Posted on August 1, 2018
Here are a few things happening in and around our hood in the weeks and months ahead:
The City of Kitchener is having several “Workshops on Wheels” to discuss the Cycling and Trails Master Plan. The event for Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park is scheduled for Wed, Aug 22, 2018 and starts at the Breithaupt Center. But anyone can participate in any of the rides. Just show up and talk with folks. Information is on the City’s website here.
The Guelph Street Community Garden hosts “potluck” dinners, every Wednesday Evening through July and August, 6 – 7:30 pm. For information on the garden click here.
There is a Sacred Heart School and Convent charrette proposed for this fall. This is after the model of the 152 Shanley Charrette. That one was very helpful and well organized. It remains to be seen if the city will be able to sell the Shanley property, but some good ideas were generated. We hope the charrette for the Sacred Heart property goes ahead and leads to something productive being done with those historic buildings.
Most of our ‘hood is within a 15-20 minute walk to the Kitchener Blues Festival which is taking place August 9 – 12th. That is very soon! Personally, I’m not even a huge fan of blues, but there is so much great music over the weekend that it is always an amazing event and it is wonderful to see downtown Kitchener transformed into a space alive with music, people, food and good times. My picks this year are Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding (Friday) and the Last Waltz tribute (Friday). I urge everyone to check out the schedule, search for YouTube videos of interesting artists and get some rest so you can rock out!
Do you know of more events relevant to MHBP? Please email us at email@example.com.
Posted on July 15, 2018
For several years a few people on Duke St. West have been thinking about organizing a music event in our ‘hood. The Duke Street Playground seemed like a logical place because it has play equipment for kids and many green spaces for playing and several trees for shade. In fact, many people call it the “Duke Street Park” because it is so lush and green for most of the summer. There are several “Porch Parties” in Kitchener and Waterloo that show people love to play and share music. We decided the playground would have just one stage which made it easier to organize.
A small committee (Emily, Eli and Ted) was formed from the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association to organize the event we would call the “Duke St. West Music Fest” (DSWMF). We decided on Saturday, June 23 as the date and started preparations a few months before by talking with the “Love my Hood” folks. We applied for a City of Kitchener grant to cover the Porta-potty rental, food and modest honorariums for the performers. Filling out this long form was the first test of our “team work” and after a few weeks we learned we had been approved!
We advertised on social media and our newsletter for musicians within our MHBPNA boundaries and received enough responses to fill the three hours! Our cool poster can be viewed here.
The day of the event we were threatened by rain and potential thunderstorms. We had to make a big decision about cancelling or continuing knowing that we might have to abandon the event if the thunderstorms materialized. Much time was spent on weather apps and websites!
We had several tents loaned to us by Extend-A-Family and neighbours. So we decided to go ahead, but then were informed by the city that we could not use power! This threw a wrench into things, but we agreed to go “acoustic” and moved the stage area to the front of the playground. The new location made it very inviting for people walking past to hear the music.
Ultimately some rain did fall but very little affected the performances and we were very happy. At one point I counted about 60 people listening to the music, talking quietly in the background, playing on swings and other equipment and generally walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. If you include all the people who came through, staying for different lengths of time, and those close by listening on their porches, we estimate around 130 people attended! We ordered two deliveries from the good folks at Planet Pizza on Breithaupt Street and they were will received by everyone.
We were very happy with the attendance and enthusiasm of everyone. It makes us excited to try it again next year. As Eli said “next year we will have sun and sound!”
Posted on June 23, 2018
UPDATE: The rain is going away, but there are safety concerns about running power. The rain might come back and the ground is wet as well.
However, we have three tents and a porta potty, plus snacks!
So we have decided to make the event acoustic and more of a “hang out” kind of thing. We hope everyone will still come to listen. We can even order pizza after 3.
We will see about re-scheduling the event with “amplified sound” later in the summer (with an alternate rain location).
We really hope we see you all there and will stick to the basic schedule as much as we can.
Thanks for your understanding.
Posted on June 14, 2018
This year will have our very first Duke Street West Music Festival!
We have a great list of local neighbourhood musicians:
Come by between 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, June 23 to enjoy the melodies and rhythms of the neighbourhood, some pizza and the wonderful Duke Street playground!
Updated on June 8, 2018
There is a good article in The Record about the modifications to the Breithaupt Block “phase 3”. Several residents attended the city’s open house on Tuesday evening (June 5, 2018). There were representatives from the city’s planning department and from Perimeter Development. Many expressed positive opinions about the developer’s changes which include lowering the building by two stories. The parking garage is unchanged and has less than a metre offset with the lane. The developer has stated it will be well designed but there are no renderings. A mural could help brighten it up and that might be planned.
There is a proposed new lane cutting through from Wellington to Breithaupt (visible on page 12 of these plans) and some felt a sidewalk should be included since it will certainly be used by pedestrians and it is a bit risky as currently designed.
The parkette on the corner of Moore and Wellington is now one of the entrances to the garages and a large portion of it will be raised as a “roof” to this entrance. I wonder if that could be seating for a small concert spot? Or for eating lunch?
One issue which is not specifically within Perimiter’s control is the overall traffic in the area. Each project completes its own traffic study which the city analyzes. However, in a very small area we will have BB3, the Transit Hub and the SIXO development. These will all be phased in over the next several years and we believe the city has no plan to address the conflation of traffic to all of these developments. In five to ten years time, the area could be choked with traffic. On the other hand, that offers more incentive for people to walk, cycle and take transit!
If you have comments on the modified plans please sent them soon to firstname.lastname@example.org
City council will consider this revised proposal on June 25.
The city’s page for development information is here and includes the links given above in this article. The open house contained “3D” renderings of the updated site and the city has promised to include them on their website as well.
Posted on June 2, 2018
A June Newsletter is being produced. If you would like to help deliver it, please email us at email@example.com
There are now revised plans for Breithaupt Block Phase 3 and a public meeting to discuss them at city hall on June 5. For detailed information please read this Midtown Blog article.
On Thursday, June 15, MHBPNA will host a Public Art Forum at 5 pm at the Guelph St. Community Garden. We will post more about that closer to the date and it will be in the newsletter as well.
On Saturday, June 23, MHBPNA is organizing our first (annual?) Duke St. West Music Fest! This will be from 2-5 in the Duke St. Playground between Shanley and Bismark. More details to follow!
Updated on May 8, 2018
Did everyone remember we held a photo contest? We received many amazing photos and we thank everyone who sent one (or more) in. They show off so much of our diverse neighbourhood and the beauty in our mix of urban and tree-lined landscapes. Winners were picked randomly and they are:
Kathy Mortimer $50 gift certificate from Cocoon Apothecary
Ingrid Bachmann $50 gift certificate from Cocoon Apothecary
Nathan Nederpelt $20 gift certificate to CE Bakery and Experience
Thanks to our sponsors for their support!
We will be using the photos on our website banner as yet another testimony to how cool our ‘hood is. Thanks for framing it!
We will post a few now on the “blog” part of our website and keep adding a few more each week so you can see the full size photos (we crop them to make them fit the website banner).
Updated on April 21, 2018
The City of Kitchener is hosting a Design Charrette for 152 Shanley property in preparation for its upcoming second attempt to sell. If you wish to attend they would appreciate you registering. Below is the letter sent to residents who live close to this building.
For a history of this site please click on this link.
Posted on April 15, 2018
On Monday, April 9th 2018, the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee narrowly voted for the Perimeter Group’s office project to go ahead. The Record wrote a good article about this vote here.
The Planning committee includes everyone on city council and is used to debate issues before they are approved by City Council proper. The final approval for the zoning variances will happen this Monday, April 16th. The council agenda is here and this issue is buried towards the bottom of the document in the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee’s report, item 3.
A full discussion of the meeting and links to several resources/opinions is presented on the Midtown KW blog here.
One of the issues that emerged was that the PARTS Central plan, which residents believed would protect our area from development, is not officially embedded in the city’s Official Plan. City staff led the developer through a process that they believed included the “spirit” of PARTS but residents disagreed.
FYI: the parking garage is expected to have 590 – 660 spots while the current parking lot has around 240.
Many residents are expected to turn out to the meeting on Monday, April 16. You can also express your opinion to the office of the Mayor and Council by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
Posted on April 8, 2018
The Breithaupt Block Development, which includes the Google Building, has transformed our neighbourhood. Several industrial buildings which had sat vacant for many years have been renovated and are filled with workers paying taxes and living in our city. For a look at the past you can view this Blog article.
The combination of the Breithaupt Block and the ION has accelerated both residential and commercial development in our area. This development, and the increased number of people commuting to Toronto. has led to higher house prices as we all know. Increased development and housing are all part of the Province’s and Region’s Growth Plan. It is more efficient to increase density in the core rather than building more industrial parks and the ION has helped with this goal.
Perimeter Development is now planning 12 story office building and 5 story parking garage (with retail uses) on the land which is currently a parking lot. The scope of this project, and its impact on the residential neighbourhood it sits next to, has caused some controversy among neighbours and others around Kitchener/Waterloo who suspect their neighbourhood could be next.
The Record has done a good job reporting on this issue. Here is an article introducing the plans for the office building. Here is a more recent article about neighbourhood opposition. And here is The Record’s editorial on this complex issue.
On Monday, April 9th at 7 pm the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee meets to consider the developer’s application for an Official Plan Amendment and Zone Change. The meeting’s agenda is here and the staff report on this issue starts around page 10.
Several individuals are planning to present as Delegations at this meeting. MHBPNA urges everyone with an interest in this topic to either attend the meeting in council chambers or watch the live stream.
Ted Parkinson, Communications, MHBPNA