President’s Report Fall 2012
The Heron Park wading pool season has been a big success this summer. After residents expressed their concerns to the councillor the parks department reversed its decision to cut pool hours on weekends and the pool has been well-used by area families. The pool staff did a tremendous job holding great parties and special events. The Wednesday Night Program crew put on barbecues during the pool parties, selling hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, and Freezies. This was very popular and raised lots of money for the Community Association. Thanks pool staff, Colin MacLean, and the Wednesday Night Program participants for a great summer!
We should find out by early September whether our new charitable organization will be granted status by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This has been quite a lot more challenging than first anticipated, but I’m optimistic we will soon be successful, at which point we will launch a major fundraising initiative for a new community centre. We don’t have to raise the entire amount (around $1.5 million to $2 million) for a new community centre but we do need to show that we seriously want this to happen. A charitable organization will help as it means people can get a charitable tax receipt for their contributions.
As many residents will be aware, recently the owners of a small single family home on Secord applied for a minor variance of the zoning in order to build two semi-detached houses on the lot. The reason why they need this is that the lot is about 3 m too narrow for semi-detached dwellings according to the zoning bylaw. Neighbours are not happy with the prospect of a having what is essentially a large two-unit townhouse block next door. Unfortunately, the Committee of Adjustment, who decides these things, voted 3 to 2 in favour of the developers. On the plus side, this was the closest decision I’ve ever seen at the C of A. Usually they’re unanimous in favour of the developer. The wider problem is that this decision becomes a precedent for the next time a developer wants to buy a single family home, tear it down, and build townhouses. Because they will become desirable for such re-development, single family homes in Heron Park would then become unaffordable for actual families. Small homes next door to one of these developments would be far less enjoyable to live in as they would be significantly shaded and probably suffer from increased surface flooding due to the increased run-off from the larger roof area adjacent. As I write this, we are awaiting the written decision from the Committee and we will probably appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. I am not sanguine about the probability of success, but if people don’t appeal these egregious decisions nothing will ever change.
Our Heron Park email list has been quite successful, currently with about 120 members. We have been using the list to announce Heron Park events, and also occasionally to notify people of other local or city events that we think might be of community interest. Recently, I sent a survey to the list asking if people liked this format – 84% of respondents voted to continue to post events that don’t directly relate. However, 87% stated that you would join a separate email list for community events if we instituted one. In view of the difficulty in managing a separate list and the limited number of non-Heron Park events we post, we will keep the email list as it is for now. We may establish a new list later on. If you would like to be added to the email list, or if you have any comments, you can go to our website heronpark.ca , click on “About”, and “Heron Park Mailing List”, and send us a message using the form. (We discontinued the display of email addresses on the web site due to the number of spam messages it generated.) I really appreciate the comments and suggestions that people made via the survey (especially the “keep up the good work” comments!). Common suggestions were to make better use of the website and Facebook, and to try to get more people signed up for the email list. We will work on these in the near future.