A call to action & a lesson about UN-neighbourliness

4 green circles

**WORK PARTY #2, SUNDAY Feb. 10, 12-4pm!! This event is on facebook!**

UPDATE: we have received notification that we are off the hook for any potential fines due to the condition of the yard…now to communicate a message of neighbourliness to our “neighbours”…

We have made substantial progress in cleaning up the back with dreams of starting a community garden space and mural artwork. Read more…

In the last 4 months, the small and mighty
Heart & Hands has undergone some pretty 184483_10151220060366446_241110742_nmassive growing pains. New property ownership, mortgage, new staff, new clinic systems, fundraising holiday auction, not to mention the 60-80 treatments we provide weekly and now…clashing with our NIMBY, passive aggressive condo neighbours at the Soho on Mason St….again…

Summer of 2012, we received a few notes and phone calls from the residents of the Soho complaining about the scrap left over in our back lot post-reno. They also threatened to file a complaint with the City of Victoria. I courteously and promptly returned those phone calls, but never received a response. We had also had a situation where we had launched into a full on argument with one of the residents off their balcony –
this encounter ended with him yelling profanities at me after I informed him that our back lot was private property. We’ve noticed that the residents have been throwing dog poop, cigarettes and who knows what else into our lot (thank you so very much). Overall, these experiences left me with the impression that our neighbours were close-minded, community-hating NIMBYs who are scared to communicate with real human beings. So I left it at that, or so I thought.

The morning of Tuesday January 22, 2013, a City of Victoria By-Law officer paid us a visit. He mentioned that if the back lot wasn’t cleaned up we would be fined and it would be cleaned up at our expense. The Soho condo NIMBYs were so fearful of communicating with their neighbours that they sent hired help to do it for them. The folks at Heart & Hands in my opinion are level-headed, reasonable and for the most part pretty friendly. I would’ve been happy to have a conversation with our Soho neighbours about the progress we were making with our back lot, but they already had assumptions about us.

Heart & Hands is a small, community-based business. We run on limited resources and our practitioners make a modest living. The demands required to keep a busy little business like ours is a full-time+ position, so the messy view of our back lot is a distant priority that I hoped to one day tackle. But sadly, the view is just too inconvenient for our Soho neighbours and they’d rather engage with us in a malicious, passive aggressive manner, which disappoints me deeply.

So the current progress on our lot + what we need from you:

  • I have been in contact with donating supplies (ie. scrap wood, rain barrels, old fencing) to the Mason St. Farm.
  • I am organizing TWO dates for work parties to re-organize the back & make runs to Ellice Recycling. Meet us in the lobby of Heart & Hands with work clothes, good shoes and gardening gloves. Watch for this event on Facebook!
    > SUNDAY January 27th, 12-4pm
    > SUNDAY February 10th, 12-4pm
  • We are graciously accepting monetary donations both small and large to help cover the cost of gas, recycling fees and refreshments for those who volunteer their time to our work parties. Drop by the clinic, a donation jar will be out for our “Heart & Hands Clean-up Fund”.
  • If anyone is interested in salvaging scrap wood, an old chop saw, painting supplies, etc. OR contributing a little elbow grease, please contact me, Christina Chan, heartandhands.acu@gmail.com / 250-590-3185.

And hopefully, we can demonstrate a thing or two to our NIMBY Soho neighbours about what it means to be neighbourly. Its ultimately our relationships and community-ties that hold us together, which runs deeper and stronger than owning some 500 sq ft property in a concrete box. Heart & Hands is a REAL home, with a heart and soul.

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