Executive Meeting Minutes April 2021

Executive Meeting Minutes
Tuesday April 20, 2021, 7 p.m.
Via video conference, hosted by John Keating

Attending: John Keating, Peter Norman, Margaret Smith, Brigid Higgins, Mary Anne Quance, Rosa Cordiano, Nicholas Gallant (Councillor Bailão’s office), Ashley DaSilva (Constituency Assistant to MPP Marit Stiles)
Regrets: Harry Lay, Linda DeGiorgio

1- Reports from Local Representatives

Ashley reported that Marit Stiles hosted two virtual town halls to answer questions about the local vaccination effort. More details about vaccinations are available on her website at https://www.maritstiles.ca/vaccines.
On behalf of Marit, Ashley thanked the association for its years of work on Daffodil Hill, which she says gives her so much joy.

Nicholas reported that Michael Jacoby, one of Ana Bailão’s constituency assistants, will be reporting soon on a formal request by the RHRA, the BIA and the Northcliffe Village Residents’ Association for a traffic study in the area. Ana’s office continues to work on construction coordination hub to make sure that the coming building projects near St. Clair West and Winona cause the least disruption possible.

Nicholas also noted that the condo project at 861-863 St. Clair W. (at Winona) recently got the necessary approvals and construction could start in the next few weeks, depending in part on current pandemic restrictions.

2 — Projects and Events

Maple Syrup
reported that volunteers collected and boiled down enough sap to make more than 6 litres of syrup, an increase from last year. Volunteers each received a 250-ml bottle of syrup and there are about 20 100-ml bottles available for prizes to be given out during the year. There was less media interest this year – only one interview with CBC News. That story is available at https://regalheights.ca/2021/03/31/regal-heights-maple-syrup-coverage-2021/.

Virtual Garden Tour
The executive voted to hold another virtual garden tour this spring after a successful virtual event last year. Residents are invited to send two or three photos of their garden once it’s in bloom. Two entries will be chosen at random to win a prize. Notices will be sent out over the coming weeks. The deadline for entries is June 20. For inspiration, see the pictures from last year’s tour at https://regalheights.ca/gardens2020/

May Public Meeting
The RHRA usually holds a public meeting on the third Tuesday of May, but having a successful public meeting online is challenging. After much discussion, the executive voted to instead produce a short newsletter that would describe the work of the association and encourage residents to volunteer for events. The association would like to begin gathering more details about those who want to be involved in the association, including what issues they are most interested in. We will also ask for feedback about our projects. Producing and distributing such a newsletter would likely cost in the range of $700. The association will also consider conducting an online survey of members to learn more about their interests. In place of the public meeting, the RHRA will hold a virtual executive meeting. Executive meetings are open to interested members of the public.

3 — Communications and Planning

reported that the association continues to engage with the membership through our email list that has about 450 people on it; our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram, and also through the Nextdoor app. The website, regalheights.ca, is constantly updated, including detailed information about development projects in the neighbourhood. Information regarding Committee of Adjustment hearings on local developments can be found on the COA Tracker on our website.

Peter also reported that he, Mary Anne, Harry and John attended a virtual meeting about a proposed expansion of the high-rise apartment building at 2 Regal Rd. The owners, Starlight Investments reported to the group that they plan to add a new storey on the top of the building and a stack of new apartments on the face of the building, over the current entrance way. There will be approximately 15 new apartments, including one three-bedroom unit. They will also remove the parking and garbage bins from the south side of the building, improving the streetscape on that side. Starlight is interested in keeping in communication with the neighbourhood as the project goes ahead. This is also an opportunity for the RHRA to get more involvement from renters in the neighbourhood. The building managers have agreed to distribute an RHRA information flyer to current and future tenants.

Park improvements workshop
John reminded members that the association, along with the Northcliffe Village group, the BIA and St. Chad’s church, submitted a number of proposals in response a City project to enhance park facilities and access in the St. Clair West corridor. As a follow-up, the City is holding a virtual workshop on the project April 27 and again on April 29. John will attend the meeting and report back.

Garden Suites
Nicolas brought information to the executive after the meeting and asked that it be distributed with the minutes. That included a reminder about the Garden Suites engagement effort (https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/garden-suites/). The Councillor reported at an earlier RHRA meeting about the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods. A key plank of the EHON effort is the Garden Suites analysis. Presently City Planning are consulting through survey (https://s.cotsurvey.chkmkt.com/?e=223303&h=7F3D637734B12E1&l=en) and public meetings on May 11-13. Many of the lots in Regal could be suitable for this form of housing, so it would be helpful to have your perspective on the initiative..

4 — Police Community Partnership

Rosa noted there is nothing new to report. Crime continues to be very low within the Regal Heights area.

5 –Street Beautification

Street cleaning
Nicholas, in response to questions, said that Ana’s office placed an escalated service request to have Transportation Services perform a spring street sweep in Regal Heights

Dog problem at Oakwood Collegiate sports field
As agreed at the last meeting, John produced a friendly poster reminding owners that dogs are not allowed on the OCI track or field. The problem forced the school to cut public access to the field. It is due to reopen soon, depending on pandemic restrictions. It is hoped the poster will help educate residents about the rules. If people ignore the rules, the school may permanently close the field to the public. 1,000 copies of the poster were printed and about 100 have been posted near the school. The rest will be posted and distributed to homes in the area once a reopening date for the field is established. So far, Brigid has volunteered to distribute them to homes along Lauder, while Margaret has agreed to do Biggar and parts of Oakwood and Rosemount.
John also spoke to a neighbourhood dog owners group which is working on coming to an agreement with the school on use of the facility. The RHRA will keep in touch with them.

Controlling Plastic Pollution
Brigid reported on her research into the growing problem of plastic pollution. She said only 9% of Canadian plastic is recycled. All the rest goes into landfills. Canadians do such a poor job of cleaning and sorting recycling that several countries no longer accept our plastic for reprocessing. Part of the problem is that people are not aware enough of the rules for recycling. But the issue goes beyond recycling. Much of the plastic we use breaks down into tiny beads of microplastic that end up in the oceans, endangering fish and everything that feeds on them, including humans.
Some solutions are emerging. The Federal government may address excess packaging through legislation. We can also take personal actions, such as buying detergent packaged in cardboard rather than plastic, using fabric veggy bags and reusing plastic milk bags.
Brigid will consider writing a regular blog for the RHRA website discussing the issues and what people can do about it.

6 — Finances

Linda reported the same finances as March 2021:
Operating 5,726.61
Heritage Fund 276.00
Street Sale Fund 192.00
Petty Cash 18.35
TOTAL 6,212.96

7 — Other business

Peter reported that City efforts to enhance the Greenline system of parks are really paying off. It is a pleasant walk following the hydro corridor from Christie St. to Lansdowne, south of Davenport. Playgrounds have been upgraded along the route and more work is planned. John noted that he has taken that walk a number of times. It is possible to walk from Christie to Earlscourt Park and on to Prospect Cemetery with only a few short gaps outside of park land.

Next meeting: May 18, 7 pm by Zoom. See the website for details a few days before the meeting.