Letters to the Editor, June 2014
The Pantry saved for another two years
Last fall, more than a thousand of us signed a petition to save The Pantry in the Glebe Community Centre. We collectively asked the City to renew the lease arrangements and to preserve this valued gathering space and resource for our community. We also asked that the City “recognize the broad community benefits of maintaining this important space, in its current configuration, well into the future.”
I am delighted to report that, after seven months of ongoing effort, discussions and negotiation, we seem to be headed towards having a rental agreement for a two-year extension of this delightful tearoom operated by Carolyn Best. There will be some changes to furnishings as required by the City, but efforts have been made to ensure that the tearoom will still be a cosy and welcoming space.
I sincerely hope that this will be a space and a service that we will continue to enjoy well into the future. This has been a long, drawn-out process – a labour of love – with efforts by many who wanted to respond to our petition and community needs.
In particular, I want to thank City of Ottawa’s Don Mason, as well as Janet Conley-Patterson, Glebe Community Centre director, who met weekly over the past months to patiently hammer out details of the agreement and discuss space utilization and furnishings. Thanks also to Kate McCartney of Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group who, working with Elaine Marlin and me, developed a usage policy for this community space that will help guide future rental agreements.
Some things are worth fighting for, and I am very thankful that Carolyn hung in and did not throw in the towel when it would have been easier just to slide away. I hope to see you soon in The Pantry, our community tearoom, to raise a cup for community solidarity!
– Diane McIntyre
‘Yaghi’s’ kind gesture remembered
I have just driven past Yaghi’s Mini Mart on Fifth Avenue and I agree with Anne Woolley, who said in her letter to you last month that something should be done about the old store.
I should mention that a long time ago during the ice storm (not the recent one that caused power outages over Xmas, but a small one some years earlier at Easter), while my stepdaughter was taking photos of the trees around Brown’s Inlet covered in beautiful ice, I visited Yaghi’s for the first time to get some stuffing spices for a goose my wife was going to take down to my father the following day. I think it was a Sunday. “Yaghi,” who was alive at that time, gave me a much-needed pink gin (Angostura bitters, gin and water).
I never shopped at his store, but have never forgotten his kind gesture, which was probably against all the laws of Ontario. I am sad that his store is in such poor condition.
The wonderful Great Glebe Garage Sale is over for 2014 and while the excitement of the crowds is fun, the thoughtlessness of some is disheartening. The enclosed pictures show how the lovingly tended flower boxes become garbage bins and worse, people sit on the flowers! The circle shows where one person threw his backpack, destroying that part ofthe flower bed. Even worse, we witnessed one person actually digging up flowers from the container and taking them away – another garage sale
treasure. The city needs to have more waste bins and some signs asking people to
respect the flower beds.
Sincerely, Joanna Cygler
Protected bike lanes could boost Glebe economy while improving safety
As a regular Glebe shopper, I am painfully aware of how uninviting Bank St. is for cyclists. This is surprising, considering the large number of avid cyclists in the neighbourhood. While the recent reconstruction of the street created wide sidewalks for pedestrians, it missed a perfect opportunity to build protected bike lanes along this busy corridor. This at a time when cities around the world, including places like New York, Chicago, Washington and Montreal, are building protected bike lanes at a rapid rate.
Protected bike lanes are safer – not just for cyclists – but for pedestrians and drivers as well. Bike lanes also provide a big economic boost for local business. After the construction of a protected bicycle lane on 9th Avenue in Manhattan, local businesses saw an impressive 49% increase in retail sales. A study out of Portland showed that bike-commuters spent 40% more at local businesses than their car-driving counterparts.
We all want a Glebe that is healthy, safe and economically vibrant. Let’s follow the lead of urban hotspots like Manhattan and Montreal’s Le Plateau and build protected bike lanes to attract and keep Glebe shoppers. You can find out more at www.bikelanes.ca
Reduced hours at the Fourth Avenue Post Office
It was with dismay that I discovered one morning after 8:30 a.m. that the Fourth Avenue. Post Office would not open until 9:30 a.m!! It has been my post office of choice for many decades and I frequently stopped by on my way to work to mail parcels or letters, especially during the festive season. A week or so later, I arrived at 5:00 p.m. to mail a letter just as the door was being locked a half hour earlier that previously.
Why, one must ask, at a time when Canada Post has lost its competitive edge would it make postal service more difficult for clients?!! It is in an ideal location to serve local businesses and has the advantage of ample nearby parking and does not require the navigation of aisles as at the local Shopper’s Drug Mart or other non- postal related business. The Post Office should be a hub of communications activity with possibility for photocopying and faxing, provision of mailboxes, mailing materials and, of course, other traditional post related services – purchase of stamps and money orders, sending of letters and parcels.
I feel shortening of the hours is not beneficial to local businesses, particularly merchants of small business, who may rely on doing their mailing before or after hours, let alone to the general public. I do hope the Post Office will consider revising this unfortunate change of to its hours of operation.
GCA’s action-packed year
June marks the end of the year for the Glebe Community Association (GCA), and like the ending of the school year, is a busy month for us – the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be on June 10; we’re hosting a Lansdowne-opening information session on June 17; and our final regular meeting of the year is on June 24 (all at the Glebe Community Centre). I hope many readers are able to join us at some or all of these meetings.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
As I prepare for the AGM and review our activities over the past year, I notice that I sound like a broken record. I have appealed in the past 10 Glebe Report columns for volunteers to expand the GCA’s connection with residents, and … it’s working! Many new people have joined GCA committees, supported GCA initiatives, and so far, four new-to-the-GCA people have stepped forward for nomination to the board. This is the accomplishment I am most proud of – engaging residents is directly related to the important issues in our neighbourhood. Without you, we can’t press forward on the issues we care about. So, regardless of the amount of time you may be able to contribute, if you’ve been thinking you should be involved or there is a particular issue you care about, send us an email to see how we can make it work for you.
Speaking of issues, we have tackled quite a few important ones this year. We continue to work hard on Lansdowne, but have changed our approach from reactive to proactive and to figuring out how to live with such a neighbourhood-changing development. Our monthly meetings with OSEG have been very useful for information sharing, which helps us better understand how the development will impact our day-to-day lives (and then decide on advocacy if needed). We are looking for new members and a new chair for the GCA Lansdowne Committee – if this is an area of interest for you, let us know.
In addition, the Traffic Committee has provided extensive comment on the City’s Transportation Master Plan, cycling plan and city-wide parking policy review. Our Planning Committee has been occupied with the infill and conversion zoning review, another full-year activity, in addition to working on Ontario Municipal Board consultations and helping residents with individual development issues. Back in October we also had a spirited debate on the Second Avenue parking garage (which is currently on hold until next year). Later in the year, when the community realized we would lose the Mutchmor skating rink for the winter, the GCA supported GNAG and the St. James Tennis Club by donating $2,000 towards the new rink at the tennis club (which many people enjoyed). This spring, the Environment Committee has been active in supporting the Glashan Greening project and has worked to preserve and protect the ecology at Brown’s Inlet, hosting a well-attended BioBlitz on May 31. And of course, we organized the Great Glebe Garage Sale!
2013 HERITAGE AWARD
The Glebe Community Association Heritage Committee recently presented its 2013 Glebe Heritage Restoration Award to Doug and Cheryl Casey for their outstanding heritage restoration of 20 Clemow Avenue. This house was designed in 1913 by Werner E. Noffke, who owned and lived in the home with his family from 1914 to 1923. Attending the presentation in front of 20 Clemow were several members of the GCA Heritage Committee along with chairperson Johanna Persohn, who made the presentation.
The exterior of the home has been fully restored to exacting heritage standards and includes complex restoration of all masonry work; the disassembly and reconstruction of the roof utilizing its original red clay tiles, supplemented as required by other identical salvaged tiles; exact re-creation of irreparable intricate copper eaves troughs; and the restoration of the original garage and small storage building.
Although the interior of the house required substantial work to bring it up to today’s standards of comfort and practicality, the restoration retained or reused original woodwork and special glazing, and importantly, features a salvageable example of the original, rich, fabric wall-covering that once graced most of the interior walls. This historic heritage home is now being enjoyed by its new owners.
The substantial care taken in the restoration of one of Ottawa’s most important heritage homes ensures that it will continue to make a major contribution to the heritage streetscapes of Clemow Estate East Heritage Conservation District, the Glebe and Ottawa for another 100 years.
Hertitage Award files provided by Bill Price, a member of the GCA Heritage Committee.
Spring news from the Glebe Annex Community Association
By Doug Milne
Spring has arrived, and already the hard-working members of the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) have readied our Dalhousie South Park for the children of the area. On May 3, member-residents raked leaves and picked up the accumulated winter trash, leaving the area spic and span. Another crew of more than 24 volunteers working as part of the city-wide “Clean up our City” campaign rooted through the hedges and along the walkways, retrieving everything imaginable and filling 28 bags of litter and another 25 bags of compostable materials. The hard workers were rewarded with coffee and Timbits, courtesy of Tim Horton’s on Bronson. Abba’s Corner Store and Grocery (corner of Bell and Henry) offered free water and juices for quick pick-me-ups. Over coffee and a photo of this ambitious crew, president of the association, Sylvia Milne, complimented the crew on their work and their commitment to making our neighbourhood more livable and attractive to passersby.
GACA is also celebrating the success of its Make Our Streets Safe survey. The Safety Committee, under the direction of Peggy Kampouris, organized an evening event during which an outside group, along with resident-volunteers and Councillor David Chernushenko, walked our streets at night and collected comments on dangerous conditions in our neighbourhood. City of Ottawa staff, with the help of Councillor Chernushenko, reviewed the findings and have committed to installing 13 new streetlights in areas that were deemed unsafe. More news on safety concerns is expected shortly.
Throughout the winter, the executive directors have been working on projects that are of interest to many, as they have the potential to greatly improve the overall environment in the Glebe Annex. Some of these projects include: youth representation on our board; management of graffiti; conservation of trees in development sites; vigilance with regard to traffic and safety issues; park renewal schedules; monitoring of Bronson redevelopment plans and area development/planning.
The association receives documentation from the City regarding site plans and development applications and responds regularly with your opinions, so it is important that you continue to share your concerns and opinions with us, so that we may accurately represent your community views. Please use our website, www.glebeannex.ca, for easiest communication.
FESTIVAL IN THE PARK
JUNE 14 11 A.M. – 2 PM
Our next planned event will be a Festival in the Park (Dalhousie South) on June 14. Preliminary plans are in place for a fun-filled day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. when we can all begin to enjoy our little park. Plan to bring chairs, meet your neighbours, mingle with GACA directors, enjoy some treats, tell us what’s on your mind and help us build a strong, cohesive and involved community spirit. Watch our website for details.
Doug Milne is a resident of the Glebe Annex.