Local School Volunteer Opportunities

 

King Edward Public School is currently looking to recruit at least 1 volunteer who would be willing to be a part of their School Council. Their mandate includes having representatives from the community who do not have students attending the school as part of the School Council, so your voice would be very much appreciated.

The requirement would be to attend Council meetings – there are 5 more meetings throughout the school year, all on a Tuesday night at 6:30. In this role, you can provide a neighbourhood voice at the school to discuss how it is showing up in our community and is educating our children. The person(s) who choose to join could also lend their skill and passion to events hosted by School Council throughout the year, but this is not required.

If interested, please contact: <kingedschoolcouncil@gmail.com>

If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities, please check out the websites of these schools in and around our MHBP neighbourhood.

King Edward School https://ked.wrdsb.ca/

Preuter School https://pru.wrdsb.ca/

Margaret Avenue Public School https://mrg.wrdsb.ca/

St. Teresa School https://stteresak.wcdsb.ca/

Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate Institute (KCI) https://kci.wrdsb.ca/

 

AGM CoChair “State of the Neighbourhood” Introduction

Thanks to everyone who came out to our 2017 AGM on October 21. It was great to see some new people and to chat with neighbours before and after the event. We had some great presentations about transit, city updates and an “insider” view of development. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of these presentations on this Blog.

Here is the opening address from our Co-Chair Levi Oakey. about the state of our neighbourhood and some of our hopes for the future.

2017: In Review

Ebbs and Flows

Introduction

I would like to start by acknowledging that we reside on the unceded territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. I feel extremely privileged that I have been able to live on this land for the last 6 years.

Our neighbourhood has been a part of the history of Kitchener for many years. Louis Breithaupt first built his tannery in Kitchener at the corners of St.Leger and Louisa in 1857 and also built a large home, colloquially called Waldeck. Our hood comprises many sub-units as well, defined by their own unique histories. Midtown, Fairfield, Hillside, Lancaster, Mount Hope, Breithaupt Park and many others. MHBPNA was started in 1984 and over many years, like the river that meanders just beyond our borders, we have had many ebbs and flows. 2017 was a transitional year and I believe is an ebb before what I believe will be a transformational 2018.

Programs

At the beginning of 2017, we at the Mount Hope Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association were without a leadership team after many fruitful years under Lane Burman and Ted Parkinson’s fantastic tenure. I myself had first begun working with the neighbourhood association during that time. We made a decision to run the Neighbourhood Association by a committee of three, Shannon Sweeney, Carly Greco and myself. As a committee we set to work on some programs for the year.

Breithaupt Park Athletic Club

We once again ran the local neighbourhood soccer club that we call Breithaupt Park Athletic Club. We had close to 100 kids registered this year, expanding for the third year in a row. We also hosted a multi-neighbourhood event for Neighbours day at the Breithaupt Centre with participants from 6 other neighbourhood soccer programs.

Neighbourhood Garage Sale

2017 saw the relaunch of our successful neighbourhood garage sale. We created a digital map to point out the various houses with sales available. This was the same weekend as the Hohner Avenue Porch Party and turnout was very good. We’re excited to continue this tradition.

Our New Website

Throughout all of the events of the past year (and since 2008), Ted Parkinson has maintained the MHBPNA blog, a site that continues to see significant readers looking for information on what changes are occurring in our community. Nearing the end of this fiscal year, we began to transition the site to a WordPress blog hosted at www.mhbpna.org. This will help us to keep it more up-to-date and has combined the functions of mhbpna.org and the (original) Blogspot blog. We continue to work on the site and add new functionality and resources so please visit frequently.

Cooperative Programs

We have also been working with the Waterloo Region Songwriters group by providing free meeting space (if you would like information on this search for “Waterloo Regional Songwriters’ Group” on Facebook). Executive members have been also been meeting with the region and the City of Kitchener with other community organizations to discuss ongoing development issues around growth. We are hoping to create a “working group” on development in our neighbourhood and will advertise it on our website.

Challenges

We continue to meet significant challenges in our neighbourhood. Although our borders have always been defined by major arterial roads, the introduction of LRT and potential introduction of high speed rail will further segregate the community from the main hubs of Kitchener as well as, importantly, from the two main high schools that service our area in KCI and Bluevale. As well, with the widening of Weber street, we have a line that now severs our community down the middle. As our community has transitioned to a younger demographic, these changes are important.  We need strong community voices at the table to encourage the city and region to think of pedestrian connections throughout our community. Increasingly our community is being defined by the asphalt that is used in its surface parking lots and roadways than by the people that reside in it. Attempts to de-pave, such as the painting of the Ahren’s street crossing, remain priorities. As well as the need to connect neighbours to each other through events that we hope will get neighbours talking and noticing what both connects us and the infrastructure that is holding us back from making those connections.

Another challenge is our neighbourhood’s lack of retail options that help define places and interests. Our retail centres sit at the periphery of the neighbourhood (Lancaster to the East or King Street to the West). Beyond those locations it is a significant walk to get any type of store-front retail service. We need to encourage alternative stores, Etsy shops, and pop-ups to afford the entrepreneurs in our community the opportunity to sell their goods and for neighbours to have the opportunity to meet.

Opportunities

Beyond all of these challenges are immense opportunities. We have great biking and walking trails through Breithaupt Park, several parks and playgrounds (some of which have been recently refurbished) and the Spurline which has “spurred” many great opportunities to connect through the neighbourhood.

We also have examples, throughout the neighbourhood, of neighbours working together. And we, as a neighbourhood association can expand on this! We will encourage more frequent contact with our neighbours and with the City as an affiliate organization to identify potential issues and to help with coming up with solutions.

For more events and contact to happen we need more community partners. Our board is readily accessible and all our meetings are public. We have kept compulsory meetings to a minimum and we are happy to video conference members in.

As a Neighbourhood Association we would love to be the hub of activity, a conduit by which neighbours can bring their own unique perspective, events, opportunities to the table. One example of this is the return of what is called the Preuter Pace. This is a cross country run that starts at Preuter Public School but weaves it’s way through the Breithaupt Park trails. As an NA we’re helping to sponsor the ribbons that will be handed out at the end of the race. What I love about this initiative is that it is active, it’s community run and targeted towards our youngest neighbours. The ones we most desire to feel a connection to our little slice of this city.

We’re excited for the many challenges that our neighbourhood faces, and we are can’t wait to see the many creative solutions we as a community can deliver.

Thank you.

Levi Oakey

 

AGM, October 21, 10 am – Noon, Solarium, Breithaupt Centre

Come out to our Annual General Meeting

Learn about your neighbourhood. Eric Pisani from the Region of Waterloo will discuss changes to the bus routes and the overall transit strategy as it ties into the LRT. Councillor Sarah Marsh will give us an update from City Hall and talk about the changes in our area. We will also have a “guest” presentation on specific developments in our neighbourhood that are in the planning stages. There is lots to talk about so come and be engaged.

Learn about the MHBPNA: Members of the executive will discuss events we sponsored and assisted with over the past year including soccer programs, Neighbours day, the Big Breithaupt Campout, Waterloo Region Songwriters, our Garage Sale, and City planning and development meetings where we have contributed our perspective. We will also have a Financial report.

Election of the executive: we rely on the volunteers who sit on the executive to coordinate our events. We have many formal positions laid out in our constitution but we have tried to make it easy for anyone to participate. You can join the executive at the AGM (or afterwards) and decide in the future what position you would like. Or just be a “Member at Large” and help with whatever projects you find interesting.

Meet your neighbours! Aside from the formal presentation and elections everyone benefits from the time to connect with neighbours and friends over a coffee. You can discuss street closures, events you are planning and what is going on in your lives. You will be surprised who you meet!

–We will have a (unsupervised) room full of Lego for the kids to play with. What’s more fun than a table full of Lego? Nothing!

Refreshments! A meeting would not be complete without coffee and some other food to enjoy while listening to our featured speakers.

Where is the Solarium? If you enter the Breithaupt Center at the main entrance, turn right, walk past the reception area, and turn right again, and then left. We will be there!

Everyone is welcome. You do not have to live in our ‘hood to come out to the meeting.

If you have any questions, please email us at “mhbpna@gmail.com”

The 152 Shanley Saga (fall, 2017)

As most residents are aware, the city of Kitchener’s attempt in April of 2017 to sell 152 Shanley has failed. I wish this failure was a surprise but given the constraints placed on the sale by municipal and provincial regulations, and the city’s particular method of promoting the property, failure seemed inevitable.

As documented in The Record here the minimum bid for the property was just over one million dollars which is the total amount owning in back taxes and various By-Law infraction charges (for the past several years the city has been trimming the trees and bushes and generally maintaining the property because the owner refuses to perform those tasks).

As the Record article above states, tax sales are “very tightly regulated under the Municipal Act and a municipality isn’t able to accept any bids that don’t cover the costs of all taxes owed on the property, as well as the costs of running the tax sale.” The sale had only one bid for $200,000 which was rejected.

If the city were allowed to accept that bid, and the new owner cleaned up the land and build a condo unit that, eventually, generated taxes we would all be better off in the long run. But that is not the case and of course we do not know how feasible the lone bidder’s development plan was for the site.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Once the initial tax sale fails, the city has an option to hold a second sale where the property can be sold for less than the taxes and fees owning. But this process is not automatic and requires city staff to organize it. Our councillor, Sarah Marsh, has stated she is pushing this option at committee meetings but even if it does go ahead, it will take some time. For example, this article

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/6227791-kitchener-to-put-contaminated-factory-site-up-for-sale/

in January 2016 describes the “upcoming” tax sale that did not happen until over one year later (April 2017). And that is with everyone at the city on board!

MHBPNA contacted the city towards the end of 2016 and again in 2017 to get an explanation for the delay. The response was that interest had been shown in the property and the city wanted to give those potential bidders more time to develop their proposals.

The key to a second sale is to find a bidder with a solid plan and the finances to manage both the cleanup of the contamination and the site’s development which will take years. The environmental issues are regulated at the Provincial level (Ministry of the Environment) and the developer must first have a cleanup plan approved before any work can be done.

So if everything goes smoothly at city hall, it will probably be at least two years before we see another sale. And if that was successful, it would be another couple of years minimum before the cleanup and development plans were approved and the site remediation begun. We don’t know how long the cleanup would take, or how it would be integrated with the construction but I estimate at least a couple of years for that phase. So if everything snapped into place (which has not happened for the past 30+ years) an actual building might be erected by 2022 at the earliest!

Since Blog articles should be short I will end here. But I’m writing a second article that backgrounds several of the “issues” involved in selling the property. Stay tuned!

Ted Parkinson

Welcome to the new home of the MHBPNA Blog!

We have just moved our Blog from mhbpna.blogspot.ca to our mhbpna.org domain. With everything on one page it should be easier to view our articles, read about events in our community and generally communicate with our neighbours.

We still have our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mhbpna/) which we use for small notices and as notification for articles published on this Blog.

This is also a history of our neighbourhood and has articles all the way back to 2008.

Please contact us at mhbpna@gmail.com if you have any questions.

 

Waterloo Regional Police Survey

The Waterloo Region Police are asking citizens to fill out a survey to help them develop their 2018 – 2020 business plan. They would like to set goals for the next three years and beyond. You can help them by filling out the survey here.

This is the full link in case the one above did not work (you can copy and paste):

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CommunitySurvey2020 

Sand Cleaning



There is a wonderful word called “infrastructure”. 

It can be as big a deal as a Light Rapid Transit system, or as small as the city of Kitchener cleaning the sand in its playgrounds to make it safer for children to play. These photos were captured at the Duke St. Playground. (click to enlarge)

City of Kitchener puts out tender for Art at Weber and Guelph!

The City of Kitchener sent us this information so we are posting it for everyone to read:

 

City of Kitchener Request for Proposal:  Art in the Public Realm – Weber Street and Guelph Street (closes July 7, 2017)
The City of Kitchener invites professional design firms/artists to submit a proposal for a two-stage competition to design and produce a site-specific public art piece for installation near the corner of Weber Street West and Guelph Street in Kitchener, Ontario. The successful proponent will design and fabricate a piece that reflects the evolution of Kitchener’s economy, including, but not limited to, Kitchener’s industrial and manufacturing history and emerging technology and IT sectors. Kitchener’s progression towards becoming a more sustainable and environmentally conscious community should also be incorporated into the design.
The Request for Proposal documents (bid number P17-037) can be found on the City of Kitchener website at: https://kitchener.bidsandtenders.ca/Module/Tenders/en/Tender/Detail/8b9b1a37-4aa9-46b1-9c2a-b7bf4d0b1a1d

Anyone can view the documents for free, but please note that interested bidders will need to be registered on the City’s system, which includes a registration fee. Questions and clarification regarding this Request for Proposal will be accepted up until June 23, 2017 through the link above. The deadline for submissions is no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 7, 2017.