Community continuity and change – moving forward with triumphs and challenges
“Historic First for the Glebe ”
For the next year, the Glebe Goal-Getters hockey team can honestly lay claim to bragging rights for their win – a historic first – of the annual Capital Ward Councillor’s Cup. Reportedly “friendly but intense,” the tournament was played January 25, and participants were encouraged to be timely, appropriately dressed and sporting the right “shinny attitude.” First introduced in 2008 by former Councillor Clive Doucet, complete with trophy, the shinny tournament is now in its seventh iteration. The tradition is being carried on by Councillor David Chernushenko, who happily officiates with “the usual risk to body and reputation.”
In addition to the Glebe Goal-Getters (black jerseys), this year’s friendly competition, hosted at Brantwood Park, again included cross-canal rivals the Old Ottawa East Hosers (green jerseys) and team challengers Old Ottawa South Moose (in blue) and Heron Park Hackers (in red) In the end, the Glebe Goal-Getters triumphed, winning the championship round 8–7. The tournament rules make sure this faceoff among friends remains a true shinnyfest – hockey players 14 years and older play four-on-four without goalies, with at least one female player per team at all times. Guaranteed at least three games of 20 minutes each, the four teams’ skaters must wear helmets and abide by guidelines to keep the puck on the ice at all times. No bodychecking, slapshots or abuse of referees is allowed. Above all, and in the spirit of the tournament, is the admonition to have fun and be a good sport since “nobody remembers the highest scorer. Everybody remembers the jerk!”
Next year, with the Glebe hosting, let’s turn out in spades to cheer on the players.
GCA turns a corner
By Christine McAllister
What’s not to love about winter? Besides the snow, ice, slush and snowbanks, we in the Glebe are blessed with some local skating rinks (including the new St. James/GNAG and long-established Glebe Memorial rinks), the Rideau Canal and a few options for modest tobogganing (Chamberlain field and Brown’s Inlet). And that’s before yummy hot chocolate from a local coffee shop, a glass of red wine at the wine bar or porter at a pub. But best of all, you can trudge through the snowy sidewalks to the Glebe Community Centre every fourth Tuesday of the month, to join the Glebe Community Association Board meeting! It takes place this month it on Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m.at the Glebe Community Centre. I was excited to see new faces at the GCA meeting on January 28. All residents are welcome to attend and participate (save for proposing or voting on motions). While we have a robust committee process where much of our research and engagement occurs, GCA members’ comments contribute to our understanding of issues and whether or how we should advocate on their behalf.
This month’s meeting was very interesting for me. It was the first one I have chaired, since becoming president, in which a few of the motions were not supported by the board. Of particular note was the motion to sign a letter to the mayor from a collection of community associations, urging the development of a student housing policy. While most participants felt that was a good idea, we decided not to sign the letter (which you can view on our website in the January 28 agenda notes), which also called for a “freeze on the development of any student housing that is not on the campus of a post-secondary educational institution.” I was heartened to hear residents talk about the importance of diversity in a community and that students strengthen our neighbourhood. Of course there is the “conversions” issue (changing single-family homes into multi-unit complexes, which sometimes provide housing options for students), which the GCA is tackling through its Planning Committee. In the end, we decided not to sign the joint letter, but to show our support for the idea by writing a letter to the mayor calling for a student housing policy.
TURNING THE CORNER ON LANSDOWNE
There’s no doubt that the Lansdowne development has had an impact on our community spirit. We’ve spent a lot of time “fighting” the project and still are spending time working on Lansdowne-related issues (note our Traffic Committee’s one-year participation on the Lansdowne Traffic Advisory Committee). But now it’s time to look ahead at how we are going to make this all work, because it is in our neighbourhood’s best interest that the Lansdowne development be a success. It is absolutely certain there will be challenges once the site is opened: day-to-day and event-related traffic; noise from the cinema after the late movie ends; garrulous patrons from the restaurants and pubs; and potential safety concerns, to name a few. And that is exactly why we reached out to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), the organization developing Lansdowne Park with the City. Members of the GCA Board met with Bernie Ashe, CEO of OSEG, to talk about our mutual interest in the development’s success and how we might work together to achieve that. We were very pleased with the open discussion and their willingness to get together. One outcome of our initial meeting is a schedule of continuing meetings with OSEG on a monthly basis. In addition, OSEG’s newly hired Traffic Demand Manager will begin to work with the GCA Traffic Committee. Thanks to Bob Brocklebank, Carol MacLeod, Catherine McKenna and Brian Mitchell for joining me in this meeting.
THIRD AVENUE FIRE
On a sad note, as you read in the last issue of the Glebe Report, there was another fire in the Glebe (on Third Avenue) just before Christmas. One of the tenants seems to have been able to keep much of his belongings, but the second-floor tenants (a mother and high-school-age daughter) lost much of what they owned in the fire. A few years ago when there were a number of fires in the neighbourhood, the GCA helped displaced residents with a small donation and help in organizing a fundraiser. This time, the GCA has again agreed to make a small donation to the displaced tenants. There is interest in organizing a fundraiser, but we need some help. If you have ideas and ability to put those ideas into action to help one of the Glebe’s families, please send us an email at email@example.com or tweet @glebeca
GCA planning environment is constantly shifting
By Bobby Galbreath
I’ve said it before; the Glebe is a blessed neighbourhood. It has precise boundaries, consisting of the Queensway, the Rideau Canal and Bronson Avenue. Bank Street is a vital and busy shopping and traditional mainstreet corridor that serves as a meeting place and a neighbourhood focus. The boundaries and the village character of our community make the Glebe an enviable place to live. Some of that village character has been changing though. There have been several developments that seem to have altered the nature of our community. There is a huge commercial and residential development at our south end, our mainstreet is under constant pressure to have its business capacity increased, and house properties are often being gobbled up and replaced with two or more units. A few houses have been converted to between 15 and 20 bedrooms. Will occupants of such buildings retain the same level of affection for the Glebe and contribute their talents to the community? We’ll just have to wait and see.
GLEBE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION PLANNING COMMITTEE
Monitoring, studying and proposing policies related to changes in zoning is the work of the Glebe Community Association (GCA) Planning Committee, currently consisting of seven members, all dedicated to being resources for the community on zoning and planning issues. Quite often the GCA Planning Committee is also asked to organize community responses to developers’ proposals for specific properties. Every project is reviewed separately and community input is sought in a way that is appropriate for the proposal. The committee also becomes involved in other activities that relate to the planning of the Glebe. Sometimes there is a need to represent the Glebe to and with other community associations or to provide input directly to the City of Ottawa’s ongoing development of planning practices and procedures. Members of the Planning Committee must take into consideration that the City Planning Department is revising the Official Plan, the Transportation Masterplan and the zoning bylaws to better direct the nature of development in communities throughout Ottawa. We know that many building control policies are being changed at the same time and will all be presented to City Council in March.
Some of the zoning revisions focus on trying to preserve the special qualities that exist in all communities throughout the city. It’s a difficult task. Such revisions include expanded consideration given to neighbouring properties in terms of the changes allowed, and a reduction in allowable building height from 11 m to 10 m in R3 and R4 zones. These changes have yet to be adopted. In particular, there has been an effort to limit the conversion of low-density residential uses to three or more units with high occupancy. On April 24, 2013, City Council established an embargo on the further conversion of residential units to higher occupancy uses until such time as new zoning bylaws are put in place governing the nature of the conversion phenomenon.
To limit the overdevelopment of low-density dwellings, the City Planning Department has proposed: eliminating the distinction between conversions that increase the number of existing dwelling units and new construction; establishing limits on the number of rooming units permitted in a “converted rooming house;” and providing a requirement for a rear-yard amenity area based on the number of dwelling units. The effect of these measures will be to halt the multi-bedroom conversions that have disturbed so many in the community. Should you have questions about zoning and planning, you should know that the Planning Committee meets once a month at the Glebe Community Centre – on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. – and all are welcome. Please join the planning conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bobby Galbreath is chair of the Glebe Community Association Planning Committee.