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

Kitchener is seeking citizen advisors for Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF)

Two citizen advisors are being sought for the City of Kitchener’s new $5 million Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) steering committee. Deadline for citizen advisor application is Jan. 30 by 5 p.m. 

The two citizen advisors will be members of the public who are environmental experts and/or community leaders with experience in granting organizations. A two-year commitment is required, with the evaluation work to occur in each of 2009 and 2010 between mid-February and mid-April.

The applicants must also be passionate about improving Kitchener’s biophysical environment, and at least one of the two citizen advisors must provide environmental expertise in one or more of the following areas: 

·            Climate change;

·            Mitigation and/or adaptation;

·            Public awareness of environmental issues;

·            Air quality;

·            Energy use and efficiency;

·            Alternative energy sources;

·            Land trusts and natural lands management, and/or

·            Green transportation, walkable communities and alternatives to the automobile.

Nomination forms, submission information and further information about the LEAF steering committee can be found at www.kitchener.ca/leaf