Comment 104547

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 17, 2014 at 12:52:46 in reply to Comment 104545

Not that it's any of my business what folks do in Ainslie-Woods/Westdale, but to be fair, AWWCA does have a "Friends of the AWWCA" membership category (albeit it is non-voting). This isn't necessarily off-side, any more so than having a membership fee is. Neighbourhood associations are private clubs, not representative public bodies, and are only as inclusive as they want to be. In fact exclusivity is part of the point--to advocate for the interests of a homophilic/likeminded group (i.e. invested residents) limited to a given geographic area.

Regardless, inclusiveness in these groups can't be fully judged from a review of bylaws and policies

For example, I am happy to argue that the Beasley Neighbourhood Association is one of the most inclusive NAs in Hamilton, and certainly the most inclusive group I've ever belonged to. At our meeting last week we had around 40 attendees, and almost half of them were from outside the neighbourhood (myself included), and all were welcome to contribute to and influence the discussion, if not necessarily cast a vote on matters.

See, the constitution states any adult living in Beasley is automatically a member, but to vote you have to have attended at least one previous meeting, and anyone from outside Beasley can become an associate (non-voting) member, with the provision that they can become voting members through a majority vote at our AGM.

So there's a lot of exclusive language there, but that's just part of policing boundaries, and despite the BNA having no membership fee, I would defend any NA's right to charge a nominal fee (i.e. $2, like the North End Neighbors) as a sign of commitment from the member (putting money where your mouth is).

It's the people, not the policies that will ultimately determine the inclusivity of the group. My (limited) experience with the AWWCA suggested to me that the tie that binds is a desire to protect the neighbourhood from descending into a student ghetto. Fair enough. Extending voting rights to everyone with a pulse will not likely change that, and it's not great policy anyway, even if it "feels" fair (ask the MSU, a great voice for Mac students, if they would ever extend similar membership to Westdale residents).

Groups decide their own mission and membership requirements, and if people find them exclusive, it's the perfect impetus to start a new group with a bigger tent.

Permalink | Context

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools