Summer is upon us! The May long weekend was another challenging time for our city because of the devastating storm. I am thankful for hydro employees and first responders who take care of us during times of crisis. It is a warm and sunny day as I write, and I am feeling grateful.
The GCA had a busy May. We were pleased to host the first candidates’ debate for Ottawa Centre for the provincial election. The election will be over by the time you’re reading this, and I know our board is looking forward to working with our MPP. The recorded debate is available on our Facebook page: facebook.com/GlebeCA.
We also hosted the first in-person Great Glebe Garage Sale since 2019, and it was great to see so many folks in the neighbourhood again. Since the sale started in 1986, we have encouraged neighbours to donate some of their proceeds to the Ottawa Food Bank. Many people used the food bank for the first time when their food spoiled after the May long weekend storm. We are so glad the garage sale was able to support the food bank at this crucial time. If you haven’t yet made your donation, please consider doing so at ottawafoodbank.ca/the-great-glebe-garage-sale-is-back/.
May is membership month at the GCA, and we did a door-to-door canvass this year in addition to our online campaign. Please renew your membership at www.glebeca.ca if you haven’t done so yet. Your support enables us to advocate for our community.
We have also been busy with the discussions on the future of Lansdowne Park. In addition to commenting on some specifics of OSEG’s most recent proposal, we advocated strongly that comprehensive, city-wide consultation be done before any major decision. We will know, by the time you’re reading this, whether City Council decided to move forward with this work. Regardless of their decision, we will continue to advocate for a Lansdowne Park that is a success for residents and businesses in our neighbourhood and for the city as a whole.
Finally, we had a full agenda at our May board meeting. We were pleased to welcome Anna Cuylits and Carolyn Inch from Seniors Watch Old Ottawa South, who gave a presentation about their advocacy to bring an innovative health hub to serve seniors in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East. The board decided to support being part of their work.
We also passed motions that adopted a conflict of interest policy for the board and guidelines regarding GCA support for legal counsel on planning-related matters.
This is my last column as GCA president, so please indulge some reflections. The Glebe is a special place in Ottawa. We’re trying to build something here – a liveable neighbourhood that is close to local services and businesses, connected by safe and active transportation, a welcoming place that encourages people to form connections, feel a sense of belonging and look out for one another. Early in the pandemic as our conceptions of place became super-local, the idea of 15-minute neighbourhoods became increasingly popular. The Glebe is as good an example of this concept as our city has.
Does this mean we have it all figured out? Nope. Not even close. There is still more to do. We need developers who share this vision. We need more and better recreational and cultural spaces. We need more affordable housing. We need to improve our transportation mix to prioritize those who are walking and riding bikes, so that these modes of transport are safe and inclusive. Building and improving means we need ideas from the neighbourhood, from other parts of Ottawa and from other cities. And most critically, we need the support of our elected representatives. To that point, I encourage all of us to think about this fall’s municipal election as an important opportunity to work with a new mayor and council to keep building a better Glebe and a better Ottawa.
One last thing, because no one does anything important alone, I have people to thank! First to councillor Shawn Menard, MPP Joel Harden, MP Yasir Naqvi, our former MP Catherine McKenna and those who work in all your offices – thank you for your support and dedication to our community. I am also grateful for the committed board members with whom I’ve been able to work. These volunteers give so much time and talent, and they show what people who care can do together. We have our annual general meeting via Zoom on June 14 at 7 p.m., when we will name the new executive and board. All GCA members are welcome – please join us! Contact Janet, the board secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you would like to attend.
Finally, thanks to you, neighbours, for your involvement and support of your community association. I hope you all enjoy a safe and healthy summer. I’ll see you on the sidewalk.