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VPNA minutes – January 21, 2015

2015 February 26
by Melissa

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.

Agenda Items:

  • 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.

Councillor’s Update:

  • 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

VPNA:

  • 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.

Landscape study survey

2015 February 18
by Melissa

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.

https://uoguelph.eu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eQmglgP2Z2SNKvP

 

 

Make and Take Community Vegetarian Cooking Group

2015 February 11
by Melissa

We invite you to join in these free sessions to cook together and get to know one another. Feel free to bring a container to take home some of what we create together. The Community Nutrition Worker will focus on different ways to cook vegetarian while maintaining a balanced diet.

This free program is offered at the Downtown
Community Centre 35-B Weber St W Kitchener:

When: Mondays from 10.30 am-12.30pm
Dates : February 23rd, 2015
March 2nd, 2015
March 9th, 2015
March 16th, 2015

**Register weekly the week before the next session date**

Register in person at the Downtown Community Centre or
by calling 519-741-2501

Offered in partnership by:

   

Feb 5/15 Update from Frank: In 2015, LRT could stand for ‘Lots of Raucous Times’

2015 February 5
by Melissa

Prepare for noise, dust and traffic disruption throughout Ward 9 neighbourhoods in the rest of 2015 as the massive LRT project moves down the track.

Kitchener councillors recently approved a noise exemption that will extend from March 1  until December 31 to allow Grandlinq Contractors to complete LRT construction as quickly as possible.

The exemption is for occasional night work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. that could be necessary Monday through Sunday from March 1 to December 31.

In addition to noise, there is also likely be a mess of traffic disruption on affected and nearby streets as the Region follows an aggressive schedule to complete the LRT by 2017.

Regional staff say every effort will be made to avoid night work as well as shorten potential disruptions for affected residents and businesses.

Adjacent to the Victoria Park, Cherry Park, Cedar Hill and Mill-Courtland neighbourhoods, LRT construction is scheduled to take place on King Street from Union Boulevard to Francis Street and from Duke Street to Charles Street.

On Charles, work will take place from Victoria to Ottawa Street and continue on Ottawa from Charles to Mill Street  before moving on toward Courtland Avenue and Fairview Park Mall.

To communicate information about the work, Grandlinq will send schedules to residents and businesses located within 125 metres of construction zones. The notices will contain a 24-hour telephone hotline where questions or complaints will be handled and Grandlinq will also have a website to provide construction updates.

Let’s hope that as LRT moves through Ward 9, all the 2015 pain will be worth the future transportation gain.

FAMILY DAY WEEKEND SKATING AND SLEDDING PARTY!

2015 February 5
by Melissa
February 14, 2015
1:00 pmto3:00 pm

Winter is long and we all hibernate!  We miss all your lovely faces, so Theresa street and the VPNA  invite you to come out and enjoy some winter fun with neighbours, family and friends!  Williams Fresh Cafe has generously offered to supply us with some hot cocoa and there will be many laughs and sleds to share, but if you have extra sleds, please bring them!

 

Where: The hills and ice pads by the clock tower

When: Sat Feb 14th 1-3

Who: All our fabulous neighbours surrounding Victoria Park and, of course, friends and family.

Hope to see you there!

Kitchener Heritage Grant Program

2015 January 20
by Melissa

Do you live in the Victoria Park Area Heritage Conservation District? If yes, the 2015 City of Kitchener Heritage Grant Program Applications are due on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Designated heritage property owners may be eligible to receive a grant for 50% of the cost of eligible projects up to a maximum of $3000. Eligible projects include: the repair of deteriorated original elements such as doors, windows or masonry; the replacement of original elements that are beyond repair using materials, sizes and details that match the original; and, reintroduction of original elements that have been lost based on documentation of the property. The Administrative Procedures and Operating Guidelines along with the application form are available on the City of Kitchener’s website – http://www.kitchener.ca/en/livinginkitchener/HeritageFunding.asp. Questions can be directed to Michelle Drake, Heritage Planner (519-741-2200 ext. 7839 or michelle.drake@kitchener.ca).

Renovated Boathouse finally afloat in Victoria Park

2015 January 18
by Melissa

After watching Kitchener council invest about $760,000 in the outside patio and interior of The Boathouse in Victoria Park, I’m delighted to see the final and very overdue opening of the upgraded venue.

And following an advance peek at the newly renovated  restaurant and music facility, I predict it will be an outstanding success and rapidly grow into one of the most attractive venues in Waterloo Region. I also predict it could have parking problems unless more customers walk to the location or park on the other side of the lake near the pavilion.

I’m told The Boathouse will also serve as one of 12 local bar locations providing  music and workshops during the upcoming Blues Festival August 6-9.

Hope to see you there, soon.

Poor families need more city help to enjoy recreation classes

2015 January 18
by Melissa

Up to my rear end in financial reports and budget details, I’m concerned about the 2,338 low-income children, 205 senior citizens and 1,899 adults who can’t afford Kitchener’s recreation-leisure activities.

These are kids, seniors and adults given financial assistance by the city last year so they could afford to participate in recreational activities likely to cost 2.3 per cent more in 2015.

The budget to support the Leisure Access Card (LAC) program and help those living below the poverty line has increased dramatically since 2010 and looks as will continue to increase in 2015.

For that reason, staff are recommending councillors budget an additional $16,000 this year for LAC. And, because that amount is unlikely to meet demand, I have given notice I will again ask for that increase to be hiked $10,000 to a total $26,000.

Staff say that, even when the program runs out of cash, extra funds are found and no one is turned away but, considering the following, I don’t want to take that chance:

· In 2010, we helped 940 children, a number that soared to 2,338 last year.
· In 2010 we helped 140 seniors and, by 2014, the number jumped to 205.
· Five years ago we helped 850 adults and, last year, the number was 1,899.
Overall, we helped 1,930 low-income people in 2010 and 4,442 in 2014 by providing discounts of $250 per child and $215 per adult.

Alarming statistics that merit realistic budgeting.

If you want a chance to speak on this or other budget topics, the public is invited to council on Monday Feb. 2 before councillors  make final budget decisions Feb. 23.

VPWG meeting minutes – December 2014

2015 January 7
by Melissa

VICTORIA PARK WORKING GROUP MEETING

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

3:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Kitchener City Hall (Pipe Room)

MINUTES

Present:         Rych Mills, Bob Sharpe, Greg Hummel, Laura Seaman, Councilor Etherington, Glennis Yantzi, Lori Wadsworth (Recorder)

Guests:           Jim Edmonson, Manager of Facilities Management, Grant Egerdeen, Supervisor of Corporate Security, Ashley DeWitt, Landscape Architect, Melissa Bowman, President of Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association

 

  1. Victoria Park Washroom Security Issues
  • Jim Edmonson, Manager of Facilities Management and Grant Egerdeen, Supervisor of Corporate Security were in attendance to address security concerns around the Victoria Park washroom. They provided the following update as to the work that has been done or will be done to address security issues.
  • A sign that lists the number to call for security issues has been posted inside the washroom. The number is 519-741-2345 (the City’s call centre number).
  •  Security cameras will be installed on the exterior of the building and also on the inside front wall that leads into the washroom. The cameras will be monitored at City Hall’s security desk.
  • Washroom signage will indicate the washroom will be open from dawn to dusk with alternate/extended hours for special events and rink use.
  • It was noted there is more of presence in the park when the rink is in use and during special events which helps to deter undesirable activity around the washroom. Also, there is more of a police presence in the park.
  •  The washrooms are checked frequently.
  •  Most of the issues with the washroom have been related to vandalism.
  • Security staff hasn’t seen the level of issues at the washroom relative to what has been reported to them. There have been a few problems but no more than what has occurred at other City washroom facilities.
  • As far as complaints regarding needles being found in the washroom, there is a perception that there are more needles, however only one needle has been found to date.
  • A discussion ensued and group members made a few comments:
  • Signage is needed that indicates that bikes aren’t allowed in the washroom as well as loitering, smoking, etc. Also signage should be installed on the family washroom regarding its purpose.
  • A question was asked if rubber mats could be installed in the washroom when skating at the rink starts. Greg responded the cost is prohibitive to this being done.
  • Jim commented signage will be posted to deter people from going in the washroom with skates.
  • A suggestion was made to install a bike rack outside the washroom.
  • Frank questioned whether something can be done to deter people from accessing the area behind the washroom.
  • Greg responded staff is looking at installing certain types of plant material that would deter access to that area. Angular, large rocks could also be installed.
  • A concern was raised regarding an individual who continually disregards the signs and feeds the ducks in the park. Greg commented that this individual was sent a letter. He needs to be caught feeding the ducks before Bylaw can do anything about it. It was suggested that if he is observed feeding the ducks the contact centre should be called, they in turn would call Bylaw. Security needs to be part of a larger discussion with Bylaw. Shane, Director of Bylaw is aware of the issue. Greg advised he can talk to Shane further about this problem.

2.Plan for Area Adjacent to the Playground

  • Ashley DeWitt, City of Kitchener Landscape Architect was in attendance to seek input from the group; Ashley is developing a master plan for the area of the park that runs from the Pavilion to the Machine Shop.
  • With the use of a map of the park Ashley asked for group members to consider what they think is working well within that area of the park, what needs upgrading, any conflicts with park uses, etc.
  • Greg suggested staff could meet with the VPNA in the spring with a proposed plan for the area adjacent to the playground.
  • Ashley made note of the group members comments which included the need for a path to create a linkage from the playground to the parking area off of Jubilee close to park Street, signage directing people to parking, more recycling containers, etc.
  • Greg commented that each year at budget, staff is given provisional capital dollars for the park. The identification of park issues and concerns help staff to plan how the money will be used.
  • A concern was raised regarding the ash trees that are slated to be removed in the park due to EAB. Ashley advised that a tree replanting plan is being developed for the park.

         3.Latin Fest

  •  Frank advised that Latin Fest is being moved from Waterloo Town Square to the Victoria Park Commons area.
  • The event will be split between the park and the Centre in the Square. It will be held in early July over a period of three days. The event organizers plan to run the music portion of the event until 11:00 p.m.
  • Group members expressed concern that with Latin Fests’ move to the park it means one more weekend in the summer where there is an event in the park.
  • The group would like to see Ribfest move from the park to another venue.
  • There is concern that Ribfest isn’t charged a fee to use the park. It is understood that they cover the costs of maintenance.
  • A comment was made that as has been discussed at past VPWG meetings there is a need for a review of the number of events in the downtown.
  • Frank advised he would support any move for a policy to be developed that would facilitate some events being moved out of the park. The issue needs to go to Council with the support of enough people at Council to speak to a request to limit the number of the events in the park.
  • It was suggested that a delegation should be formed to appear before Council. Before this happens the VPWG needs to gather supporting information i.e., history of events and numbers of events in the past compared to today and issues and concerns of residents in relation to the events.
  • It was suggested that Jeff Young, Manager of Special Events be invited to attend the next VPWG meeting to discuss the schedule of events for 2015.
  • The group requested that the next VPWG meeting be scheduled for early February.

Action: Lori to invite Jeff Young to the next VPWG meeting. Jeff to bring the 2015 events schedule to the meeting.

 Lori to schedule the next VPWG meeting for early February.

4.Xmas Light Fantasy – Relocation to Island

 

  • Frank advised that the Xmas light fantasy has been relocated to the Island. The light display is very tastefully done. At one time the lights were located on the island.
  • Concern was expressed that more control is needed to reduce the number of vehicles on the island.
  • Greg advised he would bring this concern forward to Jeff Young.

Action: Greg to raise the issue of a need for a reduction in number of vehicles on the island with Jeff Young.

 

5.EAB – Ash Tree Removals

  • There was discussion regarding the ash trees along David Street that are slated for removal.
  • The question was asked as to whether these trees could be injected with TreeAzin.
  • Greg advised that the City’s ash trees first undergo an assessment. Only healthy trees that are over 30 c in diameter are injected with TreeAzin.  Chemical injections are effective for 2 years and then the injection must be repeated. The cost is $150.00 per tree.
  • The City is being proactive by removing untreated trees systematically and developing and implementing a replanting master plan.

 

        6.Victoria Park Updates

  • Due to a lack of time for this agenda item, it will be included on the next meeting agenda.

Update from Councillor Frank Etherington

2014 December 6
by Melissa
Following is the first of a series of neighbourhood updates from Frank Etherington, Ward 9 Councillor and a Victoria Park resident:

First the good news:
Ongoing pressure from residents, police and bylaw-enforcement officers has finally resulted in legal action and an overdue cleanup at an eyesore property on Queen Street South near Homewood Avenue.
The case, which for months turned the property into a scrap-dealing dump, is a classic example of how a single, selfish landlord or tenant can hold an entire community hostage while running a beautiful neighbourhood into the ground.  It illustrates why the city’s property-standards bylaw needs to be strengthened and additional bylaw enforcement officers must be hired.
Second good news item:
In the coming week, security cameras and sharps containers are scheduled to be installed at the new washroom building near David Street in Victoria Park to combat vandalism and drug-use activity. Cameras, which will be watched by security staff, will be mounted in the lobby and at the front of the building to monitor who enters and leaves the facility.
And the bad news:
About 100 ash trees recently marked with double red dots are scheduled to be chopped down across Victoria Park.  The trees will be eliminated as part of the city’s plan to control the spread of the emerald ash borer.  The 100 are among an estimated 412 infested ash trees that will be removed from Ward 9 — part of a total 5,013 that will be chopped down across the city. A small percentage of healthy ash trees with trunks measuring more than 30 cms. in diameter will be injected with an expensive treatment
that helps kill the aggressive pest.

More information about the issue and how to treat ash trees on private property can be found athttp://www.kitchener.ca/en/livinginkitchener/EAB.asp.

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