RHRA Executive Meeting, Tuesday, April 21, 2020 7:00 pm via Zoom (Video Conference)
Attending: Peter Norman, John Keating, Linda DeGiorgio, Mary Anne Quance, Margaret Smith, Carol Gallagher, Harry Lay, Dave Meslin, Rosa Cordiano, Brigid Higgins
Regrets: Florence Watts, Beth Marcilio
It is noted that this is the first meeting of the RHRA Executive since the meeting held in February, as the regularly scheduled March, 2020 meeting was cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.
1. Projects and events
- Resolution of Dick Watts Steps trash problem
John Keating reported for Florence Watts that the situation has been resolved. There has been no further dumping at the steps and the garbage receptacles have been restored and are emptied regularly. Joggers are using the steps and all is going well. Unfortunately, the abacus was torn out recently in an act of vandalism but salvaged by Harry Lay. The abacus needs to be remounted more deeply in concrete to stay in place. Harry and Dave Meslin will work together to remount it in a more solid foundation.
- Maple Syrup 2020
John Keating reported that the season was a great success with good press coverage by Global, Zoomer Radio and both the French and English CBC. You can listen to this coverage on the RHRA website. John and Brigid Higgins represented the neighbourhood well in this regard. The yield was 36 125ml reusable glass bottles each decorated with a custom Regal Heights label, with about a liter of syrup in reserve, to be bottled later. Roughly 25 people participated in the maple syrup tapping and boil-down. There were 7 trees tapped this year and It would be great to have even more trees on private property next year. John has good ideas for next year’s maple syrup season so stay tuned.
- Virtual Pub Night
John Keating reported for Beth Marcilio. The usual bi-monthly pub night of Thursday, April 23rd will take place on Zoom. We will try out this new format given the COVID-19 restrictions. Good ideas have come forth to make the evening fun; check out the RHRA website for more information and ways to join in with neighbours and friends.
- Earlscourt Park Centenary update
Margaret Smith provided an update on plans for the Earlscourt Park Centenary this October. Planning for various lead-up events throughout the summer is currently on hold. Heritage Toronto has assisted in making a large commemorative plaque to be installed at the entrance to the park at Caledonia and St. Clair but production of the plaque is delayed due to COVID-19. Things are up in the air but Margaret is hopeful that some events to mark the centenary can still take place.
- Canada Day contingency plans
John opened the topic for discussion. Peter Norman noted that perhaps we can create a plan compatible with COVID-19 restrictions that will nonetheless honour the long-standing neighbourhood tradition to mark Canada Day. Ideas were brainstormed for ways to involve the neighbourhood online or in safe physical distances according to whatever restrictions may be in place by July. They include singing O Canada online and engaging children to do related artwork to be displayed on the RHRA website. Volunteers to help organize or run any such activities would be welcome!
2. Communications and Planning
Peter reported that it has been quieter than usual with fewer events during this time. The website is up to date. The executive will continue to find ways to use the website to promote and foster community connection, especially given the current times. Brigid noted that it is appropriate for residents to show support for front line workers such as garbage collectors with expressions of appreciation (including tips).
- Coordinator and plans for next Regal Heights Review
John reported that a Regal Heights resident, Joey Clark, has agreed to take on the role of coordinator for the Review. The next step is to determine costs for the next issue and proceed from there.
- Details on development at 861 St. Clair
John reported that the meeting with the developer was postponed. John conveyed the written response from the developer. (See attached). Peter reminded the group that all the information we have about this development can be found on our 861 St. Clair portal page on our website HERE. A discussion ensued about the pros and cons of the new development being seen along St. Clair. Harry will contact Councillor Ana Bailão’s office to find out the status of other developments along St. Clair and how the City plans to deal with the combined impact. Margaret also raised the need to consider how TTC service will correspond to population growth in the neighbourhood.
3. Police Community Partnership
- Shooting at Winona and other developments
Rosa Cordiano reported there was a fatal shooting at the corner of St. Clair and Winona Dr. on April 8th,. but that no further information about the incident is available at this point. She will request further information.
- Crime statistics
She also noted that there has been an increase in the number of car break-ins in Division 13 this year (83 so far this year compared with 45 during the same period of 2019). Three auto thefts have been within Regal Heights including two on Alberta in January and February, and one at Regal Road and Westmount in April. Rosa noted that the police website lists 16 crimes occurring in or immediately around Regal Heights so far this year.
4. Street Beautification programs
- Gardens, graffiti, garbage
Mary Anne Quance reported that she has received a donation of pansies for the barrels around the neighbourhood. She suggested creating a schedule whereby residents could do the gardening along the Rosemount gardens while safely maintaining physical distancing. This could start in mid-May. Mary Anne will draft a request for volunteers for Peter to post on the website. Peter reported that the garden waste collection, which was cancelled because of COVID-19, is on again until May 1. After May 1, the City will assess if it can continue to provide the service.
- Tree Planting Programs
Mary Anne reported that LEAF, an urban forest group backed by tree experts, has funding to hire and train young volunteers to do community-based projects. LEAF offers several services to neighbourhoods, including completing a tree inventory, conducting tree tours through the neighbourhood on city property and front yards, and giving away free native shrubs. For the moment these initiatives are suspended due to COVID-19.
- Spring cleanup plans
John and Peter suggested that a community cleanup can be arranged while still respecting physical distancing. John will coordinate this effort through an invitation for residents to clean up a block or street near them.
Harry noted that City street sweeping in Regal Heights has been inadequate for several years. Harry will contact Councillor Ana Bailão’s office to ask them to resolve the matter of this neglected service.
5. Community Welcome
Harry reported that real estate sales have been regular in the neighbourhood and that market is healthy and active. Property values remain high. Harry and Beth have ensured that all new owners have been sent Welcome letters. At this time there is no way to track new tenants to welcome them with the package.
Linda DeGiorgio provided no changes from February as of the time of the meeting. John Keating will submit receipts for maple syrup costs.
Meeting adjourned at 8:20 Next meeting May 19, TBA