November 25, 2015

Residents’ Association builds neighbourhood connections

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Erin Residents’ Association (ERA) has been building new links of friendship and support in the community, and is inviting more people to get involved.

“We try to connect people with each other,” said founder David Spencer, who saw the benefit of a multi-interest group, in addition to existing networks such as service clubs, church groups and sports associations.

The spark was a series of power blackouts in recent years, where there was a need for more support among neighbours and communication with the Town and Ontario Hydro. The group has succeeded in getting a transformer replaced. They are also keeping the Town informed about burned-out or malfunctioning streetlights.

The primary activity, however, is community building, including social events, encouraging people to support local businesses and an informal Neighbourhood Watch effort to promote a safe environment and provide information to the OPP when necessary.

The group is marking its first anniversary with a fundraising dinner at David’s Restaurant this Saturday, November 28, at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $40. Funds raised will go to finance ERA projec
ts and charity initiatives within the village of Erin.

More information about the dinner and the group is available at, and Spencer can be contacted at

There is a regular e-newsletter with information on coming events (like the Teen Battle of The Bands), local services (like the Education Workshops hosted by the East Wellington Family Health Team) and links to other community organizations (like Transition Erin). Past issues of the newsletter are available on-line through Google Groups.

The ERA is inclusive and non-political, and membership is free. People can sign up as members, or just to receive the newsletter.

Volunteers are needed to expand the group’s activities, which could include making residents more aware of all the goods and services that can be purchased in Erin. Businesses can arrange to have their name and web link on the Resources page of the ERA website.

“It is sad to see stores and restaurants closing,” said Spencer. He is a teacher in Peel, and one of the people who helped start Erin Radio following the major power blackout of 2003.

There are no strict boundaries for ERA membership, but their area of interest is Erin village, with about 30-40 active participants. They have organized activities such as bowling, campfires, dog days, street parties, home music jams and yard sales, and have made an effort to welcome new families that move to the village. They help educate people about how to maintain a septic system.

Members have the option of sharing information about their children, to promote connections between families with children of similar ages, and about their dogs, to facilitate joint dog walking.

If the organization expands in the future, Spencer said there is the possibility of having different zones in the Town, so people could connect with their relatively close neighbours, but also be part of a larger community group.

The ERA is separate from other local organizations such as the Hills of Erin Residents’ Group, which is focused on opposition to expansion of the CBM gravel pit north of Hillsburgh. It is also separate from the Concerned Erin Citizens (CEC) group, which is focused on concerns about local taxation, spending and wastewater issues.