Condo Living

June 28, 2023 Published by North Alberta Chapter - By Michael Janz

Council Connection - City Hall Needs You... Better Condos = Better Community

We need your help. Local leaders, City councillors (like me), Mayors, town councillors, and others are scratching our heads trying to determine better ways to engage you and your neighbours in your community.

We need your help. Local leaders, City councillors (like me), Mayors, town councillors, and others are scratching our heads trying to determine better ways to engage you and your neighbours in your community.

I’ve created a short list in this article of ideas that I would like to hear from you about. We would love to attend your condo board meeting, host a summer BBQ, or merely play bellhop in your elevator for a morning and engage with you. 

Civic engagement has long been dominated by folks in single family detached homes. Their voices matter, but residents of apartments, condos, and multi-family complexes have persistently been left out of the conversation despite making up a growing percent of our communities. At election time, candidates diligently door-knock up and down the driveways, but unless you are lucky enough to get buzzed into a building or know a friend who lets you deliver flyers, it’s really tough to seek feedback from those in buildings.

When elected officials can have familiarity with board members or building residents, collaborating on local matters ranging from crime and safety to bus stops in need of TLC becomes much easier. More people connected to your building as a home and feeling that sense of shared ownership can result in cost-savings but also meaningful value generation through a heightened level of care and sense of community. 

Municipalities are non-partisan, and local elected officials are often the first point of contact for your building for civic services. Are you taking advantage of the rewards and benefits of this local access? Your neighbours are, and you should be too.

Your voice matters, so here are a few ideas. What if you… 
  • Invite your city councillor to your condo board AGM? Electeds can show up, provide greetings, maybe even bring the treats. 
  • Offer to host a “meet and greet” with your councillor in the lobby one evening? We can show up and hear what is on the minds of the residents. 
  • Consider posting City Council events and updates to your CondoGenie or equivalent as well as opportunities for civic feedback?
  • Create a posterboard or opportunity to post civic announcements or updates near your mailboxes? 
  • Host a community BBQ or block party in front of your building, inviting your adjacent neighbours to come by and visit? 
  • Work with your city councillor to conduct a CPTED analysis (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) or a minor disaster response scenario? 
  • Reach out to me for a phone call and explored further ideas?

You know your building best. You know your needs, wants, and the engagement of the community. Start somewhere. Even a first small meeting of a dozen residents or board members would be well worth our time, and hopefully yours too. I’ve tried a few of these ideas and I know it depends on the building and the community. One secondary benefit I’ve found is that many residents were just as pleased to get to know one another as they were to meet me. The community connections were plentiful, I merely provided the ice breaker and an excuse to come out and be social. 

We all know we’ve got room for improvement on the macro-city level and the micro-city level. The first step is bringing people together for constructive dialogue and to discuss solutions. 

As the bodies that represent dozens to thousands of residents, you have an enormous opportunity to help build a better city through better condos.

Michael Janz is the Edmonton City Councillor for Ward papastew (South Central Edmonton) and is passionate about neighbourhoods and community development. 

He’s lived and worked in condos and multifamily developments on and off for the last 20 years.


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