Spring is the time for new beginnings and changes – and a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something great. The GCA membership drive is happening soon, and there are numerous committees that could use a great volunteer like you!
GCA reaches out to residents
It’s nice to finally see people out and about again! From street-hockey games to strolling on Bank Street or just walking by and saying hello to neighbours – this sociability is part of what many of us love about the Glebe. As my mind turns to a new coat of stain for my front porch, I’m hoping winter was less harsh on your front porch than mine!
The month of May brings a long-awaited spring and the Glebe Community Association’s annual membership drive – one of our biggest activities of the year. Almost 200 volunteers canvass the neighbourhood door-to-door to sign up residents as members. Last year, we reached almost 1,800 of about 4,600 households. It’s a challenge to reach all households as we don’t have canvassers (“block reps”) for every block and sometimes people are not at home. That said, 1,800 households is still a big number and, in fact, is a big part of the value of membership. Our large membership numbers mean we carry a strong voice when working with the City on different issues. It’s part of why people such as the Mayor are willing to meet us when we want to advocate for improvements (for instance, related to Lansdowne traffic).
You might also be wondering what happens to your $10 … We operate as most other volunteer organizations – on a shoestring. Our costs are mainly administrative – room rental costs, photocopying, advertising the Great Glebe Garage Sale, running the website. We take administration of membership funds seriously. Any expenditure over $50 requires board approval and we present financial statements (prepared by local accountant, Ted Lupinski, who is extremely supportive of many local organizations) every June at our annual general meeting.
This month, when your block rep comes to the door seeking your commitment to the GCA for 2014-2015, we hope you’ll consider rejoining, but I have another ask of you: please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about the issues in our neighbourhood and thank your block rep for taking the time to canvass.
TRAFFIC MEETINGS TO NOTE
Our Traffic Committee is organizing two important public meetings:
In anticipation of Bronson Avenue reconstruction in the next few years, we will be hosting a visioning and brainstorming exercise for area residents of the Glebe, Dow’s Lake and the Glebe Annex on the evening of Thursday, May 15, 7:00 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre.
Please also join us at our information night, “Getting Ready for Lansdowne,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, also at the GCC. We anticipate representatives from OSEG (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group) and the City will be on hand to answer questions and we will provide information about shuttle buses, detours and OC Transpo services.
GREAT GLEBE GARAGE SALE May 24
The other big event for the GCA is, of course, the Great Glebe Garage Sale, which will be held this year on Saturday, May 24. This event brings thousands to our neighbourhood and is also one of the premier social events of the Glebe. Thanks to Catherine Waters for organizing this year’s sale. Now, everyone keep your fingers crossed for sun!
EXPLORATION GARDEN CONSTRUCTION
After four years of advocating, planning and negotiating, the Parks Committee’s work to see a pre-schooler Exploration Garden in Central Park East will finally come to fruition. The City has tendered a contract for the construction and the park is slated for a June opening. We’ll be sure to publicize the date once it draws nearer.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Please mark Tuesday, June 10 on your calendars for the GCA’s annual general meeting. This year it will be held at the Glebe Community Centre and we are booking a guest speaker from the City who can tell us about plans for the urban park section of Lansdowne. We’ll take a few minutes to review our activities of the year, present our financial statements and elect a new board. Refreshments and time to socialize always follow the formal part of the agenda. I hope many of you will join us.
Our monthly meetings are on the fourth Tuesday of every month (coming up on May 27). Everyone is welcome to attend and we are always interested in hearing what residents are thinking. If you can’t make it, but have something you want to share, send us an email at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter @GlebeCA or check out our Facebook page.
Or for something more personal, come out to the Brown’s Inlet BioBlitz, Saturday, May 31, 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Now’s the time! Join the GCA board or a committee
By Christine McAllister
The Glebe Community Association has a strong board and a number of active committees. Every June at the annual general meeting, a new board or committee chairs and area representatives are elected and new members for committees are found. That means we are looking for new people to join! If there’s something you’ve always been interested in doing with the GCA, now’s the time! Here is a brief overview of what we do.
The GCA has always had one person responsible for sending out e-bulletins and organizing articles for the Glebe Report. This year, we’ve added new communications functions on Twitter and Facebook. We are looking to expand communications to better connect with more residents on the issues they care about. If you can write and know the ins and outs of communications, we would love to have you aboard!
The Education Committee was formed many years ago when Glebe area schools were under threat of closure. Today, it provides a forum for all schools in and around the Glebe to discuss common issues affecting schools, students and families in the Glebe. Two recent important issues have included the First Avenue–Mutchmor “switch” and preventing the paving of the Mutchmor playing field for parking.
Trees, ponds, garden angels, graffiti – the Environment Committee undertakes many issues to protect and enhance our natural and physical environment. This year, the committee members have been working on improvements at Brown’s Inlet, supporting the “Glashan Greening” project and organizing garden boxes. If the local environment is something that gets you going, this is the committee for you.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
The Health and Social Services Committee advocates on potential concerns about health, safety and quality of life, and represents the GCA to other organizations such as the Centretown Community Health Centre and the Ottawa Police. The committee has been dormant over the past year without a chair – a good opportunity for you to build the committee from the ground up.
Many residents love the heritage aspects of our neighbourhood. This committee gathers information about the unique heritage of the Glebe, identifies threats to special properties and investigates how planning tools can help preserve our built heritage. At times, the committee investigates the benefits of, and works with residents who might be interested in, heritage designations.
As we move from planning for to experiencing the impacts of the Lansdowne redevelopment, new and unique issues are coming to our attention. While traffic concerns have been ongoing, we expect to be working on other topics (for instance, noise and signage). Committee members will help our community adjust to the big new development at the end of our block – and hopefully contribute to its success.
The Membership Committee organizes and conducts the annual GCA membership campaign and keeps membership data up-to-date. Membership provides the GCA’s only source of revenue, which supports projects such as the Great Glebe Garage Sale, public meetings and other GCA activities. Committee work includes recruiting area representatives for the 11 areas of the Glebe and working with them to recruit over 200 block representatives each year for the canvass.
The Parks Committee promotes parks and parklands in the Glebe area, with representation from users of each of the Glebe parks. A main focus of the committee is enhancing our parks’ beauty, as well as their appreciation, benefits and security for a diversity of users. The committee collaborates with the City and the NCC to provide community oversight of parks and parkland, consulting on community needs, heritage landscaping, parkland acquisition and new park development.
The Planning Committee helps local residents voice and coordinate their responses to new developments and modifications to existing structures. Issues could be related to specific property developments or to City policies that have an impact across our community. As a prime area for developers’ attentions, the Glebe faces many challenges. Planning Committee members provide important support and education about options, sometimes also advocating for more appropriate development in our neighbourhood.
The GCA Traffic Committee has been instrumental in dealing with traffic, cycling and pedestrian safety affecting the Glebe since the first Glebe Traffic Plan was adopted in the early seventies. Last year, the committee undertook a significant survey related to Lansdowne traffic and has been advocating well-founded positions based on those results. Committee members also work on cycling and parking issues and liaise with residents, the Glebe BIA and City officials on related issues.
What will the Glebe look like in 2064?
By Bobby Galbreath
I have lived in the Glebe for about 30 years now. It is an enviable community. It has a village feel – it’s walkable, bikeable and most of our daily needs can be met by visiting neighbourhood shops.
COMMERCIAL BANK STREET
Since I have lived here, there have been many changes along Bank Street. The commercial strip, although identified as a Traditional Main Street, has been designated to allow a 15-metre building height. It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand that the current two- to three-storey configuration is well below the six storeys permitted and that the financial reward linked to the property will eventually be realized. Buildings will be sold and redeveloped closer to their allowed six-storey capacity.
I think we all know that there is considerable change underway in our neighbourhood. There is substantial potential for the future redevelopment of the Beer Store/Mr. Muffler site, the LCBO site, the Kundstadt/Rogers site and the Kettleman’s Bagel site, to identify only a few. Also contributing to, and maybe even driving, much of the change is the Lansdowne development.
There are residential areas also to be considered. For those who have lived here for years, the extraordinary increase in day-to-day costs is forcing many to tighten their belts and, for some, causing them to move to other communities where tax and maintenance costs are lower. In addition, the increasing desirability of the neighbourhood influences the purchase, demolition and replacement of single houses, resulting in either huge single-family homes, or several dwellings placed on a lot previously used for a single dwelling. It is clear, then, that there are many pressures affecting and effecting change in our neighbourhood.
BE A PART OF A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
In a recent exchange with City planning staff, it was suggested that there was no need to develop a Community Design Plan (CDP) for the Glebe. CDPs are documents directing the nature of urban development in areas that have been targeted for growth. We were advised: “I understand your interest in being proactive, and setting the ground rules for future development, but the time just isn’t right – the Glebe isn’t an area the City is targeting for substantial growth. As you know, a CDP is a growth plan, not a plan to protect an existing situation.”
Maybe it’s time to explore the Glebe of the future. But we need to know where to start and we’re not sure about that yet.
I would welcome hearing about both the characteristics of the neighbourhood that are important to you and the pitfalls of other communities you know that you think we should avoid. We’re at the beginning of creating a plan for the Glebe for the next 50 years and we need suggestions, wisdom, insight and volunteers. Help us and be part of the solution.
At its April meeting, the Glebe Community Association Board approved the establishment of a sub-committee within the GCA Planning Committee to explore the need for a Community Plan and the benefit that it might bring to controlling the inevitable change that we face. We need to explore the options that may be open to us and we will be looking for volunteers to help. If that is something that interests you, contact us.
Join the conversation about planning the Glebe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bobby Galbreath is chair of the GCA Planning Committee.