The Glebe Annex Community Association During COVID – what have we been up to?

By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, May 2021)

After cancelling our Annual General Meeting (AGM) due to COVID 19 last year in the hopes of returning to an in-person event this year, the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) has decided to forge ahead with a virtual AGM this year. Despite the pandemic, GACA has been quite busy, and we feel it’s important to update our members on some of our efforts, as well as on the many projects taking place in our neighbourhood. The AGM, which will be held at 7 p.m on Tuesday, May 18th, will also include an update from Councillor Menard, and will feature an update from Ottawa Traffic Services on traffic issues in the Glebe Annex. (AGM Zoom call details can be found on our website, glebeannex.ca.)

This traffic update stems from community consultations dating back to the fall of 2019, when GACA heard concerns from the community about pedestrian safety and other traffic-related issues. We engaged Councillor Menard and Ottawa Traffic Services to see what we could do to improve the situation. To date, our successes have been modest – namely, we managed to move parking from the north side of Clemow to the south side. Given that most residences are on the north side of the street, this helps stop people from parking in front of/blocking people’s driveways, while providing more spaces for actual parking, as there are fewer driveways on the south side. This is a win for both neighbours as well as local businesses. While this has been our largest victory to date, we’re still working on a number of measures related to traffic calming and safety, and hope to be able to discuss them, as well as hear the community’s feedback, at the AGM.

This will be the second year that GACA will be running a virtual membership campaign. We feel very fortunate that so many residents continued to support us last year by purchasing annual memberships, even without a door-to-door visit, and are hoping this support will continue for 2021.

While there is much construction still happening in our neighbourhood, COVID has delayed much of the construction activity, including one of our own projects. GACA started plans to build a pollinator garden in Dalhousie South Park in 2019. In the summer of 2020, we were thrilled to learn that we had been awarded funds through the Community Environmental Projects Grant Program. We had hoped to build last fall, and then when that didn’t work out, were hoping for this spring. However, we are still awaiting approval from the City of Ottawa to install the garden in one of its parks. We hope to accomplish this soon, pandemic permitting!

Some of our planned activities have officially been put on hold due to COVID but are continuing unofficially. The city paused its semi-annual ‘Cleaning the Capital’ campaign as a result of the pandemic, but we know that a number of Glebe Annex residents are continuing to pick up litter and beautify the streets in the neighbourhood on their own. We have lost other planned activities altogether. In 2019, we were also awarded a grant through the Civic Events Funding Program to hold another ‘party in the park’, which we had hoped to throw in 2020. We look forward to the time where it will be safe to gather with friends and neighbours, and can’t wait to host our next party in the park. While that time seems a long way away, at some point, that that time will come. In the meantime, we, along with other residents in the Glebe Annex, are doing what we can to fulfill our mandate to “help improve our neighbourhood, to represent its interests, and to bring those who live and work in our community closer together.” See you at the AGM!

Glebe Annex residents pose questions at the last in-person GACA AGM in May 2019. Photo: Gabrielle Dallaporta