue to make our neighbourhood a great place to live, work, and play.

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