Monday, May 12, 2014

First Signs of Conflict in East Village

Homeless are spending time
on the RiverWalk
Pathway users are now common in EV
East Village was mostly known for the population of homeless; that is due to the existence of the Drop-In Centre, which is located within the neighbourhood. However, with the rejuvenation project sparking new life into the community more and more people are being drawn to EV, to use the pathway and enjoy the river.

Misuse of chairs - it was not intended for sleep
But ever since the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation first commenced the redevelopment of East Village, people have been waiting to see how the interaction between the neighbourhood's old and new residents will manifest itself. Recently the first toll of this potential conflict was taken, with the locking of the public washrooms and the removal of the green lounge chairs, due to "misuse".

Where the chairs used to be...
Original design; lasted for
approx.2.5 years

Currently there seems to be a debate whether that was a good decision, a moral decision or a bad decision. On the one hand CMLC's Susan Veres said that "...after what we've watched and observed, our intentions were clearly different than how these facilities are being used right now"; on the other hand there are Deb Newman and John Schmal. Schmal, who sits on the Board of Directors at the Centre, said that "They have to come together... the people who are moving in need to know that they have (the Centre) as a neighbour", while Newman, an executive director with the D.I, commented that "The intention of theses public facilities was that it would be for the use of all members of this community".

Cyclist against the empty space where
the green lounge chairs once were
Washroom will ONLY be open
during public events
According to Const. Jeff Dyck, community resource officer for the DT area, members of the public phoned the police, concerned about the use of drugs in these public amenities. Dyck said that police "have found certain drug paraphernalia there." However, he also emphasized that every case is different; that if a homeless is staying on a chair for a lengthy period, or spreading all their assets on the pathway, police will attend - treating each circumstance as unique.

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