Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DCA Report for June, 2009

 by DCA Board members Eric Darwin & Ida Henderson

The first regular monthly meeting of the new Board of Directors for the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) was held June 3, 2009 at the Dalhousie Community Centre (DCC), corner of Empress and Somerset Streets. Councilor Diane Holmes’ office was represented by Laura Bergen, among other guests.

An important agenda item was the election of the 2009/10 DCA executive. Archie Campbell had informed the Board that he would not seek re-election as President since his new duties as Chair of a provincial organization require too much of his time. The Board extended profound thanks to Archie for all the years he’s led and represented the DCA and expressed appreciation that he will remain an active Board member. The new officers are:
Eric Darwin, President;
Ida Henderson, Vice-President;
Maija Kajis and Zsofia Orosz jointly, Secretary;
and David Seaborn, Treasurer.

Some of the other items discussed were:

Arms Trade Fairs on City Property

The Board voted to support Councilor Alex Cullen’s motion before the city’s economic affairs committee to re-establish the 20-year-old ban on arms trade shows on city-owned property and calling upon the provincial and federal governments to take similar steps to prevent the leasing of their facilities to such military/armaments trade shows. Among the rationales for this support: it is municipalities and civilians who bear the greatest brunt of modern warfare, not the military. Cities need to be at the forefront in promoting peace, not aiding and abetting the arms industry. Such trade fairs could still take place in Ottawa, but at commercial not municipal facilities.

Dominican Garden land sale update

Councilor Holmes has arranged a meeting with city officials in early June to discuss progress. Sean Darcy of the DCA will attend.

Proposed Urban Tree Conservation By-law

The Board agreed to support this initiative which would require private property owners to apply to the city for a permit to remove trees over 70 cm in diameter. The aim is to protect Ottawa’s tree canopy which is still significant, but continually threatened by building and parking lot expansion and the actions of individual property owners. As well, the Emerald Ash Borer has appeared in Ottawa. Since about 25 per cent of the trees in Ottawa are ash, this pest could eliminate a large part of the tree canopy within the next 10 to15 years. Trees in the urban area have an overall positive impact on Ottawa’s air quality, water quality, energy use, stormwater retention capacities, and climate change mitigation. Planting new trees and conserving existing trees are vital for a healthy city.

Bluesfest

The Association will be represented at several coming meetings regarding Bluesfest. We will be meeting with City officials to work towards better parking arrangements and less friction between residents who find all the on-street parking is used up. We advise residents to avoid parking on corners and other improper spaces as traffic enforcement officers will be patrolling the neighborhood.

Due to the construction of Preston, we need to ensure emergency vehicles can navigate the neighborhood. We will also be working to ensure that informal parking on LeBreton Flats does less damage to the bike path along the aquaduct and the new multi-purpose path and landscaping along Albert Street. We will be meeting with City, NCC, and Bluesfest representatives about noise abatement and monitoring. Residents who find the noise levels intolerable or have other complaints should call 3-1-1 and ask to have their complaint registered so that the number and types of complaints can be tracked.

Developments

The Association has been informed that the proposed low-rise housing development at the corner of Gladstone and Cambridge (site of the ‘bright yellow house’) is apparently proceeding. Plans show 7 narrow townhouses facing Cambridge, with parking at the rear accessed from Gladstone. One unit, along Gladstone, will have a small commercial space on the ground floor. We were impressed by the quality of the planned front yard landscaping, tree planting, and the intimate scale of the project on a site where a larger apartment building could have been proposed.

A small three story apartment structure of a modern design is proposed for 193 Preston Street. The eight proposed apartments will be rentals; there will be one or two commercial spaces on the ground floor facing Preston. Work is also scheduled to go ahead in June for the Z6 condo on Booth at Balsam, facing St Anthony School. The building has been scaled back from 5 stories to four.

Eyesores

The Association has identified several properties in the area with severe maintenance deficiencies or possible misuse under the zoning bylaws. We complained about two on Booth Street and have property standards enforced, excessive signage removed, and dumped materials removed. We will continue to target eyesores one at a time to improve neighborhood safety and appearance.

Transportation

Board members will continue to participate in the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel meetings and give our input to elected representatives and staff. We have to be aware of what is happening in other wards too, as decisions there can impact the livability of our neighborhood. We favor the construction of a LRT transit system from Lincoln Fields to Blair, and expansion of the OTrain alignment further south.

Next regular meeting

The Board’s July meeting will be a brief one prior to the annual BBQ social at a member’s home.Tthe next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board will be Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the DCC, 755 Somerset St. Anyone is welcome to attend.

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