|May 2, 2015|
|8:00 am||to||10:00 am|
|8:00 am||to||10:00 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: http://janeswalk.org/canada/kitchener/bird-watching-victoria-part/
|May 18, 2015|
|11:00 am||to||1:00 pm|
|11:00 am||to||1:00 pm|
In attendance: Melissa Bowman, Anna Maste, Cheryl Evans, Charlotte Keeler, Gillian Veitch, David Opper, Agnes Das, Frank Etherington
Guest: John MacDonald
John informed us that his architecture firm is working on a project with residents to help identify what the consider their neighbourhood. He sought some input from the VPNA on this issue as well. Members of the VPNA outlined their ‘neighbourhood boundaries’ on a map for John. Melissa will deliver this back to John to use in their project.
Updates from Frank:
- Playground to open mid-May, part of the fence was knocked over and some people were playing on equipment. Update since meeting: the City opened the playground April 16th and VPNA celebrated the opening on April 18th – great turnout. Registered the event with the Festival of Neighbourhoods.
- Community garden – it still seems that the plan is for the garden to go ahead, with a potential opening date of the May long weekend. Still waiting on some information from Greg H though.
- Canoes in the park – unclear as to whether there will be canoes to rent in the par this year or not.
- We decided not to publish a summer edition of the newsletter and instead focus getting the word out at events and through social media.
- We still need a few more street reps especially in the Spadina, Queen, Van Camp areas.
- We may want to consider creating a professional development line in our budgeting that could allow for members to attend workshops and conferences.
- Melissa requested financial support for upcoming Tamarack Community Conference. The board decided to dedicate half of the remaining costs (~$200) with the DNA covering the other half.
- Playground re-opening event: April 18th, 1-2:30pm at the playground. Purchase juice and cookies. Set up booth.
- Earth Day Cleanup: partner with Tim Horton’s clean up. April 25th 10-12.
- Movie night: April 17th at 6:30pm. Chicken Run. We looked into the possibility of an outdoor movie in the park. Due to licensing costs, it does not seem feasible at this time.
- Jane’s walk: the link is up and there has been some media interest. There is also a Jane’s bike ride along the Iron Horse Horse that may be of interest to our group.
- Neighbour Day: June 13th. It runs 9-3 though we need to decide if we want to be there the whole time or not. We will have science projects on display as well as something from the Arperillas group. Cheryl shared an idea to have a large map at this event and to have people write/draw neighbourhood ‘assets’ on it. We will also plan on doing the seed paper activity that Eduardo sent out. We will meet May 8th at 6pm at the DCC to create the seed paper. Family friendly evening and we’ll order in pizza.
- Pop-up city: June 27th – all day. People seemed interested in pursuing this. Several ideas shared but most liked the idea of doing something garden related…perhaps creating a large scale model of our community garden (maybe out of recyclable materials).
Incorporation: Melissa briefly shared some ideas from the incorporation meeting she attended in April. We will explore this more deeply at a future meeting.
Next meeting: May 20th, 7:15pm
VICTORIA PARK WORKING GROUP MEETING
Friday, March 27, 2015
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Kitchener City Hall (Adam Seymour Room “A”)
Present: Rych Mills, Bob Sharpe, Greg Hummel, Laura Seaman, Councilor Etherington, Glennis Yantzi, Tom Margetts, Melissa Bowman (VPNA), Lori Wadsworth (Recorder)
Regrets: Ashley DeWitt
Guests: Jeff Young and Jennifer Zunic, Special Events
Introductions – Supervisor of Major Parks & Horticulture
- Tom Margetts was introduced as the new Supervisor of Major Parks & Horticulture.
Victoria Park – Special Events Schedule – Summer 2015
- Jeff Young and Jennifer Zunic from Special Events were in attendance to review with the group the list of events that are taking place in the park this summer.
- It was noted that the Earth Day event on April 25 will consist of a cleanup of the park. It hasn’t yet been determined whether the park cleanup will be in the area around the pavilion or on the Island. Melissa commented that the VPNA is planning on having a booth at the event.
- The National Aboriginal Day on the Island (June 20-21) is a non-amplified event.
- A new event taking place on the weekend of July 9-12 is the Kultran World Music Festival. The first night of the event (the Thursday) will take place in the Pavilion. On the Friday the event will be held in Civic Park and on Saturday and Sunday in the Commons area with live music on a stage. Jeff is encouraging the event organizer to move the event on the Saturday/Sunday to Civic Park as the event doesn’t require such a large space as the Commons.
- The Day in the Park (date TBD) will be a small event consisting of displays at the Clocktower.
- Rib Fest will be held on July 17, 18 and 19th. A comment was made that the event organizer needs to be mindful of the problem with grease residue. It was noted that the event gets charged back with any damage to the grass caused by grease residue.
- Bluesfest in August will be pretty much status quo as last year.
- August 16th is Kids Park.
- The Link picnic will be held on August 22 to 23 in the Commons area. Frank commented that he has received a number of complaints in the past regarding the loudness of the music at the Link Picnic. The event organizers need to be cognizant of the volume level of the music.
- December Christmas Fantasy will be a stand-alone event (the opening will be separate from Christkindel) and run every Saturday in December until Christmas. The format of the event would be similar to the way it was in the early years with the Christmas lights focused on the island as opposed to all areas of the park which will reduce lighting costs. There would be activities including crafts, sale of hot chocolate, as well as music in the band shell.
- Regarding the Cruising on King event, the Commons will be used as a staging area for the vehicles during the day.
- It was noted there is a perception that more and more events are occurring in the park. The park has reached its capacity in terms of the number of events it can handle. Of particular concern are the large events and the pressures these events put on the park. Some events are just too big for the park. It seems however that the number of events in the park has stabilized.
- Jeff commented that there just isn’t the availability in the events schedule to add more events in the park. Also, some of the events are as big as they can get i.e., Blues and Rib Fest.
- A question was asked as to why Word on the Street was moved from Victoria Park to the downtown. Jeff responded that the attendance was starting to go down. The organizers felt that the downtown location might draw more people to the event. The date of Word on the Street has been moved to another weekend so that it isn’t on the same weekend as Doors Open.
- A question was asked as to whether any type of assessment has been done to gauge if the events in Victoria Park/downtown are having an economic impact to the downtown businesses. Jeff responded that an assessment hasn’t been done. Special Events staff is working with the BIA Marketing Committee to help them in their work with downtown merchants to take advantage of downtown events. Ultimately, the onus is on the downtown merchants to attract people to spend money in their establishments.
- Jennifer advised that a schedule of the events would be sent to the Victoria Park neighbourhood residents. Road closure tags would be attached to the schedule. The road closures apply to Multicultural Festival, Ribfest and Kids Park.
Advertising Signage Outside of the Boathouse
- Rych raised a concern with chalk boards outside of the boathouse that contain brand name advertising. Brand name advertising goes against what is considered acceptable advertising in the park. The outdoor advertising at the Boathouse needs to be restricted. This includes brand name advertising on the patio umbrellas. This issue needs to be brought to the attention of Boathouse management.
- Frank commented that there is an overall advertising policy for advertising in parks and that he also believes there is something in the Boathouse lease related to advertising at the Boathouse.
- Greg advised that he would take a look at the lease and any reference to advertising restrictions at the boathouse.
Action: Greg to review the Boathouse lease for any reference to advertising.
- Rych suggested that perhaps special chalk boards could be created for the Boathouse in a style consistent with the park.
- It was noted that the post for the gates at the Boathouse that close to make a patio are bent.
Action: Greg to contact FM regarding the boathouse gates/bent posts.
Victoria Park Updates
Island Bridge Repair:
- At the VPWG meeting an update regarding the island bridge repair wasn’t available, however subsequent to the meeting Mark Parris the Landscape Architect assigned to the project has provided the following update: work to remove the existing structure will be starting on April 20, 2015. The bridge will be replaced with a structure identical to the forebay pedestrian bridge that was installed in 2013. The bridge will be closed for approximately 5 weeks.
- The new geese contract is with Abell Pest Control. Abell has started their geese control work in the park. Josh Shea, Natural Area Coordinator at the city is taking the lead on geese control at the park.
- Staff has sourced out lighting that contains LED lights that shine down as opposed to up. The lights contain the same globe style as the original lights. Five lights on the island will be replaced. The parts from those lights will be used to maintain the remaining lights if required. There will be a replacement plan for those lights over time as their parts are no longer usable.
Victoria Park Playground:
- The playground work will be completed early this spring. Melissa commented that she would appreciate knowing the date as VPNA would like to hold a grand opening.
- Subsequent to the VPWG meeting, Ashley has advised she doesn’t have a confirmed date for the completion of the playground as it is weather dependent. She suggests that the VPNA pick a day in mid-June for a grand opening. The grand opening doesn’t likely need to be the next day after the fencing comes down.
- Greg advised that the proposal for a community garden at Heinz and Jubilee has been given approval. There are a few issues that need to be worked through, i.e., the orientation of the site to Heinz and Jubilee, access route for water, etc. Staff will work with the neighbourhood to mitigate any concerns. Staff will meet on site and look at the plan. The final plans will be in place so that the garden is ready for planting for the May long weekend.
Pavilion Parking Lot:
- A question was asked as to when the final asphalt coating and markings of the Pavilion parking lot will be done. It was suggested that the work be coordinated with the David Street asphalt work. Greg advised he would check with Engineering regarding the Pavilion parking lot asphalt work and whether it could be done in conjunction with the David Street asphalt work.
Action: Greg to contact Engineering staff regarding the Pavilion parking lot asphalt work and whether it can be done in conjunction with the asphalt work on David.
Victoria Park Washrooms:
- Concern was expressed that there is nothing on the Sharps Kit located in the washroom to indicate what it is. Also additional signage is needed to indicate “no bikes, no dogs and no loitering” in the washroom.
- Greg advised he would contact FM regarding the signage needs at the washroom.
Action: Greg to contact FM staff regarding signage needs at the washroom (Sharps Kit, “no bikes, no dogs and no loitering).”
- A plan is in the works for landscaping at the back of the washroom building.
Canoeing on the Lake:
- Greg was asked if there will be canoeing on the lake again this summer.
- Greg responded that he assumes there will be canoeing on the lake again this season.
Action: Greg to confirm that canoeing on the lake will be happening again this summer.
Sidewalks around the Park:
- A concern was raised regarding the need for better connections for some of the sidewalks and trails in the park to roadways i.e., the crossing in front of Boathouse at Jubilee and running parallel to David Street. Water Street is another area where there is a need for a sidewalk. An overall plan is needed.
Action: Greg advised he would have Ashley look at this issue as part of a long term plan for the park.
Proposed Trail/Rail Crossing at Victoria Park near Victoria St S and West Avenue:
- Greg updated the group on the status of the proposed trail/rail crossing at Victoria Park (from Iron Horse Trail to the Victoria Park forebay pedestrian bridge).
- Staff has opted to go with the whistle at the crossing as opposed to installing crossing rails as this option is very costly (approximately $30,000 to $50,000).
- The noise from the whistle would fall within the City’s noise bylaw, also the trains don’t run through the park at night.
- GER has requested that the City acknowledge via a letter that whistle blowing may occur at this new trail/rail crossing.
- Once GER has received the letter the rail crossing agreement approval process for the new trail/rail crossing work will proceed.
- Greg will have Ashley bring the drawings for the trail/rail crossing to the next VPWG meeting.
Action: Ashley to bring drawings for the trail/rail crossing to the next VPWG meeting.
The VPWG decided to have a park walk to be scheduled for the end of May or early June.
Action: Lori to schedule a Victoria Park walk for the end of May or early June.
Now that a majority of councillors have voted to flatten yet another downtown historical building, I will soon be left searching the rubble for answers to questions about how the few remaining heritage structures in the core can be saved. Confronted with safety concerns about the condition of the former Mayfair Hotel at Young and King a majority of council members — Mayor Berry Vrbanovic along with Couns Scott Davey, Dave Schnider, Kelly Galloway-Sealock, Bil Ioannidis, Paul Singh and downtown councillor Sarah Marsh—voted to remove its potential heritage designation so the building could be flattened. I joined Couns. John Gazzola, Yvonne Fernandes and Zyg Janecki to oppose the demolition.
Before that vote took place, I moved that council defer the Mayfair decision for two weeks so the city could obtain an independent report on the issue from a heritage restoration expert. That effort failed 7-4 with similar opposition and support from councillors. Which is too bad because similar expert opinions and reports have helped save unsafe historic buildings that once faced the wrecking ball elsewhere in Waterloo Region and other parts of Ontario.
After extensive damage to the Mayfair’s foundation was recently discovered, two engineering reports quickly declared the building unsafe and, concerned about public safety, the city’s building director recommended to council that an intention to designate the heritage building be removed so it could be demolished. Strange that the Mayfair would be condemned as unsafe when, at time of writing, hundreds of pedestrians continue to freely walk by the King Street frontage of the site while the Young Street portion has been closed to the public. And, how ironic that councillors voted unanimously at a recent council session to accept a report documenting 55 cultural landscape locations in Kitchener. One of those landscapes includes the former Mayfair as part of a downtown landscape worthy of preservation.
I suggested the deferral because, for past decades, Kitchener council has had a very dubious record of heritage preservation starting with a vote to tear down its old city hall about 45 years ago. More recently, structural damage caused by neglect resulted in demolition of other downtown heritage buildings including the Forsyth Shirt Factory and the Barra Castle apartments on Queen Street.
As a downtown councillor who ran for election with heritage preservation as a priority, I feel strongly council has a responsibility to do everything possible to protect and nurture its heritage buildings. I’m very disappointed councillors didn’t delay demolition and fully investigate potential ways to preserve the Mayfair.
|April 25, 2015|
|10:00 am||to||12:00 pm|
Tim Hortons community clean-up - Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m.- noon, Victoria Park (downtown Kitchener). No registration required. Clean-up supplies provided. FREE Tim Hortons snacks, prizes and t-shirts and entry into a draw for a mountain bike (two bikes to be won on-site!). For more information or to volunteer as an event ambassador (set-up and support), please contact Jenn Zunic at 519-741-2200 ext. 7587; email@example.com
In attendance: Lorraine Grenier (MAL), David Opper, Agnes Das (DCC Coordinator), Melissa Bowman (Chair), Charlotte Keeler (Program Coordinator), Eduardo Cejudo (Newslatter Distributor), Gillian Vietch (MAL), Aimee Polevoy (Secretary)
Absent: Cathy Lumb (MAL), Anna Maste (Newsletter Editor), Councillor Frank Etherington (Ward 9), Cheryl Evans (Treasurer)
Frank’s Update: The sharps boxes have been installed in the public washrooms at Victoria Park, as well as several other locations throughout the city.
DCC Updates (Agnes Das):
- Neighbour day: June 13, 9am-3pm (tentative times). All City community centers open for neighbourhoods to celebrate. A variety of activities will be held to celebrate our communities.
- Volunteer appreciation night: May 22 rsvp may 6th. At The Regional Museum. Theme: celebrating a tradition of then and now.
- Incorporation workshop for Neighbourhood Associations. Melissa Bowman will be attending. Questions: Aimee Polevoy asked if a neighbourhood association does not have a steady stream of income, how can they afford the cost. Gillian Veitch replied that there is only a few of a few hundred dollars to apply.Melissa will look into the cost and the benefits/drawbacks of incorporation for the VPNA.
Lorraine asked Agnes about the deadline for registration for the reduced fee card for seniors and youth. She wanted to know the deadline for sporting programs. Melissa consulted the DCC Program Guide.
- Salute to Seniors: nominations must be in by April 1, 2015
Agnes reported the community cooking program is a great success and quite popular. Lorraine asked Agnes if she had looked into a meal program for children after school and the idea is being considered for future events
- Family Fun Movie Night: Friday, March 27th Flushed Away (OBTNA)
- The piano in the DCC will be open for people to sign up and play.
- New street rep for David St. (David Opper)
- Street reps needed for new delivery area. (Along Garden, VanCamp, Spadina, and Queen)
- Street Rep role has changed over the years. It used to be more involved, not just delivering newsletters. Street Reps were more the eyes and the ears of their street and would share their observations and concerns with the Board. We are looking into revisiting that role for reps.
- A dolly has been purchased for the newsletter distributor.
ACTIVITIES PAST AND PRESENT FOR VPNA:
Skating/Sledding party: A joint event with Theresa St. was held over the Family Day weekend. Neighbours got together for sledding and skating. Despite the harsh weather, there was great attendance.
Bird Watching Event: One date for the Bird Watching Event could coincide with Jane’s Walk . Good and Bad points. Good for publicity but may be bad for bird watching. Too many people could be counterproductive. A big crowd can disrupt birds. The early time might be a deterrent (6 or 7am).This may cut down on attendance. Jane’s Walk Between May 1st and 3rd.
Charlotte may run activities for children while parents are watching birds if it is held on that weekend.Another date may be considered for the Bird Watching Event.
Apollo Cinema :
Opportunities for the VPNA to have a movie day at the Cinema
Basic rate for any organization is $299 to rent space plus movie cost.
Movies in The Park . City is looking at changing the restrictions for outdoor movies in Victoria Park (more information will be obtained). The VPNA might consider running movie nights again
Community Garden: Charlotte and Wayne Keeler – organizers
Layout for community garden was viewed. Approved by all in attendance. It will now be used to obtain the appropriate permits..
Lorraine brought up City grants and how the money has all been accounted for. Charlotte explained that there is a Greening Grant specific to this project she can apply for.
There was a question about accessibility. Charlotte explained that at this stage it will not be paved but wide enough to get a mobility device through.
Eduardo asked what size the plots would be (likely 4 x 8). Lorraine asked about a charge for one (there will be no charge at this point).
City will remove sod, deliver mulch, black earth, & hook up reservoirs for water.
There is a tentative plan for a seedling sale to raise money for the project.
A knee high fence will have to be installed to delineate the property.
Girls Running Club: registration is happening now. Grace Birmingham is the contact for this program. It is a free program and will run from April 18-June 14 at 11AM. Limit is 6 girls between the ages of 10-14.
Tim Hortons Earth Day Clean Up: Victoria Park on Earth Day (on Island) April 25th 10-12pm, we will meet by the Pavilion.
Activities that we might do: Scavenger Hunts, BBQ (?), games that kids can play with string
Prizes: seeds, making pots for the seeds out of newspaper
Community Members reached out with suggestions for community involvement at the AGM:
Remembrance Day signs to be placed near the houses of veterans on Remembrance Day in Victoria Park & Neighbourhood.
Miniature Boat regatta on Victoria Lake
Amazing Race type of event
Picnic on the Henry Sturm Green
VPNA Movie Night at DCC April 17TH: Movie is Chicken Run. Attendance has been low. Maybe in the future we will turn it into a family fun night. Utilize more rooms with varying activities.
Stuff Swap for the neighbourhood (will be discussed at next meeting)
Plant swaps (perennial, houseplants, etc.)
Next Meeting April 15: discussed where to hold the next meeting. Options included:DCC, Bread and Roses CO-OP, David St. CO-Op, The Church of Christian Scientists
Lorraine wants on the agenda for next meeting:
Where has park security gone? She feels that they are absent in the park. Melissa explained that security is shared by community centers all over Kitchener, as well as City Hall and the DCC. The Security team is not specific to the park. Melissa will inquire about security.
Meeting adjourned 8:36 pm
VPNA MINUTES January 14, 2015 7:15-8:45 PM Williams Coffee Pub , City Hall
Attended by : Melissa Bowman (Chair),Lorraine Grenier (MAL) David Opper, Agnes Das (DCC Coordinator) Anna Maste (Newsletter Editor), Aimee Polevoy (Secretary), Frank Etherington (Ward 9 Councillor), Gillian Veitch, Edurdo Cejudo (Newsletter Distributor),Cathy Lumb (MAL)
This was the first meeting of the New Year.
Introductions and welcome to the new members of the board and all attendees.
- An overview of what we will be focusing on in the near future.
- Developing a social media policy and designating a spokesperson for the VPNA, developing further and reviewing our existing social media policy, reviewing the code of conduct/policies for NAs, discussing what our role is as an NA for the neighbourhood at large.
- A Municipal Election Review is taking place There were issues with the voters list not being updated, confusion over polling stations, voter cards were late, etc.
- Capital Budget: public input sessions and presentation to council. DATES: (taken from the COK website) www.kitchener.ca for more information please contact the City of Kitchener
- Public Input Session Feb 2. Final budget approval Feb. 23
- New inclusive playground at Victoria Park should be open in the Spring of 2015.
- The Boathouse: After a lengthy delay the Boathouse is finally open. We are all looking forward to the new era.
- Snow and ice removal around the David St. property is being managed. There is a new owner of the property.
- Washrooms at Victoria Park:
There was flooding at the new washrooms and the issue is being investigated. A new security camera was installed that is monitored at City Hall. The cameras are in the foyer not in the washrooms themselves. There are signs indicating who to call if something needs to be reported. Secure Sharps boxes will be installed in the washrooms in February. They will be monitored by Public Health and the City of Kitchener.
- Parks Dept. is looking into planting vegetation behind the building to discourage loitering.
DCC Update: Agnes Das
- There was an online community centre review. This closed on Jan. 17
- The DCC is looking into a partnership with the Ontario Early Years Center offering free programs for the community.
- There will be a community cooking program (no name at this point) starting on Feb. 23
- Looking into renting spaces at local schools to run programs (children and adult)
- Recognizing volunteers for the Ontario Service Awards 5+ years.
- Information about the Ontario Heritage Grant is available
- Extending the boundaries for the VPNA : The boundaries for the VPNA have been extended. Our boundaries are Joseph, Queen,Spadina to Van Camp/West Ave, Victoria St.
- Brock St. had a meeting about the community improvement grant that was won at the festival of neighbourhoods. Brock St. falls within the VPNA boundaries and we are very happy for them.
- Newsletters: shorter format. Discussed ideas for newsletter content such as the Earth Day Clean Up, reminders not to feed the wildlife in the park, announcements about neighbourhood events, if they are far enough in advance of printing.
- Grace Birmingham (former board member of the VPNA) would like to form a Girls Running Club for 10-14 year olds. We discussed how the VPNA can help her as an umbrella organization. Grace was unable to make the meeting but wanted to attend. We discussed questions around the need for police screening etc. we are following up with this.
- Community Garden:
Still waiting for the city’s go ahead for a community garden on a vacant lot on Jubilee near Theresa.
If it is approved, a perennial/seedling sale hopefully will be held to raise funds for the garden.
- History talks with local historian rych mills are held every 4 months at the Pavilion.
- A bird watching club/event is in the works
- NA Summit wrap up & AGM ideas:
Suggestions of activities that the VPNA can do to foster a closer connection in our boundaries.
- Stuff Swap (maybe at the pavilion) bring your gently used items from home and swap them for other things.
- The Apollo movie theater is opening up at the old Hyland Cinema location. We are thinking about approaching the owners to have a community movie day.
- A Spring bike repair day
- A canoe regatta on the lake
- A picnic on the Henry Sturm Green Space (bring your own everything)
- A park clean up
- An education program about not feeding the ducks and geese at the park
- An amazing race event
Next meeting will be March 11th.
A student at the University of Guelph has contacted neighbourhood associations in the area looking for help with a study she is working on regarding preferences of park landscape management. If you are interested, you can complete the short survey (5 minutes or less) by clicking on the link below.