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The latest from Frank Etherington

2016 January 27
by Melissa

Thirsty community gardens get $50,000 drink

In a city that is actively supporting community gardens as a way to grow healthy neighbourhoods and human relationships, there’s an ongoing thirst among green-thumb participants to ensure available, reliable water sources.
Three of those 28 Kitchener gardens have been carefully nurtured in the Victoria Park and Cherry Park neighbourhoods of my ward where, because of supply problems, there have been water-source issues.
At a time when produce prices are sky-rocketing, the Queen’s Green garden at Mitchell and Queen as well as two Willow Green gardens in Cherry Park are enthusiastically supported by inner-city residents, particularly newcomer families struggling to survive. In order for gardens to be sustainable and accessible to all participants, they obviously need a convenient source of water.
Which is why I recently supported a council move to budget $50,000 in 2016 that will either hook up gardens to city water mains or continue existing arrangements where water is supplied by nearby houses. In the latter case, Kitchener proposes to directly pay those participating homeowners for water used at gardens in Ward 9 and elsewhere in the city.
I was pleased to see gardeners from Queen’s Green and Cherry Park gardens among those who spoke at a budget meeting open to the public. Their enthusiasm and community spirit helped persuade councillors to approve that $50,000.
And, because of the low cost of achieving priceless neighbourhood benefits being actively supported by Kitchener, I hope councillors  increase our community-garden budget in future years.

Meeting minutes – January 13th, 2016

2016 January 20
by Melissa

Location: Downtown Community Centre, Kitchener

Attendees: Melissa, Todd, Agnes, Anka, Frank, Cathy, Charlotte K, Steve

Regrets: Charlotte A, Gillian, David, Cheryl, Eduardo

1. Welcome/Introductions

· Everyone present introduced themselves

2. City Update (Frank)

* Victoria Park working group serves as an advisory board to Waterloo Council. Delves deeply into the issues of the park. A meeting is coming up in March 2016. Interested members of the VPNA are welcome.

* Jan 12/16 was council budget night. 4-5 delegations came to voice their opinions and concerns. One item that stood out was about the lack of water sources to 4-5 community gardens of the 28 we have in Kitchener. One of the gardens is on Queen st across from Schneider House. There is 50K budgeted to fund water for the public gardens in the region. City is working on getting a permanent water source to those that don’t have it.

* Ice rinks are in at Victoria Park and City Hall

* Manulife Contruction – in phase 1. This work will extend into 2017. Approximately 700 employees will move into the new building.

* Bldg on Joseph St. and the owners of the Tannery will maintain that bldg.. Large accounting firm moving in as Google moves out.

* Major developments coming to ward 9 as the plan with the completion of ION is to demolish the bus terminal to make room for high rise buildings.

* Boat house in VP – complaints about trailer outside, aesthetic insult. The trailer will stay but will be moved closer to David St and be camouflaged.

3. DCC/DNA Update (Agnes Das)

· Neighborhood strategy – sent out letter to letter to promote participation in the neighborhood strategy to all neighborhood associations (NA)

· Question posed: What are some of the challenges that NAs face?

Ø Engaging residents

Ø Finding and keeping volunteers

Ø Identity

Ø Marketing – creating more interest about NAs

Ø The various NAs are all very different and have different focuses, lrg, small, political, non-political

Ø Professional development opportunities were shared

4. VPNA Update (Melissa)

Ø Family Day (Feb 15) plans – sledding skating party; this will be a 2hour event; Melissa will post on social media; Williams usually sponsors and provides hot refreshments

Ø Melissa also shared other opportunities for community involvement including organizations such as the WRRC, FoN, Reception House, and Kitchener Core Neighbourhoods.

Ø Melissa, Cathy and Anka recently visited Reception House on David St. They have been in the neighborhood for 28 years. This is a govt funded agency that supports refugees. They have capacity for 250 annually but are expecting 800 this year. They have 2 other locations in St Jacobs and one on Roy St. They are in the process of setting up a volunteer system and list. They have set up a website for more info:

5. Projects and Committees

· Walk for Wildlife – June 2016 -there will be a walk around VP to raise funds for a community member (Joy) that will support the work she does with supporting and sheltering injured wild animals

· Festival of Neighborhoods – sponsorship of various awards

· Food Forest – this is up and running in VP. There are several fruit trees and some vegetable seeds planted in late fall. Anyone can participate. More to come in the spring, including potentially a perennial swap.

6. Newsletter

· Everyone was encouraged to email Melissa any items they wanted entered into the newsletter.

7. New Business

· None

8. Next Meeting

· February 10, 2016, 7-9 pm, Downtown Community Centre, Kitchener

VPNA AGM – November 22, 2015

2016 January 6
by Melissa

Our annual general meeting was held at the Pavilion on November 22nd, 2015. Once again we held it in conjunction with our holiday potluck. We were planning to hear from local food forest advocate Nicola Thomas but unfortunately she was ill that evening. Thankfully Meaghan Coneybeare from the Sleep Tight campaign joined us for the evening and spoke about the work of her organization. We also encouraged attendees to donate pajamas to her pajama drive. Our chair, Melissa Bowman, gave an overview of everything that the VPNA was involved in over the past year. Attendees also had the opportunity to provide input/feedback through an asset mapping exercise. The VPNA executive looks forward to using the information gathered from this activity in our future planning. At the end of the evening we held elections for our 2016 executive. The results are listed below:

Position title:            Previously held by:    Elected (or re-elected):       Moved by:

President                   Melissa Bowman        Melissa Bowman                  Cathy Lumb

Vice President              vacant                           vacant

Secretary                   Aimee Polevoy            Anke Brozic                           Anna Maste

Treasurer                  Cheryl Evans               Todd Bowman                      David Opper

Program Coordinator Charlotte Keeler    Charlotte Keeler                   David Opper

Newsletter editor     Anna Maste                Anna Maste                          Gillian Veitch

Newsletter distributor Eduardo Cejudo          vacant

Members at large     David Opper                David Opper

–                         Cathy Lumb                 Cathy Lumb

–                         Gillian Veitch              Gillian Veitch

–                                    –                          Cheryl Evans

–                                    –                       Charlotte Armstrong

–                                    –                          Eduardo Cejudo

–                                    –                           Steve Burrows


The new executive will begin meeting in January 2016 and look forward to an exciting year ahead for our neighbourhood!


2016 January 6
by Melissa

Friday, December 11, 2015 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.


Present: Laura Seaman, Rych Mills, Councilor Etherington, Glennis Yantzi, Tom Margetts, Melissa Bowman, Lori Wadsworth (Recorder)

Regrets: Bob Sharpe

Guest: Grant Egerdeen, Supervisor, Facilities Management and Security

  1. Security / Vandalism – Victoria Park Washroom

* Scott Berry welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised that he will be the interim chair of the VPWG group. Introductions were made around the table.

* Grant Egerdeen was in attendance to discuss with the group their concerns regarding the security of the Victoria Park washroom.

* Police and By-law staff are monitoring the washrooms.

* A discussion ensued and the following suggestions were made as possible ways to address the security problems with the washroom:

> Post a list of rules for the washroom use inside the building.

> Change the hours that the washroom is opened from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

> Ask for more police patrols in the park.

> Have a Police presence in the vicinity of the washroom

> Post a sign in the family washroom – for use of children/guardians.

> Make the area around the washroom more inviting for park patrons by using it as programming area i.e., hold some educational sessions or have music playing, etc.

> Move some of the benches currently located near the washroom to the ice rink area and distribute along the pathway in the Commons area.

* Grant advised that he has met with the Downtown Business group and police recently to discuss security/vandalism in the downtown. He will also be meeting with the Working Centre and Roof to talk about the issues.

* It was noted that there is a broken window at one end of the washroom which should be repaired as soon as possible.

Action: As a first step it was decided to keep 2 benches in the vicinity of the washroom and to relocate 5 or 6 benches to areas along the park pathway in the Commons area.

Action: Tom to work with Operations staff to relocate the benches and have them secured.

  1. Review of Action Items List

* Scott reviewed the list of action items with the Working Group.

– Tom advised that in future group members should call the City of Kitchener Customer Contact Centre to report lights not working. The Customer Contact Centre number is 519-741-2345.

  1. Community Garden Update

* Tom provided an update on the Victoria Park community garden (Food Forest). The garden was installed in November.

* Victoria Park staff will be responsible to water the garden and provide some maintenance (trimming around the edges of the garden and turf walkway).

* Rych raised a concern regarding the location of the two no smoking signs in the playground area. The signs should be moved closer to the playground and also two or three more signs are needed.

* Action: Tom advised he would arrange for the signs to be relocated and would determine other spots in the playground area where signs could be posted.

* Concern was expressed that there is rust on the railings/slats of the heritage bridge.

* Tom noted that this issue is on the radar.

  1. Victoria Park Mandate – Review

* This item was deferred to the next meeting.

Holiday Drop and Shop

2015 December 5
by Melissa

DNA Drop and Shop 2015.001

This is a first come-first served event due to limited room capacity. Please grab a free parking permit from the front desk at the DCC. BONUS! Show us receipts for downtown businesses from that day and you’ll be entered in our draw!

VPNA minutes – November 2015

2015 November 21
by Melissa

November 18, 2015 at the Downtown Community Centre

In attendance: Melissa, Cheryl, Gillian, David, Agnes, Frank

City Updates (Frank):

  • Manulife office at Water Street – approximately 400 employees moving in.
  • Research needs to be done regarding lights on the trail – perhaps members of the VPNA can look into this further. Would solar lighting be an option?

DCC Updates (Agnes):

  • Dec 7-12th – Holiday celebration and 10 year anniversary of the DCC. Dec 12th – DNA to provide childcare for the afternoon (to allow parents to run errands, shop downtown). VPNA is willing to provide $50 for child care wages and $25 for supplies (or the Activity Trunk) for the event.
  • The DCC is hiring two new Community Centre attendants.
  • The city of Kitchener is creating an Age-Friendly Community Steering Committee. Find out more here:

Finance Updates (Cheryl):

  • Cheryl has completed the year end financial statements. They will be available at the AGM for those interested.
  • We still have mural fund money set aside. We need to decide if this is project with which we want to proceed. There may be some opportunity for funds with the IHT improvement strategy and the Neighbourhoods Matching Fund.


  • The VPHC lecture that was to happen Nov 17th is now postponed to the new year. Information regarding this event will be posted to social media as we have more details.

AGM (Melissa):

  • This Sunday! We will set up at 2pm on Sunday. We have 4 volunteers for the children’s table. Gillian is working with Charlotte to create a craft for the kids’ table. Anna to pick up the pavilion key on Thursday. Cathy to do decorations. We will do asset mapping as our reflective activity. We have several items donated for door prizes. Melissa to purchase a coffee ‘urn’ from Swanson’s that the VPNA will be able to use for events in the future.

Next meeting:

  • TBD once the new executive is formed after the AGM.

Holiday Potluck and Annual General Meeting

2015 November 17
by Melissa
November 22, 2015
6:00 pmto8:30 pm

Please join us Sunday evening for our Holiday Potluck and AGM. We will have a potluck dinner to start so please bring along a dish to share and reusable cutlery and plates if you can. There will be a children’s craft and toy area so please bring along the whole family! We will have some updates about what the VPNA has been involved with this year, you will have a chance to provide some reflections on the neighbourhood, and we will hear more about food forests from Nicola Thomas. We will also hold our elections for our new executive as well as have some door prizes to give away. Please invite your neighbours out and join us for a fun evening at the Victoria Park Pavilion.

Also, we are a drop off location for the Sleep Tight campaign Pajama Drive. If you are interested in supporting this campaign, please bring along your donation of new pajamas for children or adults to put in our donation box. Find out more about Sleep Tight here:

KYAC Recycled Clothing Sale – POSTPONED!

2015 November 9
by Melissa
November 19, 2015
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

VPNA minutes – Oct 21, 2015

2015 October 24
by Melissa

In attendance: Melissa Bowman, Gillian Veitch, David Opper, Charlotte Keeler, Eduardo Cejedo, Agnes Das, Frank Etherington, Guest – Steve Burrows

Guest: Steve Burrows re: Pumpkin Parade in Victoria Park

  • Resident Steve Burrows would like to create a pumnpkin parade in the park on Nov 1st, 2015. People can bring their jack o’lanterns to the park (by the clock tower) and we will light them up that evening. The City will collect the pumpkins at the end of the event for compost. The VPNA will work with Steve to make this event happen.

Updates from Councillor Etherington:

  • There has been positive feedback on the naturalization project in and around Filsinger Park. This project should help reduce the need for dredging Victoria Park Lake as it serves as a natural filter now.

Updates from Agnes:

  • Week of Dec 7-12 will be Holiday Celebrations at the DCC. It is also the 10th anniversary of the DCC this year.
  • Brock Street (won the capital grant last year) is working on finalizing their project. Their project involves updating Homewood Green and improving the tree canopy along Brock Street.
  • The Centre review has been completed and Agnes has sent out an update summary regarding this review to the VPNA.


  • We are working towards completing the newsletter for delivery in early November.
  • We still need to have a conversation about what the role of newsletter delivery person should look like.  Eduardo will be finishing up his time in this role after this delivery. We will be looking to fill this role at the AGM.
  • We are still looking for several more street reps as well for several areas including Brock St, Garden/Van Camp, and Queen St S.

VPNA updates:

  • The Festival of Neighbourhoods Finale was held Sunday October 18th. The VPNA won the Heritage award for its partnership with the Victoria Park Historical Committee in its first of a series of lectures in Victoria Park. The next lecture in this series is Nov 17th.
  • The Iron Horse Trail Improvement Strategy has been completed and will be presented to Council on November 2, 2015. A digital copy was emailed to the VPNA executive and a hard copy has been provided to the VPNA as well. There are numerous improvements suggested that will impact the Iron Horse Trail in our area.
  • Community garden has been shifted to a food forest. 3 fruit trees (pear, nectarine, and apple) were planted in the Park Oct 21st. The food forest guilds need to be completed by planting numerous herbs and other perennials. This planting will occur Oct 25th. Thanks to Charlotte, Wayne, and the City for helping make this happen. We would still like to have a discussion about the possibility of a more traditional community garden (with plots) within our boundaries if such a location could be identified.

AGM updates:

  • VPNA members have signed up for numerous tasks to help make the AGM happen. AGM is Sunday November 22nd, 6-9pm at the Pavilion. We will set up at 2pm the same day.


  • Aimee Polevoy (Secretary) has resigned from the VPNA executive effective October 2015. Aimee has served in a variety of roles on the VPNA in her five years serving on it. We appreciate all she has contributed to the association and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Next meeting: November 18th, 2015


Pumpkin Parade – Nov 1st

2015 October 24
by Melissa
November 1, 2015
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Here’s your chance to light up the first gloomy November night in our haunted park the evening after Halloween.

While recovering from all those treats, you can show off your artistic carving skills by attending our very first pumpkin festival. The festival, brainchild of park resident Steve Burrows, is sponsored by Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association. It will take place Sunday, Nov. 1 at the park clock tower as soon as it gets dark (7pm).

Local and city residents are invited to display their pumpkins at the clock tower and light them up with candles or battery-driven lights that will be provided.

Steve hopes to start small but hopes the festival will become a city wide event. If and when it does, it will be similar to large pumpkin festivals currently held in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada.

Contact me about any subject at 519.741.2798, or email


Frank Etherington

Councillor—Ward 9

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