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More on Art Bins

Special ‘art bins’ help deal with litter woes in south-end neighbourhood

Abuse threatens the innovative community-led solution that has helped brighten up neighbourhoods

Robert Barron, The Daily News

Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Click on title to read the whole article.

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The steady proliferation of brightly coloured art bins throughout our neighborhood has been a joy to behold. Currently there are upward of 30 bins spread throughout the neighborhood and beyond. The bins have brought some much needed color and vibrancy to the neighborhood as well as making a huge difference to what was once a chronic litter problem in the south end. Recently a number of “art bin minders” , (those of us who host the bins and regularly empty the trash) have been troubled by the tendency of some residents to misuse the bins for regular household garbage, cat litter and other unwanted trash. One or two have even removed their bins from circulation, and others are considering doing likewise. This is an Art Bin rallying call! Stand firm oh trusty Art Bin Minders…We shall overcome! Look no further than the founding mother of the Art Bin movement, Maggie Wooterlot, who having had her bin stolen, (art theft!), sniffed back a quick tear, vented a summary curse at the injustice of the world, then painted up another can and there it stands, a symbol of south end fortitude and resilience! Over the years there have been instances of bins being battered, kicked around, dented and abused, but what have we done?….we’ve gathered them up, brought them to the Miners Picnic where they have been lovingly restored by Barbara, Harold et al, then returned to their rightful posts in the neighborhood.

The bin that I look after on the corner of Needham and Haliburton was, for a while, being used by someone to dispose of cat litter. I left a note by the bin, introducing myself, politely explaining the purpose of the bin and asking that the person refrain from disposing of their cat litter in this way. It seems to have worked and with the odd exception, the bin is now functioning as intended. Perhaps we could attach a similar note adjacent to all the cans in the neighborhood? Perhaps a hand delivered note to neighborhood residents educating and informing them about the project? Let’s talk about it at our next meeting and come up with a plan of action cheers all, Douglas

PS. Three times in a row someone has placed their domestic garbage bag in my art bin at 746 Haliburton.  I removed my bin. If the guilty party is reading this posting, these bins are not for your garbage, but for street litter. Please show a little  consideration and cease doing this.   Larry

Jan 12, a note from Blog co-editor Barbara.

Flora Green, who normally sits beside Tong’s in the 700 block of Haliburton has wandered.  She’s up in the Arbutus Books parking lot with Eyeleen.

I am not sure if she has a same-sex crush on her and rolled up on her own or if she got taken for a joy-ride.

If you are in the vicinity and have the room in your vehicle, perhaps you could tell her that the party is over and take her home to her spot at Tangs?

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Last year we set up our first “Art Bin Beauty Salon” at the Miner’s Picnic, and it was a TON of fun.  Here’s how it works:

  • We have 10 new bins purchased and getting all primed up for Saturday.  Come and release your inner artist…!  Paint a whole bin or bring along a buddy and make it a group project.
  • If you are hosting an art bin and it needs to have a little paint touch-up or get a few dints removed, bring it along.
  • Or if you want to learn more about out Art Bin initiative and how you can become part of it, talk to the folks there.

The bins that are painted at the Picnic will soon go to work on the streets of the South End (after they are christened and profiled here on the blog, of course…:)

The Art Bin Salon will be open between 10 AM and 3 PM.

 

 

 

 

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Introducing….

Eyleen, the newest Art Bin to grace Nicol street, seen here with her guardian, Neal Brown, outside his store, Arbutus Books.  Eyeleen will be keeping a watchful set of eyes (because she’s got LOTs of them) on the street for litter.  (And she will, be hopefully cheering on Jean Crowder’s campaign workers next door.)

Eyeleen replaces another bin, who unfortunately met his demise at the feet of some vandals and is currently In the Art Bin Hospital, awaiting surgery.  If he doesn’t pull through, a memorial will be held at a later date…:)

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A few months ago, we told you about the bold and daring Art Bins that had made it safely across Nicol Street to take up watch around Victoria Road.   Well, well, now we’re discoving that they are stud-ly as well..:)

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Lookie here, sprouting up in Nob Hill…a couple of real beauts….!

How sweet it is.

Welcome on board, Nob Hillers.  We neighbours might just be able to start a movement…if we haven’t already….:)

 

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It was standing room only at Mark Lakeman‘s talk and visual presentation on Sunday Nov. 29.  He told us that City Repair began when a handful of neighbors painted an intersection to slow the traffic. From there the concept grew to include cob benches, tea rooms (both fixed and mobile) tree and verge planting, public art of all description, community gardens and a beautiful village for the homeless. City Repair has now expanded to 20 cities across Canada and the USA.  SECA is already on the right path, according to Mark, both with the projects we are working on and our mindset.

Councilors Fred Pattje and Jim Kipp attended, as did Matt Hussman of the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership, and many city planners. Nice to see a lot of younger people there. Everyone seemed very inspired by the talk.

A big thank you to the Nanaimo Museum and staff and a special thanks to Barbara Densmore who did a fantastic job arranging the meeting.

Click here to see a slideshow of the evening.

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MarkLakemanMark Lakeman is a visionary architect, founding member of Portland’s City Repair & the 10-Day Village Building Convergence/VBC, and director of the ecological design firm Communitecture.

Formed in 1996, City Repair was conceived as an “anti-virus” to combat isolation and over-commodification of conventionally designed cities, by literally inserting villages into cities.

Now a national movement, City Repair combines architecture, urban planning, anthropology, community development, public art, permaculture and ecological design in projects that transform public space.

Visit www.cityrepair.org

See pics of Portland City Repair projects from one of our previous posts.  Click here.

The talk was organized by The South End Community Association (SECA) with the support of the Planning Institute of BC, North Vancouver Island Chapter.

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Why this lane? was the question we started with on March 16th when the South End Community Association hosted a meeting of property owners, managers, and residents, as well as City of Nanaimo and law enforcement officials, to talk about problems in the laneway bordered by Haliburton, Milton, Nicol, and Farquhar.

With the help of city staff and RCMP, we identified places where gaps in fencing allow people to easily evade police, niches and ledges that encourage loitering, areas where high fences block sight lines, and weeds and refuse that send a clear message that “no one cares.”

That message changed on April 25th.  With the cooperation of many owners, tenants, and surrounding neighbours:

  • We cleaned and hauled.  We weeded.  We dug and planted.
  • We painted.
  • We created the image that this is not a neglected laneway.
  • Then we took back the lane, and held a lunch party, complete with DJ music and Gord Fuller’s famous BBQ hot dogs.

Over 50 people came out to turn the lane into a thing of beauty..ok, ok…better than it was…WAY better….!

For photos of the clean up event,  click HERE

Or click here for Daily News article!

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

What’s Next?

Residents asked for more painting in the lane, so we’re planning a second painting day in July.

Some are even dreaming about a community garden. which we’re likely too late for this year, but we can keep working on it.

But for now, we believe we’re getting the new message across loud and clear: that this is a strong community that is staking its claim on the laneway.

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‘War zone’ not always ideal for New Hope

Click here for an article on the current service situation at the New Hope Centre, from the April 17 issue of the Nanaimo Daily News.

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New Election Boundaries – do they Affect YOU?

We originally posted an article about the boundary change when it was announced last August, along with a map.  In order to help you get a little more cozy with blogging, we’re going to show you how to access it here.

Over in the right hand column, you’ll see a heading titled “Tags.”  See how all the words are different sizes?  That’s because every time that topic is mentioned, the word gets larger.  If you wanted to read ALL the posts on a particular topic, just click on that word and voila….up will come all the posts.

Now, the post announcing the electoral boundary change  was under the title “Provincial Election 2009”.  So just click on it, and you will see the heading for the article: “Are YOU Losing Leonard?”

There you are, now you can say: “Yep, I can blog.” to anyone who remotely cares…:)

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Neighbourhood Plan Passed!

We’ve just received word that the council budget  that contains the Neighbourhood Plan for the South End has received second approval!  This is GREAT news for all of us.  Thank YOU, councillors! (and Mayor Ruttan, too)

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McDonald’s Grand Re-opening Ceremony Saturday April 25 @ 1 PM

If you’ve missed the ads in the papers, the Nicol Street McDonald’s is holding their gala-gala reopening event THIS week.   Deals on menu items every day until Saturday.  And an official invitation to join them on  Saturday at 1 PM for cake/cupcakes and their official ribbon cutting ceremony!

Congratulations, Wayne, Josh, and team.  The new update looks great.

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stairs11What’s Missing from this Picture?

If you guessed the  problematic stairs at Deverill Park, you’re 100% correct.  Plus, the newly extended fence will allow the  “At Play” paintings to grow around the perimeter of the park.

According to Kirsty MacDonald of the Parks & Rec Dept: “Parks is looking forward to finishing the playground improvements for summer use including installing a new spray park, paving a tricycle path around the play area and improving the site furnishings.”

Arlene On You Tube

You might have guessed that also missing from the picture is Arlene,  our red-jacketed regular from the corner of Milton and Haliburton. She’s featured in a video on You Tube titled “Gutsy Mama”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JnkAGnPnIM

No word yet on whether she’s been asked to used her pad of paper to sign autographs!

New By-law Enforcement Officer Bill Kiselbach

billMost of Nanaimo’s by-law enforcement officers work all over the city, but there are a few areas where a dedicated officer is located.  One of those areas stretches from Comox Avenue in the north to Milton Street in the south, and includes downtown, Nob Hill, and parts of the South End and old City Quarter.  Bill Kiselbach took over the position of “downtown bylaw officer” earlier this month and works out of the Community Policing and Service Office located at 18 Victoria Crescent.

Bill’s job is to ensure that Nanaimo’s by-laws are abided by: that buildings, residences, and public areas are safe and being used and maintained in the way they were intended.  He patrols public areas.  He assists property owners who request help for the removal of squatters from their property.  He assists the police and other agencies during investigations of nuisance properties and grow ops.

Then there are the more complicated situations where by-Laws and city departments work in tandem. For example, Bill works with the Engineering and Building Departments around new building construction, and he deals with illegal suites and houses that may be deemed unsafe.

I asked Bill to list the top issues he’s been dealing with over the past month.  He said:

“Every day is SO different!  But what I see most right now are issues involving property maintenance, such as garbage all over yards.  The other one is squatters – people on city or private property that have no legal right to be there.  I try to spend about 1.5 hours daily in the downtown parks and parkades, being the eyes and ears for the police.  If I see something illegal, I’ll call them.”

So, Bill, when people have a specific problem in their neighbourhood, who should they call…the city department or by-laws?  Either is fine, according to Bill.  The downtown Community Policing and Service Office intends to make things easier for downtowners and south enders to report problems that may be straddling both city by-laws and the law.  If you aren’t sure who you should be calling, the Community Policing and Service Office will channel your call through to the right place.  You can reach the Community Policing and Service office at (250) 753-3777 between the hours of 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Bill, we know that if nothing else, you’ll NEVER have a dull moment working in the South End!  May EVERY day continue to be different!

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Speaking of Community Policing, the new Director of the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership, Matt Hussman, attended the February SECA meeting.  He moved here a little over a month ago from Washington DC, and is trying to get a handle on the most critical issues in the downtown area.  One of the biggies is safety.

To that end, they they would like to hear from people who are living/working in/around the downtown area, or people who walk to downtown on a regular basis.  They’ve created a survey; we’ll bring some hard copies to the next SECA meeting.  Or you can e-mail Sharon Welch and she will send you one: Sharon.Welch@nanaimo.ca

Are you a Green-thumbed Organizer?

Tucked away in a sunny corner beside the Princess Royal family centre is a little patch of heaven…well admittedly there are one or two weeds…ok, quite a lot of weeds actually…but the point is we have an uncultivated treasure, an oasis of hope, a symbol of renewal, crying out for a firm hand on the plough!

A brief history:

  • the garden has been around for many years and was originally cultivated by John McKay and other teachers at the school.
  • It was briefly an exercise yard  for Maggies’ goats, who demolished all available greenery but were a big hit with the kids.
  • Eileen Bennewith, community nutritionist, took up the mantle when VIHA took over the school and did a power of work to get it going and incorporate it into the community kitchens program.
  • Various SECA members have chipped in and helped out, Signey Parkin in particular, but what has been lacking is one or a few local residents  to really take the project on.

The purpose of a community garden is to provide local residents who perhaps have no access to a garden with an opportunity to share in the production and harvest of fresh organic produce at a fraction of the cost.  The Princess Royal Family Centre lease the garden and make it available to local neighborhood residents to develop as a community resource.

We have a possible benefactor in the generous form of Helen Phelps who owns a shop called “Dream With Me” downtown on Commercial.  She has offered to fund the purchase of various plants and seeds and SECA has funds available also. If you’re interested or would like more information, please come along to our next SECA meeting at 7pm on March 4th at Princess Royal.

Amber Alert!

Missing….one of the neighbourhoods more colourful characters!  We don’t think that she would leave the South End on her own and without a fight.  We say that because she has no arms, legs or feet..:)  We’re talking, of course, about one of our Art Bins, which if you’ve been paying attention, are starting to pop up all over the place.  Except one of them seems to have been bin-napped from Sandra’s Head-to-Toe Salon.

We won’t show the photo of it here, because it might simply have been an error in judgment, someone thinking that the bins are there for the taking, and we don’t want to embarrass you.

Serena Omm, who will calm your fears and eat your garbage at the same time.  A true multi-tasker.

Serena Omm, who will calm your fears and inhale your garbage at the same time. BREATHE deeply now...all is WELL!

Eye-leen: she sees all, she knows all, she eats all.

Eye-leen. She SEES all. She KNOWS all. She EATS all.

So let’s take a moment and tell you HOW the Trashy Art Bin project works.  While many of the original bins were generously funded and created by residents, not everyone is in a position to buy their own garbage can.  So with some much-appreciated support from the City of Nanaimo, and some generous donations of paint and time, we’ve (SECA) moved to buying bins for people to

Ernie the Environmentalist.  Comes with photo of Dr David Suzuki.

Ernie the environmentalist. Comes with photo of Dr David Suzuki

FOSTER.  That means we own it, and you look after it. We provide you with a chain so it doesn’t wander off.  If you and the bin don’t hit it off, we’ll find another home for it.

So far, all the bins that are painted (including these) are either hanging out around the South End or getting ready to go to their new foster homes.  But stay tuned…we hope to have a few more colourful personalities ready for the NEXT newsletter!

And if you WOULD like to foster a bin, call Sandra at 753-1394 to get more information.


Balmoral Update

Fresh off the press, from the Feb 27 Nanaimo Daily News.  Click here.

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bin1.  Lilly the Flower. Bright, lively and willing to please, Lilly is hoping to be fostered by someone who lives on the sunny side of the street.  Plays well with others, especially daffodils and tulips…likes to be part of a bouquet.  Willing to be an “only” bin if there are lots of people passing by so she doesn’t get lonely and wilt.  Loves the fragrant aroma of coffee cups and french fry containers.  Not too happy about dog poop  (but who IS….?)

bin2

2.  Percy the Pirate.  Seeking bold places to go, and adventures along the way.  Might be a problem bin, so we need a strong foster person who can keep him under control.  Quite feisty, Percy may kick back if attacked.  Might double as a watchdog/watchbin on your property, scaring away other pirates.  Wants to be near the salty scent of the sea.  Has a soft spot for old running shoes, donut boxes, and empty rum bottles.  Spits out dog poop.

bin3

3.  Stella the Star. Stella hasn’t quite decided yet whether she wants to be a starfish when she grows up or to be a star in the sky.  She’s a bit of a prima donna, and a little self-centred.  But as long as you keep feeding her, she’ll be well-behaved.  She would like to be somewhere where she gets LOTS of attention, preferably a steady stream of passers-by…this is NOT a cul-de-sac kind of gal.  Has a weakness for water bottles, old clothing with sequins, and chocolate bar wrappers.  Believes dog poop is “beneath” her stature in life, but every upcoming celebrity has to deal with some crap along the way.

If you would like more information about or are interested in fostering a bin,  please call Sandra Zuccolini at 753-1394.

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