DCA Minutes 2 May 2012 [ draft ]

DCA Minutes, 2 May 2012

Present: Michael Hatfield, Charles Akben-Marchand, Ida Henderson, David Seaborn, Pat Snair, Stephanie Strudwick, Don Smith, Heather Hossie, Wendy Hunter, Michael Powell, Grant Holly, Samantha McGavin, Sean Darcy, Rob Bryce, Pam Connolly, Eric Darwin, Jon Svazas

Minutes of April: with minor corrections, minutes were approved

Development Committee report:

• the basics of the Claridge proposal for 505 Preston (at Carling) were reviewed, ie 45 stories, on a three to six floor podium, no comment as yet as it is still very preliminary proposal.

• Planning Committee at the City has passed the infill zoning guidelines, to which we had input, we are pleased to see the new rules passed

72 Cambridge went to the Committee of Adjustment to approve the 7 apartments now built, but the Committee turned it down, citing complaints about the landlord’s previous lack of attention to the property. Landlord agreed to abide by the Committee’s decision to allow only five units. From the street, it appears all units are still occupied. Members agreed Eric should contact Property Standards and inquire if the building is now compliant.

• Eric reviewed a discussion he had with the Councillor, proposing a more detailed planning study be undertaken in a short time frame for the Rochester Heights , NRCan, and Carling Avenue fronting properties. Suggested consultant, George Dark. After some discussion, the board decided a CDP for the whole Dalhousie Ward area west of Bronson (and not included in the LeBreton or Bayview CDP) was overdue. Eric to consult with Councillor.

Abolishing the OMB. A motion will be going to council, copied from a Toronto motion, to abolish the OMB. The motion is very hard to follow, some readers think it abolishes the OMB entirely, some think it replaces it with an Ottawa-based panel, some thought it reduced the appealable actions to the Committee of Adjustment decisions only and excluded Council decisions. Several members questioned what sort of appeal mechanism beyond Council would be desirable – the courts? No appeals at all? There were expressions of distrust that Council could make long term planning decisions separate from short-term electoral considerations. We decided to table the motion until it becomes clearer what is meant. No motion was passed, Mike Powell to follow up the issue esp regarding appeals.

Matt Eason from the Rail Office at the City made a PPT presentation on the process leading up the current state of the OLRT project. A contractor is expected to be selected by the end of the year. The trains will run at 3 minute 15 second intervals (at peak hours). There are incentives in the contract to complete it earlier than the 2018 current schedule. Several questions were directed at Matt regarding consultation about the station designs (insufficient). Matt assured us there would not be an additional Confederation Square station. Members remain unconvinced the City will get the best project without more community review of the final plan.

Election of Officers. This being the first meeting after the AGM, elected board members had to select some officers. President is to be Michael Powell; Vice President Eric Darwin. Treasurer is David Seaborn; Secretary is Zsofia Oroz. Michael Hatfield will continue to chair the meetings.

Committee structure. The board decided to have the following committees:

Development – for building issues, site plans, infills, rezoning, neighborhood plans, parks, etc. A major concern is pushing the Bayview-Carling CDP forward, which has once again slipped badly in its timeline. [David, Eric, Charles, Rob, Grant, Jon, Heather, Mike, Catherine]

Transportation – road, transit, and related issues. There are a number of transportation studies and projects throughout the neighborhood to be monitored. Some, such as Somerset, and the O-Train MultiUserPath, are a pleasure. Others, such as Bronson and Carling, are regrettably adversarial. Albert Street is a major concern, and we are frozen out by City Hall. It appears the OLRT consultation may be ending, which frustrates us, as there are many issues yet to resolve to make the OLRT a better project. [Charles, Ida, Michael, David, Michelle Perry, Don S., Eric]

Safety – for building standards, problem addresses, prostitution, slumlords, bad neighbours, etc. There was some discussion of the problems around the St Luke’s soup kitchen and the Bell-Gladstone area. [Pam, Stephanie, Jon, Paul, Rob, Pat]

• Heritage – a new committee, to investigate Heritage designation for specific properties or trees or environments within the neighborhood [Wendy, Pam,Sean, Eric]

Community gardening – this committee basically means Ida, who maintains the community gardens at Empress and Upper Lorne and Plant Pool. Additional volunteers are needed as there are new gardening opportunities, eg moving plants from Elm to Plant Pool, planting around the trees in bulbouts just installed on Booth, planting along the OTrain MUP, etc. [Ida, Eric, ?; Wendy to be the contact with the city’s greenspace committee]

Communications – group email, web site, contact lists, minutes, DCA report [Charles, Michael, Zsofia]. David and Archie will cointue to be DCA reps on the BUZZ board. As president, Michael is entitled to participate as well.

The transportation and planning committees meet once per month between the regular meetings of the whole board. Development will meet May 14th at 8pm at Pubwells and, if suitable, the second Wedn. of the month thereafter. Each committee is to select its chair, and come up with a hot list of what it is to do/influence over the next year.

The board as a whole passed a motion directing the Heritage Committee to work on getting a heritage study conducted by the City for the whole area west of Bronson, while there is still some heritage to preserve.

Speed Board. Several councilors are purchasing speed boards for use within their wards. Costing about $3500 each, they record the speed of approaching traffic and display it on a digital readout. These are proven effective at reducing speeds for some weeks after the board has left, ie it changes habits. The transportation committee to approach the Councillor about buying one or more. Eric will also be meeting with the Civic Hospital Assoc about 30kmh and 40kmh speed limits.

Bronson continues to plague the neighborhood, even while closed to traffic. Businesses along the street are absolutely dead with no traffic on the street. We agreed the City should facilitate more vehicles to filter along the street during the closure. Detouring traffic is “maze running” all the adjacent streets, often at high speeds, often the wrong way down one-way streets, ignoring stop signs, and generally behaving badly. Prostitutes and panhandlers have also appeared to solicit queued up cars on Gladstone. The Safety Committee (ie Pam) has already brought this to the attention of the local constable, and the police are planning additional enforcement. We will need to continue to push for safe streets.

Neighborhood safety: several members expressed concerned that the neighborhood was seeing a slight backsliding in neighborhood safety. In addition to prostitution, pimps, and panhandlers on Gladstone (particularly around Bell), there are more people rough sleeping in the Searson-Clarke public parking garage beside St Luke’s, with concomitant crime, car theft, break-ins, and debris. A mini-crime wave continues to plague the Elm/Rochester area. The Chinatown area continues to have too many vacancies and run-down premises. On the other hand, new infill projects at Balsam/Rochester, Booth/Balsam, and Cambridge/Gladstone will introduce new residents and improve stability.

Next Meeting: June 6 at the Dalhousie Community Centre, 7pm.