West Side Stories: The first thing people will see is this pile of garbage and then they will walk through the door and they will see a big sign that says ‘The City of Edmonton has abandoned.’
The City of Alberta has abandoned West Edmonton.
West Edmonton was the only community west of the Saskatchewan River and it was the site of the first permanent settlement in Canada.
The City sold the land for $10 million and it became Edmonton.
It’s been abandoned ever since.
“I’ve been in this building for four years and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says John Stoltenberg, an Edmonton artist who created the West Edmonton community.
He has been collecting trash and garbage cans from West Edmonton since his work on the film began.
“We just sort of started to get a sense of what was going on here and then we realized it was a massive waste of land,” says Stolstenberg.
In the documentary, Stolenberg tells how he was trying to get people to stop their garbage collection when he got a call from the City of Calgary saying they were going to have to dismantle the building.
He wanted to document the process and explain what the city was doing to get rid of the waste.
He says he had to take out his camera and start recording to document what he was seeing.
He also had to make sure the people he was filming were okay.
“There’s been so much stuff going on in the West End and I was really curious to see what the community was going through and how they were dealing with it,” says George.
George says that after filming a homeless man sleeping in the snow on the city’s west side, he decided to take his camera along to see if he could capture something positive.
“It’s really important that we know what’s happening because if we don’t know what is going on then it’s going to get worse,” says Mr. Stolzenberg.
“People need to know what they are getting themselves into.
If people are going to go out and dump their garbage on the street, they’re going to be doing it because they can’t do anything about it.”
West Edmonton is the site in the documentary of the homeless man who sleeps on the sidewalk and who was found dead by a passerby.
The city says it has been working with the homeless community for years to make the building safe.
“For those of you who are out there and have questions, we want to hear from you,” says the city of Calgary.
It has also set up a hotline to answer questions and help people find the answers they need.
George and John Stolinberg have also made videos to raise awareness about the waste, to help raise awareness for the garbage and to share their experience with others.
“This film has made me think twice about what I’m going to do when I get home and I’m not sure how much I’m gonna waste and what I’ll do if I do,” says Jane.
George has already filmed two more films.
“You know, I’m thinking of doing more.
I think the next one is a little bit more difficult to come up with but I want to try to make it as entertaining as possible,” says David.
They’ve also created an online fundraiser for the West Side Community.
Anyone who wants to contribute can do so through their GoFundMe account.
To learn more about George and Jane, visit www.westerlystories.com