GACA Board Meeting – January 7, 2020

Minutes, Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA)
Board Meeting – Tuesday, January 7th, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Glebe Community Centre 175 Third Ave
Present:
  • Carrie Bolton
  • Cathy
  • David Perkins
  • Gabrielle Dallaporta
  • Joanne Benoit
  • Maja Rakocevic
  • Sue Stefko
  • Annalisa Salonius
  • Jonathan McLeod (Assistant, Office of Shawn Menard, City Councillor, Capital Ward)

1. Call to Order

  • The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.

2. Approval of Agenda

  • A motion to approve the agenda was made by Carrie, seconded by Maja and carried.

3. Approval of the Minutes

  • A motion to accept the minutes of November 19th, 2019 was made by Carrie, seconded by Gabrielle and carried.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes of November 19th, 2019

  • Commemorative Park Naming of Dalhousie Park to Abbas Family Park:
    • Mike and Radi Abbas have agreed for the commemorative park naming application to proceed. Joanne will work on the application in the coming weeks. They will sign the affidavits in March when Joanne is back in Ottawa. It may be best to proceed as a private application with a letter of support from GACA, hopefully, the Lakelander, other buildings, and businesses.  We will ask the city if they suggest a supporting petition.
  • Fundraising:
    • We are not sure when we will find out if we receive the Civic Events Funding; if we do receive this grant, then fundraising may not be as important at this time. If we don’t, we may wish to revisit fundraising possibilities.
  • The board welcomed Annalisa to her first GACA meeting; everyone introduced themselves.

5. Joel Harden Town Hall on Transit – November 30th (Cathy)

  • A transit town hall was hosted by Joel Harden and Shawn Menard on November 30th.  LRT and other transit problems were discussed. It was noted that the Transit Commission has little power, and they often hear of transit changes after the mayor announces them.  At the town hall Shawn Menard said that when the City put in the light rail, it should have increased buses, not decreased them, so the LRT could be more accessible.  The City also sold many buses and laid-off drivers.
  • A website:  occasionaltransport.ca was developed by an Ottawa citizen and provides updates on LRT delays and stoppages. Anyone can submit problems they experience with OC Transpo, and there is also a twitter feed for riders to update each other.
  • It has become apparent that double-decker buses have a problem with water on the upper level, as water from snow and wet boots has nowhere to go.
  • There are complaints that Para Transpo riders are experiencing long wait times.
  • There are lawsuits from some tradespeople involved in the building of the LRT against the city for non-payment.
  • Park and Rides have a waiting list.
  • OC Transpo was going to raise individual fares but delayed this increase.
  • Cathy suggested that the Traffic Commission should have a percentage of commissioners who better represent the public, including:
    • individuals who use transit and do not have a car
    • riders who use Para Transpo
  • Annalisa mentioned route 10 being a problem since it changed routes.  Jon mentioned some routes have improved with added trips to the 6 and 7, and extended service to route 56, but there are more improvements required. Some routes have poorer or more limited service than before.
  • Cathy suggested that GACA pass a resolution, asking the city council to change the governance structure of the transit commission.  Jon said the mayor’s office has more influence than the Transit Commission. The Transit Commission is not elected, and governance review takes place in about another year, so making any changes now would be unlikely. Board members will consider this suggestion and will have a discussion at our next meeting.

6. Geothermal Energy – Cathy

  • Cathy mentioned that some community associations are getting together to look at geothermal energy – this is a way of heating buildings without using fossil fuels, reducing the carbon footprint. It may be less expensive if households get together to make the change to geothermal energy through a communal heating system. She thought this could be a good item for our AGM.
  • It was generally felt that this is not be something that we are ready to bring our AGM or recommend to the community.  Converting to geothermal energy, replacing the heating systems for many houses, is a very complicated and expensive venture, even with grants.

7. Councillor’s Office Update

7.1 – City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan

  • The City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan outlines the City’s plans for transit, cycling, walking, driving and roads over an 18-year period. They are doing an environmental assessment in the first stage.

7.2 – Residential Fourth Density Zoning (R4 zoning)

  • The intent of the Residential Fourth Density Zoning (R4 zoning) is to allow for low rise residential buildings. However, current lot size restrictions mean that a low-rise apartment building often may not be allowed on the lot of a former single-family home, even if the lot is designated R4. The proposed zoning changes will enable a wider range of low-rise, multi-unit infill housing in R4-zoned neighbourhoods.

7.3 – City council is returning

  • City council is returning on January 29th. There will be a vote on a new tree protection bylaw. Trees are important for the environment, physical health and well-being, and traffic calming. We need to do a better job of protecting our trees. This bylaw has already passed through committee.  Some homeowners have been trying to lower fines, but these efforts have been defeated.

7.4 – Climate Change Master Plan

  • This has also passed committee and needs to go to Council. The plan is wide-ranging, proposing measures across all city operations – from new development, to transportation, to preserving wetlands. This is the next step arising from the climate emergency resolution that passed last year.

7.5

  • Council will also be voting on the housing strategy; more resources are needed to help people get off the street.  Catherine McKenney will be presenting a motion to declare a Housing Emergency.

8. Update on 7 Maclean Street (Sue)

  • There was a meeting on Dec 18th. Fourteen people from the community were present, in addition to the councillor’s office, 2B, Fotenn, and prospective new owners.
  • The proposal has changed from 8 units in 3 stories to 7 units, with the top floor having 3 bedrooms and being owner-occupied. Instead of being open to all, the rooftop patio is now planned to be only accessible to the top unit. The floor plate of the building had also shrunk from the original plan, so that the only variance that will be required is the actual size of the property – while this is in an R4 zone, there’s supposed to be a minimum lot area for an apartment building to be permitted.
  • However, the city is in the middle of an R4 review with the intent to allow more density in urban areas. We expect that the changes to R4 zoning, as a result, would mean that a proposal such as this would be allowed to be on a property of this size.
  • We asked for a number of modifications, including asking to save the spruce trees in front, changing the planned location of the trees planned for the rear of the property from the east side to the west, and asking for some parking to be included. It’s uncertain whether any of these changes will be adopted.

9. Treasurer’s Report (Maja)

  • GACA’s current account balance at the RBC is $4,230.00
  • Four cheques from GACA’s account for expenses in 2019 have not been processed because of a hold placed on cheques issued from the account. It is unclear why this hold note was placed – likely due to a miscommunication with an RBC advisor. The hold has since been removed. We will need to re-issue new cheques and pay any charges incurred by the old cheques. Our RBC contact said she will reverse any charges incurred from this issue.
  • On a positive note, we now have Internet access to our GACA banking account via RBC online banking.
  • Maja looked at different bank accounts with the RBC that have lower fees.
  • She suggested that we stay with RBC and change to an account that does not have a monthly fee.
  • This new account would entitle us to write two cheques a month at no charge, and deposit two cheques a month at no charge.  Additional cheques would incur a fee. However, cash deposits would cost a $10.00 fee for every thousand dollars in cash deposited. Maja did the comparisons of cost to the last few years and this account option would be less expensive for us.
  • Maja will order cheques and will also find out if there is a possibility of accepting Interac e-transfers with this kind of account, and if there would be charges.
  • The board will then decide in another discussion if we wish to change our current account to this new option at the RBC bank, or any other bank account that Maja might find that would lower our fees.

10. Meeting Protocols (Sue and Gabrielle)

  • In the last couple of GACA board meetings, we were unable to get through our agenda, as it takes longer to get through the items if there is a discussion ongoing during the presentation.
  • We could go back to 2 hour-long meetings or introduce a meeting protocol. The latter was preferred to longer meetings. We should be able to present without interruption, with a discussion following the presentation.
  • Although it partially depends on how many items there on the agenda, we do need to restrict the time that we allow for discussion for each item. We also need to be more focused on agenda items.
  • Discussions of major items may require 20 minutes. New items should be limited to 10 minutes – although this will be flexible, depending on the subject being discussed.

11. Letter to Rental Homeowners in the Glebe Annex (Sue)

  • Lee started the project of locating property owners a couple of years ago.
  • Linda completed the list of properties we know are landlord owned (we may not have captured all of them).
  • The letter to landlords is meant to be an introduction to GACA and to encourage them to join our regular email list – alternately, they can be on a distribution list that is specific to landlord issues.
  • Sue provided a draft letter to review in advance of the meeting.
  • A suggestion was made to include the mention of membership possibility, without a push that it is required. A couple of minor changes were required. Sue will circulate the letter with the changes.
  • Sue made a motion to spend up to $40.00 for stamps and envelopes, this was seconded by Maja, and carried.

12. AGM – To be held on May 13th, 2020 (Sue)

  • It is time to think about what key speakers we would like to have at our May AGM.
  • Traffic is a big issue and may be our special feature at the AGM.
  • Last year we had Canada Lands Corporation speak on 291 Carling, and Constable Lemieux speak about safety.
  • John Howard Society was suggested, but JHS has taken up two of our AGMs already.  There is still no start date for the 275 Carling project, which was originally owned by Taggart and now Katasa. David suggested we have a list of the development projects and their status at our AGM, as we did last year.
  • If anyone comes up with additional suggestions, please forward them to Sue.

13. Adjournment

  • The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

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