Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 7:00 pm
via video conference, hosted by John Keating
Attending: John Keating, Peter Norman, Margaret Smith, Harry Lay, Carol Gallagher, Brigid Higgins, Richard Cavanaugh, Marie Goldthorpe, Nicholas Gallant (Councillor Bailão’s office)
Regrets: Florence Watts, Rosa Cordiano, Beth Marcilio
Opening remarks: John Keating noted that the Public Spring Meeting had to be postponed due to safe distancing restrictions and he asked if we should hold a Zoom public meeting in June. After discussion it was decided that an open invitation to join by Zoom would be a good way to rejuvenate community connections that have been interrupted by COVID restrictions. The meeting will be a social gathering with a short presentation by John to recap for the community what the RHRA has been doing this past while. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 16th. Peter Norman suggested that it might be good to offer some basic Zoom info and tips beforehand for those not familiar with the format.
1 – Projects and events
a) Virtual pub night
John Keating reported on behalf of Beth Marcilio. The recent Virtual Pub Night offered a fun connection to all who attended. Julie Dzerowicz, MP, and Marit Stiles, MPP joined the group. The next Pub Night is scheduled for June 25th, and will be held again by Zoom if the Fox and Fiddle is still not available. There will also be another night in August, format to be determined.
b) Cleanup Day recap
John Keating reported that the Earth Day Community Clean-up was not overly successful given the lack of organized action but nonetheless some clean-up definitely took place. It was great to see several participants actively engaging in the cleanup. John encourages everyone to pick up garbage anytime they see it as a neighbourly gesture and to keep our community looking great.
c) Canada Day plans
John Keating reintroduced the topic of Canada Day celebrations in Regal Heights given the restrictions. Ideas brainstormed at the April meeting were revisited; these ideas include noise-making outside at home, Zoom activities, children creating a skit to post on the website or pictures displayed in windows, and an “O Canada” video. Further suggestions include a car parade through the streets. Nicholas Gallant reported that most neighbourhoods in the Ward are planning virtual events and he added other family-friendly suggestions of a neighbourhood scavenger hunt based on local landmarks or the creation of Canada-Day-themed questions based on local history.
It was emphasized that even a small public presence goes a long way to make the event tangible and the idea was formed to have a small contingent walk safely apart through the streets with flags and music playing. The RHRA could advertise the event so that residents could come out to watch the fun passing by their homes. John will connect with Patrick Murtaugh, the physical education teacher at Regal Road PS, to see if he would be willing to be the mascot for the parade.
d) Other potential summer plans
John Keating raised the question of a summer garden tour on behalf of Florence Watts. It was suggested that the RHRA hold a virtual garden tour by means of residents submitting photos of gardens posted to the website. On this note, Peter Norman reported that photos celebrating Springtime in Regal Heights are up on the website for everyone to enjoy and share together. John will prepare an announcement for the website to advertise the garden tour event and to solicit participation.
2 – Communications and Planning
Peter Norman pointed out that the NextDoor app is quite active along with the RHRA website as a forum for discussion of relevant issues and topics. There are 372 people registered on the app in this neighbourhood, which provides significant outreach for the RHRA. There are also 470 members on the RHRA email list. The Facebook page, less active and smaller, has 77 members. Peter raised the issue of supporting neighbourhood identity, especially during the lockdown times. As always, the RHRA seeks to find the best ways to maximize contact with residents in the neighbourhood.
Peter also noted that there is a surge of night time car break-ins in the neighbourhood south of Davenport and wished to alert the RHRA executive to this issue. Car thefts have also been on the rise recently.
b) Plans for Regal Heights Review: Timing, content etc.
John Keating spoke on behalf of Joey Clark, the new coordinator for the Regal Heights Review, to solicit ideas for material for the next issue. There was some brainstorming of ideas to make local history and qualities of the neighbourhood come alive through the pages of the Review. Brigid Higgins will forward ideas gathered over the past year to John and he will in turn pass them to Joey as a starting point. Some ideas include a history of Garrison Creek, a history of movie theatres along St. Clair and more stories of famous people. Perhaps the Review can also run an entry to promote the newly published website, The St. Clair West Oral History Project ( https://www.stclairwest-oralhistory.com/) First-person narratives about the impact of COVID on daily life and other human-interest stories would also be welcome. Please forward any ideas to John or if let him know if you would like to write something for the next issue which is tentatively planned for December 2020.
3 – Police Community Partnership
a) Update on latest developments
Rosa Cordiano was absent so the item was deferred. The report on car break-ins by Peter Norman under Item 2a) above was noted.
4 – Street Beautification Programs
a) Gardens, graffiti, garbage
John Keating spoke on behalf of Mary Anne Quance to say that if anyone who would like to be on the distribution list for the gardening emails should contact John to have their name added.
b) Plans for Mount Royal Bump-out
Mary Anne Quance is seeking planting ideas for the bump-out across from the parkette at Mount Royal and Alberta Avenues. Please contact Mary Anne or John Keating with any input.
c) Possible garden tour this summer
See Item 1d) above
d) Street cleaning request update
Harry Lay has forwarded a request for action to the city. Nicholas Gallant reported that the department in charge is at 50% capacity with COVID-related challenges causing delays. The request will continue to be prioritized by the city. Harry pointed out that street cleaning has not been a priority in Regal Heights for a few years and there are concerns about the degradation of the road and guttering caused by prolonged clogging along the streets.
Marie Goldthorpe added that there are deep potholes on Springmount Ave. posing a serious hazard to cyclists. Nicholas requested that photos be supplied to the councillor’s office for follow-up on the problem. John Keating will provide the photos to Nicholas.
5 – Community Welcome Project
Harry Lay reported that the new residents of a recent sale on Biggar Avenue will receive a welcome package.
6 – Finances
John Keating reported on behalf of Linda DeGiorgio that the financial figures are unchanged from the previous month.
7 – New Items
a) Support for Bike lanes in the city
John Keating received a letter from a coalition of organizations promoting more spaces for cyclists in the city as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 crisis as part of Active-TO. The executive agreed to have the RHRA added to the list in support of this initiative. Peter will contact the organization to indicate our support. The full letter can be found on our website.
b) Supporting local businesses
Brigid Higgins made a plea for everyone to support local businesses during these extremely stressful times. The Regal Heights Village BIA website, RHVBIA.com, has a local business directory which is kept up to date on the status of each business (closed, open, take-out, curbside, etc.,) and Peter Norman will make that info more prominent on the RHRA website so that everyone is more aware of how to support our local businesses.
Meeting adjourned at 8:27