I was a little dismayed when I read about Ward 9 Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra's announcement that he would no longer be dealing with the Ramsay Community Association board, following a "breakdown in communication" with the volunteer association. Mr. Carra had confirmed in a hand delivered letter to Ramsay residents that he will no longer deal with the current board executive and will instead work with the citizens directly. ( A copy of the letter can be found here..)
As a community association president myself, I found myself wondering what could have led to such a disasterous stand off to occur in the first place? Alderman Carra has confirmed to me on Twitter and on the CBC Eyeopener this morning that his position has nothing to do with "development" yet the letter mentions his dismay at the boards NIMBY-ism and that he is not interested in a "coup", but the letter urges people to come to the AGM to sign up for a Carra led "Ramsey Design Initiative". While I do not believe for a minute that the conflict has to do with Carr's newsletter being rejected due to its length, but if you read the letter it is clear that there is likely more at play here than meets the eye.
I personally think that Gian-Carlo is one of the most intelligent Alderman at City Hall ( and really, who doesn't dig his accent!) but his letter really concerns me. While he confirms his support for community associations, he states that he is working with the Mayors office on a new policy outlining the role that community associations play in the "governance of our neighborhoods". If you read between the lines, perhaps some people in council hate when volunteer citizens restrict their own personal development views.
While I believe that all community associations should be well governed, I would hope that their intent is always to be a "voice" for the residents when it comes to civic matters. These are volunteer organizations made up of passionate, dedicated community members. For Mr.Carra to blindly shove them aside is upsetting as it diminishes the roles that these groups play in our city. Based on the comments that Mr. Carra made, I am sure that the both he and the Mayor's office relishes the day when CA's are relegated to bake sales and BBQ's. This way, they will not have to listen to their citizens concerns ( via those "pesky CA's" regarding development when they do not fit their own personal agenda's.
I will be watching to see what comes of this story as I think there is way more to this than either side is letting on. I hope that they can come to some sort of adult resolution soon.