Old Ottawa South Community Association

A Friendly Octopus

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This editorial, originally published in the April 1976 OSCAR, upholds the importance of getting involved in our community.

The Ottawa South Community Association is a human force. Community is a slippery concept, but it can be taken as those things its members hold in common. It represents not only our geographical area, but also our institutions and our view of ourselves as human, social beings.

For many of us, Ottawa South is only one part of busy lives occupied with jobs, family, friends, and hobbies. Yet, it is a very important part of our lives—it is home, and a foundation upon which to build a fulfilling way of living.

Within our commonality—our community—we interact with ourselves, and with forces and influences beyond our confines. We do not, and cannot, live in isolation as individuals or as a group. The purpose of the Association is to help moderate and influence those forces to which we are all subject.

One job of the Associate is to formulate and articulate views on issues of concern, such as traffic, zoning, commercial development, and, what has been very important lately, flood-control. On these and other matters, the community must present consistant and coherent positions. If we will not make decisions, other authorities—public and private—will make them for us, whether we like it or not.

The Association holds public meetings on these various issues to permit the exchange of views and the flow of information. Such large meetings are, however, only the climax of dozens of less formal exchanges. Citizens of the community gather in social and enjoyment-oriented activities of the Association, where they can meet their neighbours and form a sense of belonging. The Community Centre has been a focal point for many of these activities which will be expanded further once the Centre is renovated.

The executive of the Association acts as its agent in administering its affairs and in discovering and attempting to fill the needs of the Community. If every citizen of the Community were willing to bear a small part of the load, the range and effect of activities could be extended to almost every need.

All meetings of all committees of the Association are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome. The primary vehicle of communication is OSCAR for problems and possible solutions to be aired, but direct contact and input is what gives life to the Association.

No one needs to feel intimidated by the structure of the Association. Doug Menagh [Physical Environment Committee Chair, 1976] has described this organisation as a friendly octopus which will embrace anyone who expresses an interest in improving community affairs; I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. Within the last year I became interested in the Association through my neighbours and with the organization of an all-candidates meeting for the provincial election. By attending meetings, I was convinced of the need for participation to translate ideas into action.

Our future in this Community will depend in part on what we choose to make of it. We cannot be static and stagnant—changes and adaptations are the central, facts of life. We will evolve. It is through community groups that we hope to guide that evolution along paths that seem most certain of leading towards our fullest possible way of living.

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