Borrowing an idea from some larger cities that helps unite smaller parts of the whole, a group of community-minded citizens has launched the Penticton Neighbourhood Association.
“In my opinion the three pillars of our community (society, economy, and institutions) aren’t as solid and immutable as people think. They’re susceptible to pressure, stress and even deterioration if they aren’t taken care of properly,” said PNA president Nick Stulberg in an email interview this week.
“Organizations like the PNA can bring people together in a democratic, non-judgemental way to help come up with solutions to issues those three pillars of our community might face.”
But first a bit about the group.
Stulberg, a father of two who works in the payroll department at OneSky Community Resources, is originally from Regina and noticed a distinct lack of neighbourhood groups when he arrived in Penticton in 2011.
“We had neighbourhood-specific community associations in Regina, and a lot of other municipalities have them too. They quite often serve to build a sense of belonging amongst residents and give a voice to the distinctive areas of a city or region,” said Stulberg.
With the help of friends and other like-minded people he met over the years, Stulberg set up the PNA as a charitable society and hosted its first annual general meeting in January 2023.
A core group of seven volunteers have formed a community executive. They’re helping get the PNA off the ground and serving as neighbourhood captains. More volunteers will be required in the coming months.
Stulberg, who sits on the city’s OCP Housing Task Force and was a member of the now-defunct Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, eventually hopes to have captains in every neighbourhood who will all work together under the PNA banner.
And, while the group’s coming-out party will be a clothing swap in June, it also expects to make appearances on the local political scene.
“The PNA’s stated purpose is to develop, execute, promote and support projects that make Penticton more democratic, equitable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for all residents and visitors. We are excited to develop strong partnerships with our elected officials as well as the political institutions that they participate in,” said Stulberg.
“We want the PNA to become the voice of Penticton. We have so much going for us right now and in the years to come. I know that an organization like this will help get us all to a positive future.”
Deputy Mayor Helena Konanz looks forward to hearing that voice.
“Penticton is a tremendous place to live and you see that reflected in the passion of the people who live here,” said Konanz in a statement.
“As a council, we always appreciate delegations at council meetings and we look forward to hearing from the Penticton Neighbourhood Association at an upcoming meeting about their organization and goals.”
The clothing swap is set for Sunday, June 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre.
The free event is open to all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring a load of old clothes that are still in good condition and leave with a load of new-to-them clothes.
Arrangements can be made to drop off clothes ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The group also has pages on Instagram and Facebook.
“The clothing swap is a good example of the events we would like to host: those that benefit residents and visitors of Penticton while showcasing the values and goals of the PNA,” said Stulberg.
“We haven’t landed on any others at this point but can’t wait for more ideas to come up.”
The other members of the PNA community executive are: Ajeet Brar, Jula Dyer, Julia Cannings McKay, Katie O’Kell, Joshua Lee, Morgan Stulberg and Sarah Sloan.