HousingNewsWaterloo redevelopment

Love lives here

WATERLOO: The other day I crossed the road and was almost bowled over by the winds blowing up Raglan Street. A lady I had never met stopped to see if I was alright. Together, we laughed at the hilarity of the situation before she wished me well and went about her day.

Coloured lights in the Matavai and Turanga buildings Photo: Andrew Collis
Coloured lights in the Matavai and Turanga buildings Photo: Andrew Collis

That night I attended a community discussion led by Professor Jim Ife, a leading expert in community development. While he spoke, an elderly lady was outside having difficulty putting her belongings into her bag. A young man stopped and chatted to her while helping her pack away her things. When he had finished, he smiled and wished her a lovely evening.

The next morning we received a call from a tenant representative apologising for not being able to attend a meeting. Her neighbour had fallen ill and was waiting for an ambulance, she accompanied her so she wasn’t alone.

In the space of 24 hours I had personally witnessed three separate acts that embodied what everyone in Waterloo already knows … this community is rich with compassion, kindness, and resilience; something I know will continue throughout the redevelopment process and into the future.

There is no denying the community of Waterloo is facing a great deal of uncertainty, which generates varying degrees of anxiety, frustration and anger. However, it also brings an increase in solidarity, something I have been fortunate to witness almost every day since I started working here. Professor Ife spoke about the importance of interdependence or the mutual reliance on one another, especially during times of adversity. For the people of Waterloo, this idea will be essential in ensuring the social fabric that weaves the community together is maintained and strengthened during an extended period of emotional and physical upheaval.

As members of the community, it is our responsibility to support each other, inform each other, and most importantly be kind to each other. So the next time your frustration is high remember to take a breath and smile when you walk past someone on the street. When you’re rushing to a meeting, take the time to help someone with their bags if they’re struggling. When your neighbour needs a little help, be the person who sits by their side and brightens their day. These simple acts of kindness will continue to reinforce the invisible bonds that tie this community together, because, after all, buildings don’t make a community … people do, and I for one feel very privileged to witness the vibrancy of this one.

Kira Osborne is Waterloo Redevelopment Community Development Officer with Counterpoint: email wrcd@counterpoint.org.au; phone 9698 9569 ext 6.

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