MAY 2018 SPRING GENERAL MEETING MINUTES

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Regal Heights Residents’ Association Spring General Meeting
Tuesday, May 15, 6:30 pm, Dufferin/St. Clair Libarary

Present from the Executive: John Keating (chair), Marie Goldthorpe, Florence Watts, Rosa Cordiano, Margaret Smith, Richard Cavanagh, Dave Meslin, Mary Anne Quance, Peter Norman, Harry Lay, Linda DeGiorgio, Rosa Cordiano, Siva Swaminathan

Regrets: Beth Marcilio, Harry Lay, Carol Gallagher

Special Guests: Manjeet Matharoo, Regal Heights Village BIA; Gem Lee-Herder, Toronto Western Family Health Team, Garrison Creek Site; Schuster Gindin, Friends of Oakwood; plus several guests from the community

0.       Introductions

  • Lesley Larocque of the Dufferin/St. Clair Library welcomed residents to the Library. She says the branch is focused on attracting more people to use the facilities and meeting rooms. The branch has many programs for residents of all ages and more are being added. These include information sessions such as Exercise for a Healthy Heart on Thursday, May 24 at 2 pm and Nutrition for a Healthy Heart on May 31 at 2 pm. Also coming up is Makey Makey Playtime, a chance to learn how to control video games with everyday items. That’s 3:30 – 5 pm. Full details are at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca

1.       Street Beautification

        1. Gardens: Mary Anne Quance gave an overview of the RHRA gardening programs, including planting and maintaining public gardens and planter barrels, and maintaining the irrigation system along Rosemount Ave. She urged anyone interested in gardening to send their name and email address. The RHRA will contact people on the gardening list when there are projects to do. You can work on as many or as few projects as you wish. It’s fun and it makes the community look great. If you are interested, please email Mary Anne at maquance@gmail.com
        2. Regal Heights Maple Syrup: Dave reported that he tapped three trees in the neighbourhood and with the help of enthusiastic neighbours, boiled the sap down to produce several litres of syrup. Melissa Frew designed a label for the bottles and people who helped got a bottle each. The project was so successful he hopes to make it an annual event. Watch for emails or check the RHRA website next February if you want to get involved.
        3. Tree For Me program: Harry reported that the RHRA has twice teamed up with the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation to put on Tree For Me events. The program gives away saplings for free to anyone in the community who registers and takes a short training session on planting and maintaining their tree. Both sessions were very well attended and the RHRA plans to do another one in early 2019. Watch for emails or check the RHRA website
        4. Mayor’s Cleanup Day and Earth Day Parade: John reported that more than 20 volunteers attended the annual cleanup day in the neighbourhood, picking up trash and cleaning out public gardens. This year, there was a new addition: right after the cleanup, there was a parade in honour of Earth Day. Shannon Hancocks organized the puppet making and led the parade. Several people dressed up in costumes for the occasion and carried giant puppets, which Shannon designed and helped build. Our thanks for Shannon for her work. We hope we can do it again next year.

2.       Planning, community and communications

      1. Communications Update: Peter reported that the number of subscribers to RHRA emails briefly exceeded 400 – a record high, before slipping to just below that number. The RHRA website is getting a steadily growing number of visitors and new content is being added regularly. It’s great source of community information, upcoming events, history of the area and stories about people and places. Check out the website at www.regalheights.ca and the Association’s twitter feed at twitter.com/regal_heights
      2. Regal-Springmount Parkette and petition: Dave recapped the story about the reconfiguration of the intersection of Springmount Ave. and Regal Rd. The intersection has about 2,000 square feet of area that can be reclaimed for other uses and still have plenty of space for cars and truck. Dave proposed a plan to create a parkette there and the idea went viral online, all around the world. The City was impressed and proposed an alternate plan, which was approved by residents at a public meeting on March 20. Construction of a temporary version of the plan should begin this year. Councillor Cesar Palacio is keen to have the temporary version made into a permanent one as soon as possible, but he needs community support to do so. If you want to help, go the RHRA website at www.regalheights.ca and sign the petition.
      3. Street Signs Marking Garrison Creek: John reported that over the past few months, he has been corresponding with the city regarding a request to install a few special street signs that would mark the approximate route of the old Garrison Creek through our neighbourhood. A design has now been chosen and work should get underway in the coming months. You can see the design on the RHRA website
      4. Ward Boundary Changes: Margaret summarized the changes in municipal ward boundaries that will take effect on December 1 of this year. The changes are intended to even out the number of residents represented in each ward. The City is increasing the number of wards from 44 to 47. The process will change some boundaries, add three new wards in the downtown area, along with one in North York and remove the existing Ward 18. The RHRA area, which is now in Ward 17, represented by Cesar Palacio will become part of the new Ward 15, represented by whoever wins the ward in the October municipal election. You can find out more HERE

4.       Special Events

      1. Provincial Election Candidates Meeting: Margaret invited all residents to attend the Candidates Meeting at Oakwood Collegiate at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 16.
      2. RHRA Garage Sale: Linda reported that the bi-annual RHRA Garage Sale will take place on Saturday, June 16. All are invited to set out your treasures for sale. This year, the event will be accompanied by a BIA Street Sale all along St. Clair Ave. Find some bargains and support your local businesses!
      3. Regal Heights Family Pub Night: The next pub night is Thursday, June 28 at the Fox & Fiddle, starting at 6:30. Children are welcome and you get 25% off your food order (except for discounted items.) It’s always a fun time and a good chance to meet your neighbours.
      4. New Syrian refugee project: John reported that many members of the community donated to help bring the Alaalyan family from Syria in December of 2016. The family is now thriving and happy to be living in Canada. Now the organizing committee that helped sponsor them has started work on bringing more of the Alaalyan family to this country. The committee needs to raise $60,000 and your contribution will make a difference. Watch for emails, door-to-door visits and information on the RHRA website to see how you can get involved. If you want to make a contribution right now, go to www.canadahelps.org and search for “United Neighbours Refugee Settlement.” Donations of $25 or more will receive a tax receipt.
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      1. Oakwood Collegiate Special Events: Schuster reported that Oakwood Collegiate has two special events at the end of May. On May 30, 6:30 – 8:30 is Open Doors, featuring a discussion of a possible French Immersion program and a display of beautiful live-edge wooden tables created by the students. On the same day at the same time, the school will put on the Oakwood Renaissance Expose, an exhibition of student art. For details, contact the school.
      2. Winter Carnival Planning: Siva reported that early planning is underway for a Winter Carnival on January 26, 2019. We hope to have a wide variety of winter activities, food and possible horse-drawn carriage rides. The RHRA plans to work with the BIA on the project. Ideas include special discounts at local restaurants and winter-themed sales. We need interested people to join our planning committee. If you want to get involved, please contact Siva at sivakswaminathan@gmail.com

      5.       Membership 

      1. New membership and fundraising pilot program: Dave explained his proposal for changing the way memberships are handled. He said it is more important to increase involvement of residents than to sell memberships. At the moment there are many residents who don’t even know about the RHRA. Memberships currently only generate a few hundred dollars. Dave proposed that we try a pilot program that would extend membership for free to anyone in the community who wants it. Residents would have an automatic right to vote on issues at RHRA meetings. In place of membership fees, we would conduct online fundraising once or perhaps twice a year. Dave also proposes making a special effort to reach residents of apartment buildings by having Canada Post deliver information flyers to all residents. He also proposed evaluating the pilot at the Annual General Meeting in the fall to see if revenue and community engagement have increased. The proposal was approved anonymously.
      2. More information and details on the pilot project can be found on our website here.

      6.       Police Community Partnership: 

      1. Rosa distributed information on crime statistics in the area and reported that Regal Heights is a very safe area. Nonetheless, she said police urge residents to make sure their doors and cars are locked. Thieves will often strike in summer when family members are out in the garden. Rosa also summarized efforts by the police for community outreach.

      7.       Community Welcome Project: 

      1.  Deferred

      7.       Finances:  Linda DeGiorgio reported the latest finance as follows:

      1. Finances March 19, 2018 May 15, 2018
        Operating Fund 5,604.00 5,610.00
        Heritage Fund 276.00 276.00
        Street Sale (in trust) 192.00 192.00
        Petty Cash 272.00 302.55
        Total 6,344.00 6,380.55

      Next Meeting: Tuesday September 18 at 7 pm, location TBA