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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.

VPNA minutes – April 15th, 2015

2015 April 24
by Melissa

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.

Finance update:

  • 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

VPWG Meeting – March 27th, 2015

2015 April 24
by Melissa


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.

Geese Contract:

  • 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.

Island Lighting:

  • 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.

  Community Garden:

  • 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.

Next 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.











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