Category Archives: President’s Report
This year’s Winter Carnival was very well attended, with around 100 participants, and was a great success. Kudos to all involved in organizing and providing the food: Colin MacLean, Rosella Mac Neil, Roselyn Mescher, Donna Silver, Randy Paladeau, and the Wednesday Night Program folks. Special thanks for the high attendance go out to Roselyn for hand delivering many flyers and to Rosella, Anne and Kate Kelm, and Anne Mac Neil for making the new signs. It was a great day in Heron Park.
We have an exciting upcoming event: Quiz Night at O’Brien’s Pub! This will occur on Sunday, April 14 at 7pm. If you want to enjoy a meal as well you should consider coming a bit early so you won’t be distracted from the quiz action. Teams of 3-6 people compete in a trivia competition for prizes and, more importantly, bragging rights as the Trivia Masters of Heron Park! The Board of Directors of the Heron Park Community Association has challenged the other Community Associations in Capital Ward and Councillor Chernushenko’s office to bring teams to compete against us. It is extremely generous of the other community associations to participate as well as extremely sporting to go up against our own skilled contingent! This is a fundraiser for a new community centre in Heron Park. Tickets are $15 each and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me at 613 526-2680. I have enjoyed similar events with our quizmaster, Gordon Smith of SuperQuiz, before. He is very entertaining and it promises to be a really fun night.
Have you been wondering what the little square building is behind the Field House in Heron Park that was installed in January? It is a bunker (which I have christened “Archie”) and will be used to store chlorine for the wading pool in the summer and our snowblower for the rink in the winter. This will make it much more convenient for our rink maintenance squadrons to keep the skating surfaces clear of snow and means the Field House will be safer and more usable for other events while the pool is open. In view of all the benefits he brings, please join me in welcoming Archie to our community.
By the time you read this the skating season will have wound down for another year. This is the first year the Heron Park Community Association has managed the Kaladar Rink as well as the Heron one. It has been a pretty good season, although extremely challenging to get the base ice completed because of the heavy snow mixed with freezing rain back in December. We broke two snowblowers trying to deal with it, and that’s why the skating area wasn’t as large as we would have liked. Because of the new location of the rink boards, we are unfortunately no longer able to make an oval around it, but next year if the weather cooperates we hope to have a much larger secondary skating surface.
In January, Rosella MacNeill and I presented the case against the development at 1055 Secord before an Ontario Municipal Board adjudicator. This was a trial-like process where each side presented evidence, questioned, and cross examined witnesses. The builders hired a well-known and very expensive lawyer and a planner to present their case. We, on the other hand, could not afford to do so, so it was a daunting task, and we were not successful. Frankly, the cards are pretty much stacked in favour of developers at the OMB, so we didn’t stand much chance anyway. However, we cost them a great deal of time and money, and showed that we are not to be trifled with when future cases arise.
The primary reason why we lost is the way that Ottawa’s Official Plan trumps whatever the existing zoning says, and that brings me to the next point. The City of Ottawa is now reviewing and updating its Official Plan. They are required to do this by provincial law, and it’s a good opportunity to try to fix the problems that have cropped up in the existing one. The primary one, in my view, is that “intensification” is taken to mean by the development industry as “I can ignore the zoning law and build whatever I want”, and most of the time, they’re right. To take part, you can go to this URL to learn more and to fill out the online survey: tinyurl.com/aprj5w5.
This year’s spring clean-up was an outstanding success. There were many volunteers out working hard to clean up our parks. Along with the typical bottles, cans, and other assorted detritus this year’s unusual booty included a bike in Sawmill Creek, several tires, and an engine manifold. Thanks to everyone who took part, and a special thanks to Ashley for doing such a great job organizing everything.
We are moving forward on our efforts to get a better community space for Heron Park. This summer we will be meeting with our councilor and city staff in order to develop an action plan. Heron Park has no public school in the neighbourhood, and there is very little publicly available space for community events as well as for groups, clubs, and the like. We need a room that is big enough for large indoor events and for the Wednesday Night Program when the weather’s bad, and we need better meeting space for the community association, for the card players, and for other groups who would like to meet but don’t have any space available. In order to make this happen we need to have input from community members as to what type of space they would like to see built, and what programs or services they might like to contribute to if space was available. We are in a bit of a Catch-22 situation: the city will not provide the space unless there is a clearly demonstrated need, but we can’t demonstrate the need because our current space is so inadequate that we are able to offer very few programs and services. We also likely will need to work on a fundraising program. If you would like to offer your thoughts on what size, type, or location of space we need, or want to get more directly involved, please email me at email@example.com.
As of this writing, we have no information on when or if Midway is going to open on Kaladar Avenue. It may be the case that the owner was not able to procure financing to re-start his operation. Cross your fingers people!
I would like to know if people have experienced problems with speeders and cut-through traffic on Clementine. We have certainly had issues with this in the past, but the city traffic people have demonstrated little interest in finding solutions. Also, have you seen many cars using the parking lot of the TD Bank and Shoppers Drug Mart as a cut-through to get from Bank to Heron, and have you ever been cut off by someone doing this? If these problems continue or get worse, we may be able to get some sort of mitigation, but in order to do so the city needs to hear your complaints. So if these are concerns for you, it might be helpful to, as well as tell me about it, phone 311 at the city and complain. Squeaky wheels get greased.
Summer has ended and its back to the routine of work and/or school, but this fall won’t be entirely routine. The provincial election takes place on Oct 6. I hope everyone takes the time to learn about the candidates and their party platforms and to get out and vote! In this election, you can vote during any day of the election period by getting a Special Ballot at the Elections Ontario office, whose location you can find by going to www.wemakevotingeasy.ca or phoning 1-888-668-8683. You should also be able to find this information on your voter registration card in the mail. (As of this writing I don’t know where the office is located!)
The Heron Park Community Association continues to focus its attention on developing a plan for a new community centre at Heron Park. We think the essential elements include a large activity room, a change room for skating at the level of the rink instead of up the hill, a kitchen, and a meeting room. We are also exploring the potential of adding a daycare facility or an indoor bocce facility. Our goal is to provide activities and services within walking distance and to build a permanent presence in the park that will improve security and enjoyment for all. We can make this happen but to do so we need lots of support. If you would like to see a better facility in Heron Park or if you have ideas for programs that could be offered please let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our local route 115, as many of you are well aware, has now been cancelled and replaced by Route 112, which will arrive every half hour if you live on the north side of Heron Road, but only every hour if you live on the south side. The good news is that Route 112 actually goes to other places besides Billings Bridge – it travels down Heron to Walkley Rd and Russell Rd then to Elmvale Acres. Some trips will also travel on Jefferson, Featherston, and Ryder. The bad news is that once per hour thing. Clearly it would behoove one to pay careful attention to the schedule to make sure that the Route 112 bus one gets on actually goes where one wants to go since some trips will take slightly different routes. If this causes problems for you, please let me know – email me or phone Councilor Chernushenko’s office at 613 580-2424 extension 27441. You can also take your concerns directly to OC Transpo by calling their Customer Relations line at 613 842-3600. Better yet, do all three.
Remember, you can obtain OC Transpo route information by using the travel planner at www.octranspo.com or by calling 613 560-1000 plus the 4-digit stop number. Apparently you can now also get the time the next bus arrives by texting the number of your bus stop to 560560. I cannot vouchsafe this procedure as I have not used it and it seems like kind of a pain to be honest. If you own an iPod, iPad, or iPhone you can download any number of OC Transpo related apps as well, but you probably already knew that.
Midway apparently is going to open on Kaladar Ave at some point, but as of this writing they are not open and their website does not provide an opening date. There is now a small sign above the door at 2477 Kaladar Ave. It remains to be seen whether they will cause problems for our neighbourhood, but if they do please don’t hesitate to notify me and/or Councilor Chernushenko (see contact info above). During the day parking on city streets is limited to three hours and temporary signs advertising a business cannot be placed within 10 m of an intersection or in a median. Bylaw services can be reached at the city number 311. FYI.
The City is working on a Bank Street Community Design Plan for the stretch of Bank Street from the Rideau River bridge to Walkley Road and includes the industrial area on Kaladar. The plan will provide guidelines for how development will proceed in the future. There are some things to like and I think some things we should be concerned about. The plan envisions the Kaladar industrial area eventually becoming more of a mixed use area. They have promised to provide a list of allowed uses and we will be watching carefully to ensure that this does not include things like big box retail. Also, they are suggesting there should be “intensification nodes” at Billings Bridge, Walkley, and Heron intersections where higher density would be allowed, up to 18 storeys. I think this is out of character for the area and “Main Street” zoning density (6 to 8 storeys maximum) would be more appropriate, especially at Bank and Heron. An interesting idea was to have a mixed use pathway along the abandoned rail line starting at Bruce Timermans Park and passing behind the Blue Heron Mall and the Canadian Tire to Brookfield Road. There will soon be another open house to given an opportunity for people to comment on these suggestions. When we find out when and where, we will put a notice on our Heron Park email list. I am of course always eager to receive your feedback on this and other topics.
I hope everyone in Heron Park has an excellent fall season and enjoys the change of the leaves and the return of cooler weather. I know I do. I like summer too, but you know what they say: a change is as good as a rest!
On November 1, the Heron Park Community Association held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Billings Manor Retirement Home. Our hosts graciously provided us with coffee and tea, and TimBits and a vegetable platter were supplied by the Community Association. The evening was enjoyed by all and it was great to meet a number of neighbours whom I haven’t seen for a while.
Our guests were David McGuinty, MP for Ottawa South, and David Chernushenko, Councilor for Capital Ward. David McGuinty spoke at length about recent events in federal politics and issues that concerned him locally. Audience members asked questions and he took the time to respond in detail. David Chernushenko discussed the upcoming 2012 Budget deliberations: the good news is there are no major cuts envisioned, but the bad news is we didn’t get the funding we were hoping for to do a detailed needs assessment for our new community centre project.
Your new Heron Park Community Association executive for the 2011-2012 year consist of: James McLaren, President (which explains why I’m still writing this!); Rodney Ryan, Vice President; Colin MacLean, Treasurer; and Rosella MacNeil, Secretary. Members-at-large are Maritala Robinson, Leo Derome, Adam Dodd, and Jason Garlough. We will continue meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at the Field House (aka the pre-Community Centre). Everyone is always welcome – as I said at the AGM, we discuss issues of importance in the neighbourhood, but with our present group of witty and intelligent participants it’s always a fun evening with friends.
The main focus of the AGM was to discuss our plans for a new Community Centre in Heron Park, as extensively discussed in the last issue of the Herald. Although we do not have funding to do a needs assessment this year, we will continue to move forward on the project. Our next step is to meet with associations in other areas of the city who have successfully obtained funding to build their own community centres and to take a look at those facilities. This is a big goal but we can make it happen if enough people want it. The key is to show the city that we want and need this facility and that it will be a useful and viable addition to the community.
As you may or may not be aware, Midway is now open. We will continue to be watchful to make sure this business does not cause problems for the neighbourhood. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t persuade them not to locate here but there are steps we can take to mitigate any possible negative effects. Particularly if you live on Kaladar or pass by the area frequently, please keep an eye open for problems and be sure to report them to myself (email@example.com) and to Councilor Chernushenko’s office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Bank Street Community Design Plan (CDP) is now more or less complete and will be going before committee and council soon. I think it will be a positive thing for the neighbourhood, especially in that it will rezone the Kaladar light industrial area to “mixed use”. This means there can be residential and retail uses but it’s possible the current industrial uses will continue for a long time. We have worked hard to ensure that no large format “big box” retail will be permitted in the area. This will be a win for us because in the long term it will reduce the amount of truck traffic on Kaladar. While there may be more car traffic, it’s better residential than commercial, and in the long run more residents should mean better bus service. The other big news from the Bank Street CDP is the intent to make a “linear park” along the old railroad right of way running from Bruce Timermans Park to Brookfield Avenue. Certainly for those of us walking from Billings Bridge Mall up Bank Street it would be a more pleasant route. However, considering that much of the railway land is now in private hands, I don’t see this happening any time soon. In any case, residents have made it clear that we expect the ongoing drainage problems behind the Blue Heron Mall to be fixed as part of this development. As for Bank Street itself, the CDP envisages wider sidewalks and limiting the ability to make left turns, but other than that no major changes. Bank Street is and will continue to be a traffic sewer and there’s little we can do to change that. New buildings will have to have their fronts much closer to the street than is presently the case, and that will help to slow traffic because the street will seem more closed in to drivers, but it will be many years before this has a real effect.
Bus service changes for Heron Park have been implemented for some time now and it doesn’t seem to be working out too well. For the north side bus frequency has actually increased, but the buses are often so packed that it’s very difficult to get on and off. Moreover, the number of buses on the street and the noise they generate have been an inconvenience for some residents. Meanwhile, the service on the south side of Heron Road, only once per hour, is so infrequent as to be almost useless. We are exploring options with the help of the councilor’s office to improve this situation, but it will be some months before any changes can be made.
This year’s Winter Carnival at Heron Park was another great success. After inaugurating the annual Capital Ward Cup, a shinny tournament between the four Capital Ward Community Associations, five years ago the winter classic returned to Heron Park. The Heron Park Hackers took advantage of the home ice to start the day by chalking up a win, their first of the tournament! Let me state categorically that this win was in no way related to the fact that yours truly was keeping score. Blessed with some keen new talent, the Hackers looked really sharp as they edged the Old Ottawa South team handily. Unfortunately their cutting attack was blunted by the Old Ottawa East squad, an extremely talented and fast team who eventually won the Cup. In every game the Hackers scored goals and their fast-skating blades continued to chip away at the competition throughout the day. Congratulations Hackers on your record-breaking achievement, and congratulations to Old Ottawa East whose talented skaters truly earned their prize.
Despite a frosty day, young and old at the Carnival enjoyed shinny, broomball, and other games at the Carnival. A visit from Dexter the Dinosaur livened up the afternoon, and hotdogs, hamburgers, chili, and desserts were available courtesy of our top-notch culinary talent of Donna, Maritala, Rosella, Kayla, Judy, Ruth, Cathy, Diane, Jason, Heather, two Sarahs, Roselyn, Olita, and Randy. Thanks everyone. Special thanks to Maritala for buying the food and to Colin for organizing the shinny tournament. We are very lucky to have so many dedicated and resourceful neighbours.
During the Carnival, Carleton architecture student Andrew Slade demonstrated his large model of the park and invited participants to share their ideas for a new community centre. Andrew has been coming to the Wednesday Night Program for some weeks to solicit input as well. His efforts on our behalf have been exemplary and we are truly grateful for all his work. He has done a great deal to make the community aware of our needs and to develop a vision that puts the “community” in Community Centre. Thanks Andrew.
Meanwhile, on the Community Centre front, we are in the process of setting up a registered charity. Once this process is complete people wil be able to donate to build a new community centre and to fund programs in it (such as the Wednesday Night Program) and receive a charitable donation tax receipt in return. It will take at least a few months yet to get everything set up but once we do we will be launching a major fundraising initiative. A community centre that encompasses everything we need (large multipurpose room, kitchen, meeting rooms, possible bocce court, etc) will be of course a major expenditure. We don’t need to raise all of the money to build it but the city won’t take us seriously until we are willing to plunk down some bucks. So please stay tuned, and if you have ideas for a big fundraising event please send me a note at email@example.com. We not only want to raise money but we want to bring the Heron Park community together and to have some fun. So put your thinking caps on!
A number of residents have had problems with the noise and the number of buses on Clementine since the change to the route 112 in the fall. Together with Councilor Chernushenko’s office we have explored various options for changing the bus service, none of which have been entirely satisfactory. In April there will be a change: the 112 route after about 11:30 at night and before 6:00 in the morning will travel on Bank Street rather than on Belanger and Clementine. We hope this change will be less disruptive for those who live near these streets. I know a lot of residents are dissastisfied with this situation and also with the level of overcrowding on the 112. Please keep in mind that the so-called “optimization” in September was really a massive $20 million cut to OC Transpo and many local routes throughout the city were removed, not just the 115. They can’t restore the 115 because they simply don’t have the money to do it. In fact it took considerable persuasion last spring to maintain what service we have in our neighbourhood – the original plan was to remove service entirely from Heron Park South. It’s not only us that’s been suffering but the whole city. We will continue to lobby to improve this situation along with our fellow community associations but it won’t happen overnight.
Our project to build a new community centre for Heron Park is proceeding apace. The City earmarks funds for renewal of existing structures, and in 2014 the Fieldhouse in Heron Park is scheduled to be updated. We are lobbying to have this money re-directed to a new community centre instead, and it’s not unsubstantial – some $350,000 I gather. Meanwhile, the process of establishing a charitable foundation for fund-raising (so that you can donate and get a charitable tax receipt) is moving forward, albeit at a somewhat glacial pace. About a month ago I received a letter from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) stating a representative would be assigned to our file “within 5 months”. Three weeks later I received a letter acknowledging receipt of our application. It listed a whole bunch of information that I had carefully included in our submission as “not provided”. Sigh. In any case the process should be complete some time this fall at which point we will be launching a major fund-raising initiative. Stay tuned!
Recently I, along with the presidents of the other community associations in Capital Ward, along with Councillor Chernushenko, was invited to a breakfast with Mayor Jim Watson. At this meeting we were able to raise issues that were of concern to our areas (and Watson tried to sell his LRT plan to us). I raised the aforementioned community centre concern. I should note that our fellow Capital Ward community associations are very much supportive of our community centre plans. They are willing to dedicate a substantial portion of the cash-in-lieu of parks funding that is available to the ward to our project when the time comes. There was polite disinterest in Watson’s LRT plan among the participants. Also, his “Let’s all move forward together on Lansdowne” note was met with a telling silence. (The “City Beat” guy came along for the ride but I managed to keep him quiet. Mostly.) It was a good to see the Mayor take the time to meet with community people and to hear our concerns.
Development seems to be developing on Bank Street at Rockingham Ave with new retail space planned on the lot where the former Blockbuster store is located. This is currently a bit delayed due to opposition from a neighbouring business but I expect that it will proceed soon. As part of this process there will be landscaping improvements made to Timermans Park next door. Money to do this has been made available through the cash-in-lieu of parks funds made available to Capital Ward. Thanks to Councilor Chernushenko for this! Also, once the development is completed there should be no more problems with flooding on Gilles St. In other development news there is a property on Rockingham a couple doors away from Bank St whose owner is planning a new building on the site. This is somewhat concerning since I don’t think we want to see Rockingham Avenue commercialized. These developments merit careful consideration.
At our June meeting (which will be in the past by time you read this, but is in the future as I am writing it) we will have a presentation from city PR people on the current LRT plan. This should prove interesting and I will report full details next Herald. At present I think we can justifiably feel somewhat less than impressed with this plan, since it will probably entail transferring from a bus to a train at Hurdman in order to get downtown.
We are looking at forming a Traffic Committee that would be invested with the task of detailing the traffic and pedestrian issues that we have in Heron Park and working with city traffic managers to try to get something done about them. For example, one concern that has been raised is the difficulty in crossing the off ramp on Heron Road that goes to Bronson and Riverside if you’re walking along Heron Road to get to the O-Train. If you’re interested in getting involved with this or any other Heron Park Community Association initiatives, you can contact us through our website, heronpark.ca.
We will not be holding regular meetings during July and August, but we will be having a Pool Opening Party on June 30. Thanks to the work of many concerned members of the community, the Heron Park pool will be open on weekends, but closed on Fridays. The city parks people wanted to close it both Saturdays and Sundays, but we have avoided that rather silly schedule. If you have small children, I hope that you can make use of the pool this summer – it is a nice resource to have and, as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it you lose it!
I hope that you have a safe and enjoyable summer.
As you may already be aware, on October 25 we will have a new councillor since Clive Doucet is running for Mayor. I wish him all the best in this endeavour and I think we would be extremely well served if he became Mayor, but at the same time it will be very sad to lose him as councillor. Clive has worked hard for us over the years and without his support we would not be where we are today. City staff and many other councillors have been rather unsupportive of small urban communities over the years, and Clive has constantly had to struggle against this resistance on our behalf. City staff priorities have been to build mega-structure recreational facilities, mostly in the suburbs where development charges go to pay for much of the infrastructure. Even getting windows in our community centre was a hard-fought battle. Obtaining funding for improvements to the playstructure in the park was another big victory that Clive worked for vigorously. City-wide, Clive has fought for many years against urban sprawl and in support of “smart growth” that makes the city run more efficiently and more economically. Sadly, Clive and the city as a whole have lost many battles on this front over the years, most notably the disastrous decision to cancel the north-south light rail plan, a mistake that we are paying for today with the huge increase in car traffic through our area from Riverside South as well as with the $37 million cost of the Siemens law suit settlement. On a personal note, let me say that Clive has been very supportive of my own work for the community and has been a good friend over the years. I wish Clive every success in his campaign – we would be very lucky if he became our Mayor on October 25th!
As of this writing we have five candidates for councillor, and in this issue of the Herald you will find information about them that we hope you will find useful in making your decision. Whomever you vote for, please be sure to vote on October 25th. Municipal politics is very important to all of us, and the city council makes decisions that greatly affect our lives. Unfortunately, a lot of those decisions have been made pretty badly in the last few years, and it is up to us, the voting public, to examine the issues and the candidates and make sure we are electing the best councillors that we can. There will be an all-candidates meeting on October 7 at Glebe Collegiate Institute Auditorium. The exact details of how this will unfold are still to be decided. It will definitely involve the councillor candidates, but it remains to be seen whether Mayoral candidates will be invited as well; it is difficult to plan these events when there are so many candidates (fifteen!).
By the time you read this, two developments in the community that we have been working on for a long time will have come to fruition. Firstly, we will have a sidewalk on Data Centre Road! No more risking your life going to Billings Bridge! The second is that the new play structure in Heron Park should be completed. All our fundraising efforts, combined with money that Clive was able to get for us from a city cash-in-lieu of parking fund, means our park will have much more equipment than we originally thought we could afford. There will be fitness equipment for teens as well as play structures for elementary-school age children and younger kids too. It will be a wonderful improvement to our community. Thanks to Maritala Robinson and Leo Derome for their tremendous work in leading the fundraising and planning effort! They have also lead the effort to spruce up the equipment that won’t be replaced, such as repainting the swings, along with a lot of other volunteers. Kudos, everyone!
As another year comes to a close, it is well to reflect on what we have accomplished and to consider what we should focus on for the next year. We finally have new playground equipment in Heron Park that is vastly better than what we had before. This has taken years to accomplish and is all thanks to the hard work of Maritala, Leo, Peter, and the rest of the fundraising and planning crew. We also must thank our retiring city councillor Clive Doucet for ensuring that city funds from new development that were formerly spent almost exclusively to build roads in the suburbs were made available for our park. This is a continuing source of new funds and it means (hopefully) that our long-held dream of getting some kind of decent community centre may be within reach. We are in the course of planning and discussing what we would like to have in a community centre. I would be happy to hear your comments and suggestions – you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t know what kind of time frame this would be built in or how much building we can expect to get in Heron Park, but as the old saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t receive.
Our long-serving councillor Clive Doucet, who ran for mayor last election, will no longer be serving and we will certainly miss him. Clive worked hard to get a fair share of the city pie for our ward in a city council that always seemed focussed on the wants and needs of the suburbs. He also tried to make decisions that improved the liveability and sustainability of the city. He didn’t always win these arguments and sometimes it was a lonely battle, but he persevered and never sacrificed his principles. He always listened to our concerns and always did his best to help us. Many people would agree that Clive was the heart and soul of council, but he was the brains as well – these functions are by no means incompatible. I don’t think anyone could truly take Clive’s place, but I know that many people (myself included) will do our best to continue the struggle to make our city better. It’s difficult to say goodbye but at the same time it must be noted that Clive has worked tremendously hard on our behalf and has more than earned some time off. He plans to travel in Europe for a while, but I’m sure it won’t be long before he will soon find new challenges to keep him busy and to make yet another contribution to the public good.
Donna Silver, who has worked so tirelessly in Clive’s office for almost as many years, will also be retiring from that position. She was a former president of Heron Park Community Association and although she no longer lives in Heron Park she has always helped us to build the association and has always been a strong advocate on our behalf over many struggles such as the long battle to get access to the Heron Park Fieldhouse, to get windows in it, and most recently to get funding for the new play structures. Donna is taking a well-deserved month off in Cuba after which she plans to start a business.
On a personal note, both Donna and Clive have been excellent colleagues and friends and have always encouraged me in my work with Heron Park Community Association and my other endeavours. I will miss them both but I know they will both still be around and willing to lend a helping hand when needed.
As has been reported elsewhere in the Herald, the Midway issue has been taking a lot of our time and energy lately. We now have an online petition that you can sign at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43385.html. This issue has raised a lot of strong feelings among community members: people are very concerned that such a business will negatively affect their quality of life. The problem, as anyone who lives on Kaladar Avenue can tell you, is that we have a residential area and a light industrial zone situated directly across the street from each other. This has been a constant source of annoyance for people on Kaladar, but the presence of a business such as Midway would raise the annoyance to intolerable levels. We are encouraging the City and, as much as possible, the owners of the land, to consider re-zoning the area to residential, ending the problem once and for all. Even if the land is re-zoned it would take a long time before change occurs. The government can’t re-zone land from an existing use. However, the industrial buildings on Kaladar are mostly quite old and the vacancy rate seems to be fairly high so I’m optimistic that eventually it will become residential homes that would be much more compatible with our neighbourhood.
The city has started a Bank Street Community Design Plan in order to gather input on the rebuilding of Bank Street from the Rideau River to Walkley Road. We are involved in this ongoing study and will keep you informed regarding opportunities for public input and the conclusions of the Plan when it is finally developed. We have been pushing the idea of eventually re-zoning the industrial area on Kaladar with the consultants who are developing this plan. You can learn more by going to www.ottawa.ca and searching for “Bank Street CDP”.
We are working on a proposal for expanded community space at Heron Park which would see the addition of a large multipurpose room that could be used for recreational activities large meetings, etc. With the existing field house, this would give us a real community centre we could be proud of. It would be very helpful if you have ideas about what we need in a community centre or what activities should be happening there to send me a message at email@example.com and let me know.
Our new councillor, David Chernushenko, has established a ward council composed of the presidents of the four community associations in Capital Ward: ourselves, Old Ottawa South, Old Ottawa East, and the Glebe. We will be meeting with him at regular intervals throughout the year in order to share our concerns.
The Emerald Ash Borer has arrived in Ottawa and that means a lot of our ash trees are eventually going to die. There is not much that can be done about it other than removing the affected trees and replacing them with a diverse range of species so that the tree canopy will be less affected by a tree-specific pest in future. In the meantime there is a ban on removing firewood from the city of Ottawa to slow the spread of the ash borer. The city is expanding its tree replacement program and you can get replacement trees delivered at no charge. You can inquire about the program at the www.ottawa.ca or by calling the 311 information number.
It’s been a long, strange trip, but we finally have a registered charity, called the Heron Park Community Building Fund, to which you can donate in order to get a real community centre built in Heron Park. This way, you can make a donation and get a tax credit in return, so the overall cost is lower. For example, a $100 donation after tax credit will cost you only $79.95. Why do we need to raise funds? Other community associations, for example Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East, have undertaken similar campaigns in order to raise money for their community centres. We don’t expect or need to raise entire cost of the building, but in order to show the city that we are serious about a community centre, and that it will be well-used once built, we need to put our money where our mouth is. We will be holding fund-raising events in the near future. In the meantime, if you would like to make a donation, you can contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or why not drop by our monthly meetings at the Heron Park Field House at 7 pm. Normally our meetings are the first Tuesday of the month, but since the first Tuesday in January is New Year’s Day it will be the week after on January 8.
The 40 km/h speed limit signs are now up on Clementine Ave. This is thanks to Marney and Adam for their hard work in getting the required signatures on the petition to have the speed changedHopefully this will make the street safer for all of us. If you notice cars who you think are speeding, making dangerous turns, or failing to stop at a stop sign, it’s worthwhile phoning the Ottawa Police Call Centre at 613-236-1222 extension 7300 to report it. Although the police likely won’t do much in any one particular incident, a recurring pattern of violations will cause them to patrol the street more frequently. Councillor Chernushenko is also getting a speed board that will periodically be placed on Clementine. It will show drivers how fast they’re travelling and collect data which again will help to ensure that our new speed limit is enforced.
We have a date for the hearing in our OMB appeal of the minor variance to allow the lot at 1055 Secord to be severed. It is on Tuesday January 8 at 10 am in the Keefer Room at City Hall. If we are able to succeed this will make the smaller homes in the neighbourhood less desirable to purchase for the purpose of redevelopment, thus helping to keep homes more affordable for young families who want to move into Heron Park.
We now have gone to bi-weekly residual garbage pickup, and the pick-up day has changed to Monday. I hope the transition hasn’t been too stressful. Remember, the green bin will be picked up every week, and you can put any kind of kitchen waste or soiled paper product in it: pretty much anything that doesn’t go in the blue or black box and isn’t plastic or pet feces. (or both!). The City of Ottawa web site has a good tool to determine where stuff goes: tinyurl.com/8mssml4. You can enter the name of an item and it will tell you whether it goes in the blue box, black box, or residual garbage.
This winter, Heron Park Community Association will be operating both the Heron Park and Kaladar rinks. The Vettoretti family has decided not to do it this year. We thank Renso and his family for their many years of hard work to provide excellent skating for the Kaladar area. If you would like to volunteer to help out at either rink this winter, please let us know. Any rink funds left over at the end of the season always go to the Heron Park Community Association for events such as our winter carnivals and the Wednesday Night Program.
As we approach the holiday season, I hope that you and your family have had a wonderful year, and wish you continued success and health in the New Year.