It’s a common experience, searching for a new home, be it to buy or to rent. Combing through areas without knowing what the locality is really like, hoping for the best before you take the plunge! A piece of advice I was given many years ago, if you’re wondering what kind of a neighbourhood you’re getting yourself into, check the back alleys. It’s served me well house hunting in neighbourhoods I knew very little about. The state of a community’s back lanes can give you a real sense of so many things. Is this a neighbourhood with house-proud residents? Is it clean? Is it safe? Would I want to live here with these people and their stuff? Having decided on our little corner of Calgary as a place to make my permanent home I was able to give positive answers to all of those questions. Ours is a great neighbourhood, welcoming, clean, and full of great facilities and community events. The state of our back alleys, however, can sometimes leave something to be desired. Your front lawn may be an oasis of perfectly manicured grass and greenery, but what does the back side of your house say about you? We hear about it at the Community Centre quite often, residents concerned about growing piles of construction debris, garbage or overgrown back yards. We do our best to help out too, directing people to services they may need, providing a drop-off for electronic recycling and hosting a huge Community Clean-up event each year (join us again this year, September 16, 9:00am-2:00pm at the Centre). This spring we’ll be holding our first trunk sale too, a great bargain for Community Members (June 3, 9:00am-1:00pm, register today!). Still the problems persist. So it’s bigger than our efforts, and will require the energy of all of Cedarbrae to make it better. We’ve said it often: want to make the world a better place? Why not start in your own backyard (or back alley in this case). Get to know your neighbours, help them out when you can, set an example with the upkeep of your own space, and when all else fails call 311 and let the City know that there’s an issue. Keeping our neighbourhood in that great shape that I found it in all those years ago will ensure that Cedarbrae remains a great place to live, not to mention the eff ect on the value of our properties! There’s a Great Russian proverb, “you don’t buy the house, you buy the neighbourhood”. It’s a real truth, so let’s make sure our neighbourhood is a quality purchase!