May 2009 HPCA Meeting Minutes

Monday, May 4, 2009

Heron Park Community Centre

Present: Hijal DeSarkar, Connie Berry, Judy Mordy, Maritala Robinson, Kelly Thomas, Derek Gour, Leo Derome, Fabio Onesi, Peter Fourney, Johanne Berube, Colin MacLean, Rosella MacNeil, Laura Bonnett, and Ruth MacDonald. 14 in Total.

Absent: Clive Doucet, Donna Silver, James McLaren, Angie Kelm and Eileen McGurrin

  1. Meeting opened at 7:00 p.m.
  2. March and April minutes were there for everyone to read and look over.
  3. Constitution
    The new Constitution (proposed) was discussed at length. Peter Fourney asked how long the process had been going on and suggested a vote be arranged sooner rather than later. Kelly noted that although the Constitution was supposed to be voted on at the May 1 meeting, she had only received suggestions for changes from 4 members of the executive. She didn’t think our executive would be comfortable voting on it yet before she had receive assurances from more executive members that they had indeed taken the time to read the Constitution and provide feedback. It is posted on our website.
    Peter asked who on the executive would be permitted to vote on the new Constitution. Were we following the rules of our old Constitution? It was a little unclear, but it appears we will be following the rules of our new Constitution because the old one was ruled unconstitutional. In the new rules our Board of Directors will vote on the Constitution. This means that currently 4 Executive Committeemembers (President Kelly Thomas, Vice President James McLaren, Secretary Eileen McGurrin, and Treasurer Rosella MacNeil. The total is 4 instead of the 5 listed in our new Constitution because Rosella is also past-President) and up to 6 Members in Good Standing –Colin MacLean, Connie Berry, Maritala Robinson, Leo Derome, Johanne Berube, and Angie Kelm–will be allowed to vote on it.
    Action: Everyone who is currently on the Board of Directors will be encouraged to read the revised Constitution (it is on our website ) and provide feedback via e-mail to Kelly. You can Control + click from this document, or cut and paste the link into your web browser to go directly to the document.
    Action: Kelly will convene a meeting of the Board of Directors prior to our next regularly scheduled HPCA meeting. This meeting will be used solely to go line by line through the language in the proposed Constitution.
    Action: A notice will go out to everyone on the HPCA mailing list about the vote on the new Constitution which will be held at our next scheduled meeting on Monday, June 4, 2009. This will be the final step and we hope to adopt a new Constitution on that date.
    Peter expressed concern that it wasn’t clear who was permitted to vote on the new Constitution and questioned why we weren’t following the old one until the new one had been passed. Kelly responded that the old one was deemed unconstitutional by the City of Ottawa and we were tasked with adopting a new one. We really didn’t have an old constitution to work with.

    4. Garage Sale

    Johanne Berube and Maritala Robinson gave updates on what is being planned for our community Garage Sale on Saturday, May 9.
    Rosella and Colin will be in the park and setting up tables to sell items, promote the HPCA, and sell hotdogs and drinks. They will need assistance. Laura Bonnett has committed to helping out for a part of that morning.
    Hijal will be canvassing the neighbourhood the day of the garage sale to solicit and collect funds. The money raised will be shared 50/50 between the HPCA and the Play Structure Fund.
    Maritala set a planning meeting for 8 p.m. Thursday, May 7 at her house on Secord Ave. She needs help filling envelopes with balloons. The balloons can be handed out to households who have made contributions.
    Action: Colin will use our UPS account to print off flyers promoting free hotdogs in the park to anyone donating $10 (or more) to the HPCA.

    5. Play Structure Fund

    Leo Derome and Maritala reported on the fundraising efforts so far. Leo recounted how a neighbour approached him after the messaged detailing our efforts to raise funds for the play structure was distributed to the community. The gentleman donated $1000. Maritala was equally impressed with the amount of support shown by members of the community, some on social assistance, who felt compelled to donate significant amounts. From all accounts, we are doing very well at generating funds for the play structures.
    Someone at Convergys has agreed to champion our cause and present a funding proposal to his company’s Community Development committee. We are excited about the prospect of landing a sizeable donation from them.
    Peter asked what would be done to recognize corporate sponsors and Maritala and Leo assured him that plaques in the park would be put up. The companies would also be recognized in our Heron Park Herald.
    Action: Leo will put up a fundraising sign in the park to allow residents to follow our efforts.
    Peter suggested that children in the community could be involved in such a project and thought that a fundraising sign could be painted on the side of the Community Centre.
    Joanne Moran

    Landscape Architect O.A.L.A.

Senior Project Manager

Design & Construction Buildings Facilities and Parks

Infrastructure Services Department

City of Ottawa

    presented information about how she and her department could assist us in our efforts. She said that our current play structures are going to be replaced soon. Our large play structure is going to be recommended for replacement in 2010. It will be put on City Council’s funding agenda for 2010 and she expects that replacement could happen as soon as the spring of 2010. This is of course pending approval of the funding.
    Her department can enhance our efforts by offering matching grants for the money we collect. As long as we are willing to abide by standard requirements for play structures and the established safety, spatial and design limitations, the City will be very willing to work with us. In fact, they can even offer the services of an architect.
    The expected cost for replacing all the play structures in the park is estimated to be around $80,000. Peter asked how much the architect would cost…approximately $3000.00
    Laura asked what could be done about the play structures in Kaladar Park. The structure for older children is fairly new, but a smaller structure is getting worn out. She wanted to know if it was on the renewal schedule.
    Given the recent work on the larger play structure, Joanne didn’t think it was likely that the smaller play structure would be replaced. She suggested however, that a carpenter used by the City is very good at refurbishing smaller play structures. It could be fixed up, “just like new!”
    Laura asked how much that would cost the community and Joanne assured her that the refurbishment was a cost that the City would bear.
    Laura also wanted to know if the water supply and spray nozzle in Kaladar’s spray pad could be refurbished, or replaced to make the pad more functional. Joanne said it was possible to put in a work order to have a plumber check the water pressure, but the cost of putting in new nozzles could be in the area of $100,000. That is not going to happen.
    Peter asked if we had the option of getting a carpenter to refurbish our existing large play structure in Heron Park. Joanne didn’t think that was likely because although the small play structures can be successfully refurbished, the larger ones are usually cannibalized and completely replaced.

    6. Heron Park Herald

    Johanne Berube notified everyone that getting the June edition of the Heron Park Herald out on time would require everyone submitting their contributions by Monday, June 1, 2009.
    The list of contributors and their topics is:
    Maritala-Friday Play Group and Play Structure Fund
    Derek Gour-Website and Facebook
    Rosella-photos from Community Cleanup on Saturday, May 2
    Johanne-Garage Sale
    Connie-Stream barbs project and Jane’s Walk
    Colin-Wednesday Night Program and Neighbourhood Watch
    James-Transportation issues and the proposed changes to local bus route(s)
    Ruth MacDonald was disappointed to have to tell everyone that the March issue of the HPH was not delivered to many homes in our neighbourhood south of Heron Road until very recently. Apparently, the person responsible for distributing the papers to the volunteer deliverers had not done so until a week ago. This accounted for the delay.
    Action: Kelly will find someone to distribute bundles of the HPH to our volunteer deliverers.
    Fabio Onesi asked if we had considered going to a completely electronic version of the HPH. Given the cost savings, it was suggested this might be wise.
    Kelly and Rosella felt that given the large numbers of seniors in Heron Park, it would not be serving their needs if we went to an electronic version only. Although we do have the HPH posted on our website, we actually make money from our paper version through advertising. Plus seniors and other residents appreciate the paper version.
    Peter asked if we had done a survey of residents to gauge exactly who is reading the HPH. Kelly assured him that as valuable as a survey might be, we simply do not have the resources, or volunteer base to carry one out.

    7. Stream Barbs, Jane’s Walk and City Stream Watch

    Connie Berry gave reports on stream barbs, Jane’s Walk and the City Stream Watch.
    The steam barbs have been started. Preliminary structures have already been started in the length of Sawmill Creek below Heron Park. And already there is evidence of vandalism to the structures placed across the stream. She asked everyone to monitor activity in the creek area and inform the City of any vandalism.
    Connie and about 20 other people joined Donna Silver in a walk around the paths looping around water filtration ponds that were created along Sawmill Creek south of Walkley and north of South Keys and Hunt Club. Donna gave a very informative talk about the purpose of the recent work along Sawmill Creek. She is very pleased with the paved walking trails around the newly created ponds, but she would dearly like to see the paths connected to the City’s network of paths and trails. Donna encourages everyone to lobby the City to ensure that the paths do indeed get linked.
    Connie informed us about the City Stream Watch cleanup on Sunday, June 14, 2009. She will be soliciting volunteers for the cleanup of our stretch of Sawmill Creek extending from north of Walkley Road to the Rideau River east of Billings Bridge. The cleanup is being administered by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
    Peter asked if the City of Ottawa would be assisting us during the cleanup. He recalled during previous cleanups of Sawmill Creek how difficult it had been to haul some large, heavy items out of the steep ravine. The use of City equipment would be appreciated. Connie was uncertain of how to formally involve the City, but assured everyone that the location of large items requiring heavy lifting could be noted and dealt with later if need be.
    Action: Connie will send a notice about the cleanup to Angie Kelm to be distributed to everyone on the HPCA mailing list.
    Maritala recounted how on a recent trip to Kunstadt (to make inquiries about the possibility of adding to the PSF tally), two of the employees there, who live in the neighbourhood, had asked her if the HPCA was going to cleanup any of the garbage in Sawmill Creek. She suggested they would be perfect volunteers for the task.
    Action: Maritala will forward the names of the two gentlemen to Connie.
    Connie suggested that anyone interested in participating in the Community Garden could discuss it with her after the HPCA meeting.
    Laura wanted to know who was responsible for cleaning up the pathway from Brookfield to Bank Street. She also wanted to know who is responsible for cleaning up in the former right-of-way for CN Rail. Apparently the area is strewn with garbage. She, her partner and young children cleaned up the area last spring, but given the items they picked up, she didn’t feel it was safe to do so with her children this year.
    Kelly assured her that she had received an e-mail about this issue (perhaps from Laura’s partner) and forwarded the concern to Donna Silver in Councillor Clive Doucet’s office. She was awaiting a response about how best to proceed. She will update Laura as soon as she hears back from Donna.
    Peter asked if the City could come to the ravine and Heron Park to remove fallen trees that had been knocked over during last Saturday’s wind storm (a tornado in some parts of Ottawa).
    Action: Kelly will make inquiries with the City.

    8. Finances

    Rosella MacNeil gave a report on the HPCA’s finances. As of March 31, 2009, we had $8600.15 in our bank account.
    We have raised $2413.00 for the Play Structure Fund ( as of March 31st). About half of that is included in the $8,600.
    Kelly has recently deposited about $800 in cheques into our account. She related how the cashier had warned her that in the future all cheques made out to the HPCA must read: Heron Park North Community Association. If they are not made out in this manner, the cheques will not be cashed, or deposited into our account. There was a suggestion that another teller may have a different response, but it was agreed that the matter should be looked into.
    Action: Rosella will investigate whether or not we can open up another account under a different name, or change the name we are currently supposed to use. She will also see if a separate account can be opened for the Play Structure Fund and if there will be any additional costs.
    Colin inquired as to the status of the $3000 grant the City of Ottawa made to the Wednesday Night Program. He has not yet submitted any receipts to draw from that amount because he has not had the opportunity to sit down and discuss outstanding issues about funding of the WNP with Rosella and Johanne.
    Action: Colin, Rosella and Johanne will sit down and establish a mutually acceptable framework about how best to process Colin’s expenses, funds raised, and the $3000 grant at their earliest convenience.

    9. New Business

    Peter expressed concern about how many of the homes in the neighbourhood have been rented out to university students. This, in and of itself, isn’t of great concern, as much as absentee landlords are. Some of the units rented to students have not been well-maintained. Their properties are often left unkempt and unsightly and some of the students have been disruptive to their neighbours. He has had to call the Ottawa Police Service and City By-Laws to deal with loud and unruly students living nearby. He would appreciate some assistance from the HPCA in dealing with issues related to absentee landlords and disrespectful students.
    Kelly suggested that the most effective way was to continue pressing City By-Law officers to take action. She also advised him to contact Clive Doucet’s office and share his concerns, which are shared by many homeowners in the neighbourhood.
    Maritala suggested looking for information from local real estate agencies so that we could contact landlords and arrange a meeting with them to discuss issues surrounding maintenance of buildings and lawns, disruptive tenants, etc. She felt this could be a constructive means of dealing with the challenge.
    Laura recounted how Old Ottawa South residents were dealing with similar issues over the past couple of decades. Their community association (OSCA) involved the campus student associations and the former mayor and councillor, Jim Watson assisted them in dealing with the problems created by absentee landlords and unruly students.
    Action: Peter will Google OSCA for their contact info and report back about any constructive ideas they may have about dealing with landlords and students.
    Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

Posted on May 11, 2009, in Minutes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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