Nov. 14, 2007 - Kevin Rushworth

Residents of Millrise are breathing easier after hearing that their community association will not be disbanding. Due to a lack of board members and volunteers, the southwest community of Millrise was close to losing their community association and their skating rink. However, after the AGM, where many vital issues were brought forth, the verdict was clear and concise. Unanimously, the concerned residents of Millrise voted to keep their community association alive. Many board positions that had remained unfilled now have excited volunteers at the helm. The Millrise Community Association is no longer sailing towards rocky shores. Peter Jaras, Secretary, Web Manager and former Membership Director of the Millrise Community Association said, “I’m glad to see that more volunteers (board members) have stepped up to the plate.”

When asked about what most excites him about his position, Robin Brittner, the newly appointed president of the Millrise Community Association says, “The same energy and enthusiasm that the community showed at the AGM.” He continues by saying, “Lets get the pride and energy back into our community.” The board members, who ran the AGM, were expecting to have a smaller turn out and were pleasantly surprised when the room filled up quickly. When asked about these board members and the work that they have done, Brittner says, “They’ve done an incredible job of hanging on to the threads that we had.” However, Brittner also said that they run the risk of people moving away who are on the board.

Now that the AGM is out of the way, events, such as the Santa Skate on Dec. 16 can now be organized. This event, which includes non-perishable food donations, is all about trying to educate the community about the value of being a member says Brittner. However, the people of Millrise may not fully understand the work that goes into making a skating event or any other activity. Brittner said, “Last year, we were there until 2AM getting that first flood done.” He continued by saying, “We have to look at our slate of directors. We all have full time jobs. It doesn’t come without effort. There’s always opportunity for assistance.”

Close to seven years ago, the community association of Millrise was also about to disband. Why is it that this situation keeps surfacing? Brittner says, “Communities change. There’s been a tremendous amount of growth. Children mature. Some younger families move. Whenever you have change, people get complacent.” On the other hand, Brittner says that a new energy has been found. Although many new volunteers and board members have come forward and there has been drastic improvement, there is still room for more community members. Jaras says that an average community association’s membership levels are around 11%. However, the membership levels for Millrise have been hovering around five-six percent. In the year 2005, the Millrise Community Association had 318 members. Currently, 100-120 homeowners out of approximately 1945 households are paying members of the association. At $20 dollars a membership, it would take 420 members to reach the necessary $8400 that is needed to run the association. Now that the community of Millrise has more board members, Jaras says that they can now focus on increasing the membership levels.

Why is it that some community associations’ flourish and others have more difficulties? Dr. Tracy Nielsen, an urban sociologist at Mount Royal College says, “Areas where people do not know each other or feel that they have no reason to join a collectivity might find it hard to keep an association going or even get it started.” She continues by saying that, “People have security systems in their homes and all their entertainment occurs inside the home. They have little reason to venture outdoors for socializing.”

Due to the increased energy of the Millrise Community Association, there will be many events to come in this active, proud and vibrant community.