GCA reflects on the year and looks ahead

Isn’t December a wonderful month? It is dark and cold, and the days are busy, but I really love the lights around the neighbourhood and the anticipation and hope that come with this season. And what a year (and more) we have had. I am thankful to be able to take some time to reflect, and to look forward to what is to come next year.

This has been such a challenging time, and we are not through it yet. But there have definitely been moments of hope to help carry us through, not the least of which was the arrival of vaccines and the decline in the number of COVID-19 infections in our community. And now school-aged children are starting to be vaccinated too – what a wonderful gift that is at this time of year.

As we continue to meet virtually, the Glebe Community Association has had to be creative in our work and advocacy. For example, we had another virtual Great Glebe Garage Sale this year and conducted our membership campaign virtually too. Our collaborative effort with Operation Come Home’s Bottleworks program continues to be a great success; many of you faithfully bring your empty bottles and cans to the Kunstadt parking lot on the third Saturday of each month in support of at-risk youth in our community. Thank you for your support in this work. We have also continued to advocate for improvements to Lansdowne Park, for development that is respectful of neighbourhoods and commensurate with investment in transit and neighbourhood infrastructure and amenities, for more affordable housing and for action to care for our earth and to address climate change.

Our November board meeting

At our meeting in November, we heard updates from three of our committees.

The Health, Housing and Social Services Committee reported on the success of our partnership with Bottleworks and spoke about a new partnership with the Centretown Community Association’s Affordable Housing Working Group. The committee also reported that the GCA had made a submission to the provincial government as part of the legislature’s consideration of a bill that would give more power to municipalities regarding the location and distribution of cannabis retailers. We supported this, recognizing that the City of Ottawa is not able to act on the guidelines they have put in place on the location of cannabis stores.

We also heard from the GCA’s Transportation Committee. At their most recent meeting, they discussed the possibility of doing a transportation study of the neighbourhood and discussed other ways to make streets near schools safer. They also discussed noise barriers along highway 417, improvements being made to Pretoria Avenue and the scooter pilot project.

The GCA’s Planning Committee reported that the Bank Street Height and Character Study, which has been in the works for over two years and lays out a comprehensive vision for Bank Street, will soon be considered by the City’s Planning Committee. We are hopeful that City Council will approve the study so there is greater certainty about development in our neighbourhood.

Beyond committee reports, the board discussed communications guidelines that will help us use our various tools (email, website, social media) to communicate effectively. As winter approaches, the board also heard that the Mutchmor Rink will not return this season because of the continued need to ensure proper distancing for students and classes while they are outdoors. We will continue to engage with the school in an effort to bring the rink back as soon as circumstances permit.

Looking ahead to 2022!

The GCA does not meet in December, but we will be back in January. Our board meetings are open, and you are welcome to join us. We meet on the fourth Tuesday of most months; our next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. Please be in touch with Janet, the board secretary, if you are interested in attending – secretary@glebeca.ca.

Who knows what the New Year will bring? There are certain things we know will continue to be of great importance to our neighbourhood, like the future of Lansdowne Park and nearby development proposals, to name a couple. Provincial and municipal elections will also be held next year. Throughout all this, the GCA will continue to advocate for a liveable, sustainable and diverse urban neighbourhood.

Wishing you and those you love a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

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