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VPWG September minutes

2015 September 29
by Melissa

VICTORIA PARK WORKING GROUP MEETING Tuesday, September 15, 2015 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Kitchener City Hall (Adam Seymour Room “A”)


Present: Bob Sharpe, rych mills, Greg Hummel, Laura Seaman, Councilor Etherington, Glennis Yantzi, Tom Margetts, Lori Wadsworth (Recorder)

1. Washroom Issues

* Rych raised a concern about the amount of vandalism that is occurring in the Victoria Park washroom. He questioned how often Facilities Management has had to replace items in the washroom.

* He noted that signage still has not been installed in the washroom i.e., no dogs, no bikes, no loitering or signage for the family washroom.

* Rych questioned whether patrols of the washroom could be conducted more frequently and suggested that staff have a brainstorming session on ways to deal with the ongoing problems at the washroom. He requested that Tom’s staff clean up any litter around the washroom first thing every morning.

* There was a discussion regarding the problem with people loitering around the washroom. A suggestion was made that perhaps the benches should be removed in the summer to discourage loitering however other group members’ expressed that the benches should be left year round for patrons.

* Greg was asked to invite Grant, Supervisor of Security to attend the next VPWG meeting to discuss the security issues (vandalism, loitering, etc.) at the washroom and how security staff is dealing with the issues.

* A question was asked if it would be possible to obtain stats on how many people are using the washroom facility.

Action: Lori to invite Grant Egerdeen to attend the next VPWG meeting to address concerns with security at the washroom.

2. Heins Pergola

* Rych raised an issue that the shutters on the Heins Pergola still haven’t been removed.

* Greg responded that he has been trying to get information through Special Events on who is responsible for their installation and removal. It is likely a volunteer group which becomes a bit of a challenge in getting them removed.

* Greg will contact Brian Scott in Special Events again regarding the issue of the shutters on Heins Pergola needing to be removed.

Action: Greg to contact Brian Scott regarding the need for removal of the shutters on Heins Pergola.

3. New Playground Issues

* Rych commented that several orange cones located on a section of playground equipment that have required repairs for some time are broken.

* Tom commented that he thought the playground equipment requiring the repairs is the bumblebee steps.

Action: Tom to check into what playground equipment requires repairs.

* A comment was made that the sign for rules at the playground need to be closer to where most people are gathered at the playground. Tom responded that this is on his list of park items.

* A question was asked as to whether the sand box is still in the works. Greg advised that it is and he would find out the timing.

Action: Tom to find out what the timing for the installation of the sand box is.

As an addendum, the installation was completed within three days of the meeting and the issue is resolved.

4. Roland Street Turn Area Manhole

* Rych raised a concern that the Roland Street turn area manhole is clogged as a result of the dirt from the bridge work that was done. This situation could create icy conditions in winter if the water isn’t able to fully drain.

* Greg advised he would have Operations staff flush out the manhole.

Action: Greg to request that Operations staff flush out the Roland Street turn area manhole.

5. Community Garden Location

* Greg updated the group on a new location for a community garden in Victoria Park. The original proposed location turned out to be unsuitable due to the sanitary line going through the site. In addition the home owner living next to the proposed garden location wasn’t happy with the idea of a community garden being next door to her property.

* Tom and Frank have met with Melissa and Charlotte to look at a new location for the community garden.

* The site is off Jubilee Drive closer to Park Street and the garden space itself would be tucked in a corner whether there wouldn’t be conflicting use between park users and gardeners.

* It would be ideal for its walkable access to the garden for residents.

* The garden concept that would be implemented is called a Food Forest whereby each garden would be set up around a tree located in the middle of the garden and the tree would be surrounded by edible plants that work together. The garden would be open to everyone to create it and to pick the produce.

* The garden would consist of 4 circular beds that are 6 x 10 meter diameter.

* Staff at Victoria Park would be available to keep an eye on the garden to make sure it is being looked after. Staff will be working with the gardeners regarding suitable plant types.

* Greg noted that not every park is suitable for a garden. Staff is working on creating a policy for vegetable gardens. The policy would consist of a list of criteria (checklist) for starting a successful garden e.g., must have access to water; location must have street frontage, etc.

* The community garden concept is about building community. The Food Forest is a new concept for this area.

* The Food Forest garden will be a pilot project.

* Staff will be working with the VPNA to make sure the garden initiative is successful.

* VPWG members expressed concern that the group wasn’t consulted by either staff or VPNA earlier in the community garden process.

6. Other

VP Geese

* A question was asked as to whether there is a better strategy for dealing with the geese in the park. The numbers seem to be higher now than earlier in the season.

* Greg responded that the geese that return to the park aren’t necessarily the same geese that were removed.

* There is a huge volume of geese and the population continues to increase.

* Geese tend to pond hop – they will go to one area to feed and then fly to another area.

* Whoever is given the contract next year will continue with current methods which include the oiling of eggs and rounding the geese up.

* Tom commented that for next year there is a plan to band the geese as a way to track the geese that originated in Victoria Park.

Lights in Victoria Park

* Glennis noted that a number of lights are out (12). They are spotty around the Pavilion.

* A light is out on the bridge to the island and a light is out on David Street.

* Group members questioned whether a numbered map of the lights would be available. It would be a useful tool for Working Group members for identifying any lights that are out in the park.

Action: Greg/Tom to contact Facilities Management about replacing the lights.

Power at Band Stand

* Concern was expressed that the power at the band stand is continually left on which creates issues around its unauthorized use.

* Greg noted there is a process for ensuring the power is turned on for events and weddings. There should be a process for ensuring it’s been turned off.

* It was noted that lights at the bandstand need to be kept on at all times for security reasons.

Picnic Area

* Frank commented that the picnic area is heavily used which is good to see. He questioned whether there is anything that can be added or improvements that can be made to that area for the benefit of the park users.

* Tom commented that more garbage cans/recycling units for the picnic area is needed. Staff has been challenged in finding suitable garbage/recycling units in the picnic area of the park; the Moloch can’t be installed in the ground due to tree roots. Staff is looking into the potential of using another type of Moloch i.e., one that has arms.

* It was requested that the issue of more garbage/recycling units in the park be included on the next meeting agenda.

* It was requested that the next meeting agenda include the action item list that Lori compiled and also Victoria Park plans for the area adjacent to the playground (Ashley was working on a master plan).

VPNA minutes – September 2015

2015 September 12
by Melissa

VPNA meeting – September 9th, 2015

In attendance: Melissa Bowman (Chair), Gillian Veitch (MAL), Eduardo Cejudo (MAL), David Opper (MAL), Charlotte Keeler (Program coordinator), Cathy Lumb (MAL), Agnes Das  (DCC Coordinator)

The meeting was held at the DCC.

Councillor’s Update

  • No new information at this time

City Update:

  • VPNA members were updated on fire drill procedures.
  • Kitchener Outdoor Master Plan – Sept 16th workshop, to be followed by a public open house. VPNA is encouraged to attend.
  • King East Neighbourhood Association is up and running after a hiatus.
  • Program information for the winter session is due to Agnes early October.
  • The DCC is entering into some new partnerships including Autism Teenage Partnership and the Sexual Assault Support System.
  • The VPNA may want to start considering options for events to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
  • Neighbour Day 2015 was a great success. Neighbour Day 2016 is already scheduled for June 11th.
  • The VPNA may want to highlight various DCC programs on its Facebook page.


  • Finding people to deliver newsletters as well as a newsletter coordinator continues to be challenging. We will explore options for these roles at our October meeting.

 VPNA Update:

  • Transforming The Henry Sturm Greenspace Shed: community space, theater groups, artists, outdoor amphitheatre – we need to consider whether to pursue this.
  • We need to look into whether the iron horse art installation is still in process.
  • Food forest ground breaking should be happening end of September. Melissa will stay in touch with Tom at the City to see if we can make a small event about this. We should look into a permanent sign here as well. We may want to focus some Facebook posts/newsletter information on harvesting etiquette, what is in season when, etc.

AGM plan:

  • Nov 22nd at 6pm – the pavilion is booked
  • The Chair will send out an email with AGM tasks for everyone to sign up
  • We need to consider how to best publicize this event
  • A discussion was had about possible speakers. Eduardo suggested a representive from the CoK to discuss stormwater management. Charlotte suggested Nicola could speak about food forests given that we are working towards our own food forest. We could then also have a sort of theme for the AGM about local foods perhaps.

rych mills: Lecture series will start up again in November

Next meeting: October 21st, 2015 –AGM planning; discussion about newsletter delivery

Councilor Corner: More Neighbourhood Groups Doing More Good

2015 July 14
by admin

An update from our city councilor, Frank Etherington:

An interesting neighbourhood trend is quietly developing within the boundaries of Victoria Park, Mill-Courtland and Cedar Hill, Victoria Park and several other Kitchener communities in Ward 9 and elsewhere in the downtown.

The trend involves the increasing activities of small, well-organized community groups that are functioning independently on various issues and interests under the broad umbrella of Kitchener’s large and established inner-city neighbourhood associations.

Latest in this development is seen in a Ward 9 organization dubbed the Schneider Creek group recently formed by residents living on and around Benton, Cedar, Peter, Martin, Bruder and Whitney. The group is already showing a healthy, active interest in neighbourhood issues like planning and the future housing intensification impacts expected in their communities as Light Rail Transit transforms inner-city communities during future years.

In addition, the groups are knitting communities closer together by organizing social events like  street closures, porch parties and potluck suppers. One enthusiastic group of Brock Street residents won a $21,000 city cash award to complete a Victoria Park neighbourhood project. With financial and other support from city staff, that project will either involve improvements to a small parkette at the end of Homewood Avenue or a series of plantings to upgrade the neighbourhood tree canopy.

VPNA minutes – June 17th, 2015

2015 June 19
by Melissa

VPNA meeting – June 17, 2015

In attendance: Melissa Bowman (Chair), Gillian Veitch (MAL), Eduardo Cejudo (MAL), Cindy Ward  (Delegate), Frank Etherington (Ward 9 Councillor), David Opper (MAL), Aimee Polevoy –Secretary , Agnes Das  (DCC Coordinator), Anna Maste (Newsletter Editor)

Absent: Cathy Lumb-MAL, Cheryl Evans-Treasurer, Charlotte Keeler-Program Coordinator

The meeting was held at the DCC

Delegate from Schneider Creek Neighbourhood Group

  • Cindy Ward presented two new community building events in the area of Whitney Place/ Bruder/Benton St neighbourhood.
  • Saturday July 11 3-6  Neighbourhood BBQ & Potluck
  • Schneider Creek Musical Porch Party July 25, 4-7 pm
  • There will be local musicians performing live music on various porches in the neighbourhood.

Councillor’s Update

  • Walk around on June 18, 2015 for the community garden to look for a new location. The original location had to be relocated from Heinz/Theresa, due to concerns from a local resident.  There are two different new locations that we are hopeful will be a better fit.
  • Opening of the playground on June 1st, 2015 9:30 AM. Despite the weather and the early time of the event, there was a good turnout for the Grand Opening of the new playground. City officials including Mayor Vrbanovic, Councillor Etherington attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
  • Geese update:  due to the age of the goslings they have to delaying sending them to summer camp. They are usually removed by the time the KW Multi-Cultural Festival is scheduled.
  • Heritage requirement violations in Victoria Park raised by the public and residents:


  • An external refrigerator truck  used for extra cold storage by The Boathouse.  It is not in keeping with Heritage Requirements.
  • The storage used by the boat rental company does not fit with Heritage Requirements
  • There appears to be an influx of raccoons in the park
  • The Heritage Bridge is repaired and opened

Complaints from residents about the Rave at Bingemans

City Update:

  • 1st Neighbours day  June 13th: over 400 people attended the free event. There was a free pancake breakfast and many activities to engage in. VPNA brought a map and asked people what they liked about the area.  They also had bubbles and chalk for the children. Arpilleras put on a quilting event.


  • Due July 21st  (August 7th newsletters delivered)
  • Registration for fall programs August 11
  • Publication Review: survey online for best of times, your Kitchener and Leisure
  • Waterloo Wolverine Basketball Academy  will be having a free drop-in at the DCC. It is open to 12-17 year olds. June 16 7-9 pm, June 23 7-9 pm and Thursday June 25 7-9 pm

 VPNA Update:

  • Sad News from Brock Street:  A vigil was held on June 15th for Lorrie Baechler who was a well-loved local resident. The VPNA extends our sympathies to the families and friends of Lorrie. Melissa Bowman attended.
  • Thursday 5:30 meeting on the Homewood  Green Parkette  to discuss how to utilize the FON neoighbourhood improvement grant.
  • Newsletter Article items due by July 13th
  • Tamarack Conference: Melissa attended a community building conference. She learned about neighbourhood strategies that focused on strengths as well as what to improve. “ABCD (asset based community development)”
  • Street Reps: in the past street reps had more of an “eyes on the street” role. They were not just there to deliver newsletters. The reps would give feedback about what was going on in the neighbourhood. They acted as Community Connectors. The VPNA is looking into shifting the roles of the reps or appointing separate reps. This might improve the connections in our neighbourhood.
  • Transforming The Henry Sturm Greenspace Shed: community space, theater groups, artists, outdoor amphitheatre
  • Next Public Input session for The Iron Horse Trail June 23 Victoria Park Pavilion 5:30-7:30pm
  • Park opening could have had better weather, but it was a great success
  • Volunteers badly needed for pop up city event June 27th 4-7PM Lantern Event Please contact the VPNA if interested,

DNA AGM: (attended by Anna)

  • Presentation by a city planning rep for ION stations

AGM dates for the VPNA

rych mills: Lecture series will start up in November

 Monday June 29 The City wants to present the VPNA with an award for 40 years of service

Gravity Chamber is interested in installing exercise equipment throughout the Park

Next meeting: July 29th – future planning/direction for the VPNA

Neighbours Day

2015 May 22
by Melissa
June 13, 2015
9:00 amto12:00 pm

Neighbours Day Logo

Event location: Downtown Community Centre

Hours: Open 9-3 p.m.

Help us celebrate the Downtown Community and join us for a fun day where you can meet your neighbours, get involved with activities for all ages, take a tour of our community centre and win prizes.

Schedule of activities

9 – 10:30 a.m.    Pancake Breakfast for everyone while quantities last.

Start the day off right with a free Pancake Breakfast.   Join us for pancakes, sausages, coffee, tea and juice.

10 – 11:30 a.m.     Fire Truck visit

Our local fire fighters will be stopping by encouraging people to explore the truck, take pictures and ask questions.

9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.          Various Activities

Fun for all ages!  There will be live music and demos of pickleball, belly dancing and zumba.  We will have face painting, sidewalk chalk art, bubbles, BINGO, a community art project and a scavenger hunt that will help you to discover all that the DCC has to offer!

**Please note: You are welcome to take a tour of our facility anytime from 9-3 p.m. Just ask one of our staff or volunteers!

Prizes and giveaways

Come join the fun and you could WIN!

There will be a FREE giveaway to the first 100 guests at our event (one per family)
Enter for your chance to win a pair of day passes to Bingemans, AND enter for your chance to WIN one of Four Grand Prizes!

Grand prizes will be drawn at the twilight after party located at Kiwanis Park from 5-8 p.m.

Victoria Park Playground – Official Opening

2015 May 22
by Melissa
June 1, 2015
9:30 amto10:00 am

 You’re Invited…

 Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Victoria Park Playground

Monday, June 1  9:30—10:00am

Light refreshments to follow—children very welcome

Victoria Park has been a favourite place of play and recreation for children, caregivers and parents alike since the park first opened in 1896. Many amenities have been added to the park over the years, such as the playground that has been enjoyed by generations of citizens.

In celebration of the newly installed playground we are having a Grand Opening of the playground, which will include a ribbon cutting and light refreshments following. Acknowledgments will also be made about the newly replaced Roland St bridge and resurfacing of the Pavilion parking lot. The media have also been invited to cover the opening of the new playground.

The event will be moved to the Victoria Park Pavilion if it is raining that morning.

We hope you will join us!

VPNA Minutes – May 20, 2015

2015 May 22
by Melissa

VPNA Minutes May 20,2015  Location DCC

In attendance: Melissa Bowman, Agnes Das, Aimee Polevoy, David Opper

Absent: Cheryl Evans, Charlotte Keeler, Anna Maste, Cathy Lumb, Gillian Veitch, Edjardo Cejudo, Coun. Frank Etherington

Councillor Update:

  • Melissa shared some information about the recent walkabout with the VPWG.  Details will be posted on the website. Roland St. Bridge is under repair.  There was damage to the heritage bridge due to construction vehicles.

City Update: Agnes Das

  • There is a publication review of: The Best of Times, Leisure Guide and Your Kitchener. The City wants to find out if they are serving the needs of the population through the publications. There is an online survey on the City of Kitchener website.  Melissa will attend an in-person review on June 1st on behalf of the VPNA.
  • There is a Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Waterloo Regional Museum on Friday May 22, 2015
  • Neighbour Day is June 13 from 9-12. The VPNA will have a booth and activities at the DCC. All community centres across Kitchener will be celebrating that day. The DCC will be having a FREE Pancake breakfast and refreshments as well as draws and prizes.
  • Brock Street (With the FON neighbourhood improvement grant) is considering making improvements to Homewood Green on the corner of Homewood and West Ave and consulting a City Forestry Technologist about improving the tree canopy on Brock St.
  • City Sponsored Professional Development courses: What variety of courses would benefit neighbourhood associations?


VPNA Updates:

  • There will not be a summer newsletter.

Event Re-Cap:

  • The Jane’s Walk Bird Watching event was a big success. Around 18 people were in attendance and there was a lot of positive feedback.  Several people wanted more events like this.  The walk leader David Gascoigne said he would be happy to lead another event in the future.
  • The Girls Running Club is winding down in June.
  • The VPNA Earth Day Clean -up was successful with a great turn out.  It was helpful to partner with Tim Horton’s on this event.
  • The Tannery Building held an event to celebrate Shoreline Clean- up Day.  They collected 11kg of garbage.
  • Community Garden: still in the working process.

Upcoming Events:

  • The “Official” new playground opening Monday June 1st 9:30 AM
  • Pop up city event June 27th – potentially partnering with Michelle Purchase for a Chinese lantern event on Roos Island.  Melissa meeting with Michele and also Eric Rumble on May 26th to look at possibilities.

Iron Horse Trail Improvement Meeting:

  • Wednesday May 20 9:30-10:30. Melissa Bowman and Aimee Polevoy attended a meeting with Josh Joseph from the City of Kitchener.  The City is looking for insight on improving the Iron Horse Trail experience.  There will be a committee formed to address issues and suggestions. There was also a Safety Audit on Tuesday May 19, an online interactive survey/Map created and on site feedback stations planned in the upcoming weeks. Please check the City of Kitchener website and FB page for updates.


  • May 23 at 10 AM at the Downtown Community Center. Reps from ION will be the guest speakers.

Tamarack Conference:

  • Melissa Bowman is attending the Tamarack Conference in Hamilton, Ontario June 8-10, 2015. The City has graciously covered the expenses for the 3 day conference.  This year’s theme is Reimagining you Community .

Meeting format:

  • We discussed potential possibilities for a new meeting format as it seems challenging for most people to make our monthly meetings work consistently into our already full schedules.  Melissa will send an email out to the executive with further details, looking for feedback.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25pm.


I Choose Dignity event

2015 May 20
by Melissa
June 12, 2015
5:00 pmto8:00 pm

2 I_Choose_Dignity 2015 poster

Check out the poster for this free event that’s happening downtown and supports the work of Extend-A-Family.

Birdwatching in Victoria Park – Jane’s Walk

2015 April 25
by Melissa
May 2, 2015
8:00 amto10:00 am

You will never look Victoria Park the same after joining this walk, facilitated by David Gascoigne, a life-long birder and president of Waterloo Region Nature. We will discover how many birds live in the park year-round; how many of them arrive during the spring; where they perch and what they eat. Come down to the park and enjoy a morning at this magnificent green area of Kitchener and marvel at the nature existing within the city. A wonderful venture and learning experience for all!  Find out more here:

Victoria Day in Victoria Park

2015 April 25
by Melissa
May 18, 2015
11:00 amto1:00 pm
On Monday May 18, the Victoria Park Historical Committee presents the annual Victoria Day in Victoria Park event. At 11am, speakers at the Queen’s monument will detail the connection between the monarchy and the park as well as how those connections differ in 1896 when the park opened, and today, 2015.
At 12 noon, the Kitchener Musical Society band will once again present an hour-long concert of traditional and modern band music on the Roos Island bandstand.
The Victoria Park Gallery opens for its 20th season on the long weekend, every Saturday, Sunday and holiday afternoon from 12 until 4. Come explore some of park and community history at the Victoria Park Gallery, located beside the pavilion at 83 Schneider Avenue.
All activities are free and everyone is welcome. Bring a lawn chair, a light lunch and enjoy Victoria Day in Victoria Park. For information contact or at 519-742-4990.
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