GACA Board Meeting – January 17, 2018

Minutes, Executive Meeting – Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Location: 316A Bell Street South

1. Call to Order: 6:31 p.m.

Present: Sue Stefko, David Perkins, Maja Rakocevic, Joanne Benoit

2. Amendments/Approval of Agenda

Unanimous approval

3. Amendments/Acceptance of minutes of the last meeting, November 15, 2017

Unanimous approval

4. Business arising from the minutes of the last meeting – November 15, 2017

Constitution Primer

A document entitled  “GACA Constitution at a Glance”, was provided by Sue and added as Appendix 1 to the Minutes of January 17th, 2018.  Sue’s “cheat sheet” summarizes the GACA Constitution.  The actual GACA membership numbers versus the number of emails that are sent out were discussed.  Membership is in the sixties but about 123 people get emails.  Sue explained that at one point it was decided to send out emails only to GACA members, but then later that was changed to also include those individuals who are not members but interested in receiving GACA information.   We represent everyone. There is a now a link on the GACA website so that anyone can subscribe to our mailing list by just entering their email address. David has set up this up using MailChimp.  He has put a GACA twitter feed on the main page right under the subscription sign up.   One of David’s tweet was retweeted by the Glebe Community Association and generated 2,000 tweeter views.

A short discussion took place to amend the GACA constitution to make it more inclusive to allow nonresidents of the Glebe Annex to become board members of GACA.   Sue will bring a motion to the next AGM reflecting this change.

Sue put forward a motion to accept Maja as a board member, seconded by David, all were in favour.

Sharing of the GACA Membership List with the Glebe Community Association (GCA)

Initially, the GCA had asked us to share our membership list with them but they have agreed this is not necessary. They have asked us to send out notices on their behalf on issues that we think our members would be interested in. GACA agreed that if a GCA item is thought to be important to our community, it will be sent to our members and posted on our site.

5. GACA Membership

GACA Survey Update

It was discovered that when asking questions to people door-to-door it was important to ask direct questions, such as:  How long have you lived in the neighbourhood?  What issues are important to you? How many people live in your household?   Open-ended questions did not give very good results, as people were not sure how to answer. Members are largely property owners. It was discussed that condominiums are easier to contact, as condo buildings have their own boards, although past efforts have not necessarily been well-received. We plan to conduct surveys again this year.

When the last survey was conducted there were 80 GACA members, 30 replied to the survey request, 20 were in in the Lakelander condos.   The survey revealed that respondents were adults, only one had a child under six, there was a mix of how long people have lived in the area.  Half of the respondents said they visited the GACA website.  25 out of 30 said they read about us in the Glebe Report.  As a result, Sue feels it is important to stay active writing in the Glebe Report.  The majority of the survey respondents did not have pets, only one person biked to work – 14 biked for pleasure.  In the past, Peggy organized for associations to provide bike safety courses for GACA.

The survey also indicated that most people were aware and supportive of the GACA stand on Taggart.  21 out of 30 did not use the park.  Most were opposed to high-rise buildings, 289 Carling was a concern, as were transportation issues – particularly pedestrian safety regarding the Bronson off-ramp.

David asked if we may consider a running survey on our website.   It was thought that it should be sent to the membership and not open to anyone visiting the site.

The Survey should be ready for the next membership drive. Appendix 2 to the minutes of January 17, 2018 provides more details of the survey results.

Volunteer Call-Out Letter

There was a discussion about whether we should give committee descriptions on the call-out letter, it was decided that was not necessary and important to keep the letter to one page. Sue will change the wording to reach out to people’s interests.   g. Are you interested in parks and green space?  Are you interested in safety and security?

Membership Strategies

We will postpone this discussion until Heidi is at the next meeting.

6. NDP Provincial Candidate – Proposed Meeting

The NDP Candidate for Ottawa Centre, Joel Harden would like to have a meeting with GACA.   This meeting could be to a larger audience or to the GACA Board.  He would like to hear GACA’s concerns and interests.  David and Sue felt that if we accept Joel’s request then we must be accepting any such requests from any provincial election candidates for our riding.   We all agreed.  Identified issues important for our area and for discussion with provincial candidates were identified as:  transportation – specifically road regulations, road issues, Bronson interchange, Civic Hospital and how it will impact our neighbourhood, Bill 139, Bill 65, which is now in a trial stage to lower speed limits in residential area. The GCA has been very active in this.  The NDP candidate will be invited to a board meeting.  David will look at the NDP platform.

7. Committee Development – update on Provincial Bill 139

There will be major changes with Bill 139, it will mean the demise of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), and will change how planning decisions are made, particularly concerning the appeal process. The OMB would be replaced by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), giving much more authority to the municipalities.  The LPAT will verify if the municipalities have followed their official plans, which are set by the municipalities themselves. Under Bill 139, if the city is within their own rules, no other issues will be looked at, resulting in no possibility of appeal. One concern is:  how easily will the municipalities be able to change their rules?  A lot of areas will be exempt from the appeal process. The Liberals are promoting this bill as a positive, largely because decisions are going to be faster.  One of the reasons this will be the case is because there will be few hearings, as they will not be done in person, as a matter of course, but by considering written submissions.   One possible positive outcome of Bill 139 is that they will offer free legal advice and support if you do qualify to appeal.  The appeal process with OMB was very expensive.  A number of environmental groups do not think this is a positive bill due to the limitations of appeal.

8. Committee Update on 289 Carling Development

Michael Reid of City Councillor David Chernushenko’s office has confirmed a tour of two housing facilities this Saturday, January 20th.   These are facilities that could resemble the type of housing that will be built at 289 Carling.    We will be touring Cornerstone Housing for Women on Booth Street, and Salus on Scott Street.  The Salus location on Scott Street provides independent living apartments for people with serious mental illnesses.  Michael will be accompanying us on the tour as well as Saide Sayah, Program Manager, Affordable Housing Unit, City of Ottawa.

9. Committee Update on the Dalhousie South Park renewal

Sue provided some feedback she received on the proposed plan.  Additional benches have been suggested as well as a different play structure that would be more useful. A table in front of the park has also been suggested, there is one now that is used frequently during the good weather months. There was a suggestion that the goal posts be put wider apart, also a toy storage unit would be helpful as there are many communal toys left in the park.   A power outlet was also suggested, as was a rainstick (a long hollow tube partially filled with pebbles). Consultation wraps up on January 22nd.  

10. Transportation – Active Transportation Survey

A survey was received from Ecology Ottawa, they are conducting a research on human-power transportation such as walking or cycling in Ottawa.    They are reaching out to Community Associations to get a better idea of the opportunities and problems that exist for human-power transportation.  Their goal is to help build a city that works well human-power transportation.   It was decided to go ahead reply to the survey while we were all together, although we did not complete it due to time restraints.     It is difficult to answer as a group as human power transportation is individual.  Maja recorded the responses we had and will reach out to Heidi and Sylvia for their additional feedback on the survey questions.

11. Glebe Report

Sue will talk about it in February, to see if anyone else from GACA can contribute.  She thought we could look at a historic theme and/or projects. Joanne will speak to Don, who grew up on Henry and continues to live in his original family home. He may have some information, perhaps photos.

12. AGM Proposed Date:  October 24th, Time:  6:30 p.m.

Everyone was good with the proposed date.  Joanne needs to follow up with the Glebe Association as they would not yet commit to a date for the fall when she called.

13. Proposed change in GACA Board meeting dates

Sue had proposed the change of meetings dates from the third Wednesday of the month to the fourth Wednesday, the third conflicts with the FCA meeting, which it would be good to attend.  We will check with Troy and Heidi to see if we can select a different date for our meetings, as well as room availability at the Glebe Community Centre.

14. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m., Motion put forward by Maja, seconded by Joanne.