KBIA Ambassador: Week 3 in Review

 In Community

Three weeks in and I think I can finally say that I am truly and completely comfortable here with the BIA. Experts say that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master anything you do but I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my job here as a summer student to this point – and I love every part of it.

From the discussions I get to have with different people to the time I get to take to just observe how things operate in the area and even with the data-driven paperwork I get to do for the BIA, I really think I’ve enjoyed every part of my job.

As I believe I have touched on in previous posts, the greatest appeal of this position for me is the variety of job responsibilities that this position gives me. Included in that appeal is the opportunity for significant learning while I work in this position for the Kleinburg BIA.

To date, at no other time has the concept of “learning” been so apparent than this week. In other words, this week at work provided me with arguably my best learning opportunity yet. At work this week, I learned quite a bit about the perceived deficiencies of the area, but especially through the conversations I had with three people – one business owner, one Kleinburg local of 23 years and one individual who works in Kleinburg and has been around here just 24 months.

The interesting thing about these particular conversations was that each brought something different to my understanding of how people view downtown Kleinburg. For instance, whereas the business owner believed that there was no reason for stores to stay open past 6 pm (because traffic after 6 pm was only for the restaurants and no one would shop for goods at that time), the longtime Kleinburg local thought the complete opposite. To her, longer hours would be conducive to better business because adults get off work around 5 and so only then would they be able to take the time to come into downtown and do their leisurely shopping.

Similarly, the longtime Kleinburg local and the business owner shared a comparable note on the lack of parking in the area, telling me that it is a big problem because a lack of parking space makes it difficult to stop at a store. However, the individual who is newer to Kleinburg took a separate angle on accessibility because they don’t have a car. What this person brought up was something that I had never considered – the busses. They indicated to me that the bus comes through downtown Kleinburg only 6 times a day, spread out by at least a few hours. The point that this person was making is that even for people that don’t need to deal with parking, the area isn’t incredibly accessible.

What I mean to illustrate here is that the discussions I am having with Kleinburg’s people within the context of this position are providing incredible learning opportunities for me due to the fact that many of these discussions bring forth opposing or unique perspectives that broaden my view of any situation. Getting to understand so many different points of view, accordingly, greatly helps me better understand both the environment I work in and the people around me.

Beyond the discussions I had this week, week three was also filled with a great deal of primary observation that further helped me learn about the intricacies of how cities operate. For instance, one thing I kept noticing early in the week is that there is a certain spot where it says “no parking” yet people still parked there. Only later, after talking to a business owner who is situated right beside the space, did I learn that people are temporarily allowed to park there due to the construction in the nearby parking lot.

Again, what I mean to illustrate here is not how parking works when construction is impedes a parking lot. What I want to highlight is that the chance to observe such a thing is an opportunity I value because of the learning experience that came with it. Since I got the chance to observe the parking situation here, I learned something new that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Overall, this week has yet again been a very productive one for me. Beyond getting work done for the BIA, and being explicitly productive in that regard, I have again learned a lot from a more general perspective.

All things considered, I think I had yet another amazing week working for the BIA and after this week, I am truly even more excited for what the future holds for me in this position.

Until next week,

Vimal Sivakumar

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