GACA marks 10 years

By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, May 2023)

As the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) prepares for our upcoming Annual General Meeting, it’s an opportunity to look back on the year that was and on the decade since our founding 10 years ago.

The impetus for creating a community association stems back to a development proposed in 2012 by Taggart – a 20-storey condominium at 265 (now 275) Carling Avenue. (This is now the 16-storey retirement residence being built by the Katasa Groupe.) Lynn Barlow, the Glebe Community Association (GCA) president at time, wrote about the development in the Glebe Report in September 2012. She pointed out that the site on the west side of Bronson was outside the Glebe boundary, but she also noted that the vast majority of respondents to a survey opposed the proposed height of the building.

The column and the concerns about the proposal resonated with people in the Glebe Annex. Sylvia Milne was one of those people. In true Sylvia fashion, she quickly took action, consulting the GCA, the Dow’s Lake Resident’s Association (DLRA), city planners and local residents, concluding that to have a voice at city hall, the area should have representation. Lynn agreed to help the cause. In her November column, she asked that anyone wishing to organize a resident’s group on this issue should contact Sylvia.

Two people were indeed interested. I had previously joined the GCA’s Parks Committee to represent Dalhousie South Park. Peggy Kampouris had previously been involved with the Hintonburg Community Association and the Dalhousie South Residents’ Association, which had been formed in the early 1990s, primarily to create a park in the neighbourhood. Peggy also had a keen interest in safety issues.

Sylvia, Peggy and I reached out to the neighbourhood, asking if anyone would be interested in joining a neighbourhood community association. Nearly 30 people voiced an interest, which is significant in a neighbourhood that is just 500 metres by 350 metres in size! In December 2012, the first unofficial meeting of the fledgling community association was held, where attendees agreed that the creation of an association was in the interest of the neighbourhood.

At the time, three names were under consideration – The Annex, The Glebe Annex and Glebe West, and it would be either a Residents’ Association or a Community Association. On February 6, 2013, our first “general” meeting was held. A poll was circulated to decide the name of the association, and we officially became the Glebe Annex Community Association. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since our founding, we have been engaged in numerous neighbourhood and city-wide issues. Of course, fighting to lower the height of the proposed condo on Carling was one of the first priorities, which we did with the help of both the GCA and the DLRA. We advocated for Dalhousie South Park to be renewed, which was accomplished in 2018, enormously increasing the useability of the park. We have brought the community together by hosting numerous events, including parties in the park, movie nights and community clean-ups. GACA has been a strong advocate on community safety, working closely with our community police officers, and has worked to improve pedestrian and road safety. We have provided information to and consulted with the community on proposed developments in the area as well as on overall city plans and policies, including fighting to keep building heights manageable and saving trees and greenspace. In that vein, GACA built a pollinator garden in Dalhousie South Park, now a haven for bees and other pollinators.

GACA will hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, May 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Our guest speakers will be Councillor Shawn Menard and Robert Bell from the DLRA, who will speak to the community about the Katasa Development at 774 Bronson, on the southwest corner of Bronson and Carling, and the DLRA’s efforts to improve the proposal. Robert was in fact at our very first AGM in 2013 and is one of our biggest supporters in the effort to reduce the height of 275 Carling. We are thrilled to have him back, 10 years later, to speak to us about another important issue that will impact the community. Please join us at our AGM. For more information on the AGM, please see our website: glebeannex.ca.