Why neighbours say Kipps Lane is a great place to live

Almost 10 years out, those who worked on the Kipps Lane Neighbourhood Action Plan say the project was a success.

Almost 10 years out, those who worked on the Kipps Lane Neighbourhood Action Plan say it was a success

Host Julianne Hazelwood, far right, poses with students on their way to class at CBC London Morning's remote show at 1050 Kipps Lane. (CBC)

When Tanya Pinch first moved to Kipps Lane almost 21 years ago, people were incredulous that she'd chosen to live "EOA," or "East of Adelaide."

"I didn't grow up in London, and so I had no idea what people were talking about," Pinch told CBC's London Morning.

Today, she said it's a different story. Even Londoners from other parts of the city will go out of their way to visit Kipps Lane and take part in neighbourhood activities, she said.

"When I tell people what goes on in our community, people are like, 'Wow,'" said Pinch, who also serves as president of the Kipps Lane and Community group.

"It's amazing what we offer in this area now."

Karen Oldham, left, and Tanya Pinch worked together on the Kipps Lane Neighbourhood Action Plan. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Kipps Lane changed its reputation thanks in part to a neighbourhood action plan put in place almost 10 years ago. At the time, people in the area worried that it had, perhaps unfairly, gotten a bad rap, and set out to change it.

"I think a lot of the issues that were brought to our attention were perceived issues," said Karen Oldham, manager of neighbourhood development and support with the city of London, who worked on the report.

"Every neighbourhood has its challenges, but I think what's happened here is a whole lot of neighbours getting to know neighbours, and doing amazing social activities and really increasing the fabric and quality of life here."

Pinch and Oldham agree that neighbourhood socializing has done a lot to bring the community together. Some examples include the much-beloved post-Halloween "pumpkin retirement party," and an annual Easter egg hunt that's swollen from about 150 children to more than 500 at last count.

Best of all, many of these events are 100 per cent free — making it easy for families to join.

What comes next

Pinch hopes people in Kipps Lane will keep pushing forward with the work they've already done, with even more neighbourhood activities and a greater volunteer turnout. 

"Just make it a better community, just make everybody be like your best friends," she said.

Oldham agreed, adding that she hopes the kids growing up on Kipps Lane today will stay involved into adulthood. But, she did offer one word of caution.

"Unfortunately the price of houses is probably going to go up," she said. 

"It's such a great place to live — people should probably get in now."