The West End Community Association, or WECA for short, is a not-for-profit association primarily focused on community wellbeing and celebrating the diversity for which 4101 is renowned.
ESTABLISHED 10 YEARS ago, WECA is a collective body of residents, community organisations, businesspeople and a management committee, who seek to represent the wider West End community in areas such as sustainable development and social justice.
Leading the management committee, who are all volunteers, and the wider membership, is WECA president Dr Erin Evans, whose focus is towards pushing topics of sustainability into the limelight. “We’re there to represent the community; we’re there to support good and sustainable development of the area and living of the area,” Dr Evans explains, as she sips on ginger and lemongrass tea at her local coffee shop, Bass Espresso.
Sustainability has a versatile definition, but to WECA it covers the likes of town development, local business, green waste and social wellbeing. “For us, I think, sustainability comes into a lot of aspects,” Dr Evans says thoughtfully, recounting a number of projects with which WECA is involved.
In terms of development, a rather controversial topic of discussion in 4101, building size and infrastructure are important. From WECA’s perspective, these key areas need to be addressed for the longevity of the area and with the goal of sustaining a good way of living. “The physical surroundings — for us, that needs to be sustainable. We need to think about that in terms of the choices we make and the priorities that we make.”
As a group comprising many long-term residents, WECA opposes the building of highrise buildings in 4101. Dr Evans raises a number of concerns. “We’re not so in favour of big towers; we don’t agree (with them) because they have ongoing issues. Post the flood, WECA commissioned an investigation research project with QUT Tropical Design School and just found the floods were extremely problematic,” she said.
“As well as the considerable flood damage to new buildings, the land being developed is of concern too, taking up much needed green space. We need to maintain certain levels of green space to keep a good standard of living here; green space provides us with our emotional and social sustainability,” Dr Evans explains.
While WECA allows 4101 residents and advocates to voice their concerns, the association also enables and hosts celebratory events, encompassing the diversity of the area and involving those in the community. “It’s a synergistic kind of relationship that we enable with local artists, businesses and community,” Dr Evans says enthusiastically. “We run a number of events every year — the Kurilpa Derby and the Block Party, which is kind of a re-invigoration of the previous Boundary Street Festival that was around many years ago.”
On top of that, the West End Community Association gives guidance to a number of separate events in the area, such as the West End Film Festival and Fiesta Latina, providing mentorship and assistance.
Words by Keagan Elder