Executive Meeting Minutes September 2021

Tuesday, September 14 2021, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Meeting hosted by Zoom

Present: John Keating, Peter Norman, Mary Anne Quance, Rosa Cordiano, Linda DeGiorgio, Margaret Smith, Michael Jacoby, Harry Lay, Richard Cavanaugh

Regrets: Beth Marcilio

1 – Reports from local representatives

  1. Michael Jacoby attended on behalf of City Councillor Ana Bailão. Hereported that committee work has resumed at City Hall and access to select City services are available in person by appointment only as of August. A movie night is coming up on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Earlscourt Park at 7:30 by RSVP only. See www.anabailao.com/earlscourt_movie_night to register. The City is also hosting Environment Days every Sunday until the end of October. Drop off unwanted items, dispose of paint, batteries, hazardous waste and household items. Compost is available with a limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last. The City is not be distributing the 2022 waste management calendar to homes. Instead, the waste schedule will appear in an upcoming utility bill, to save costs and paper.
  2. Michaelreminded the group that Winona Drive is undergoing upgrades until the end of October. The upgrades will improve cycling and walking infrastructure and will eventually include a shared bike lane between St. Clair and Davenport. See www.Toronto.ca/oakwood  for details.
  3. Michaelnoted a meeting was planned for June on the traffic impact of new developments near Winona and St. Clair, but the meeting was cancelled due to technical difficulties. The RHRA had requested a traffic study covering a wide area to gauge the impact of increased traffic not just at the intersection but in neighbourhoods beyond Regal Heights. Michael noted that developers are required to do traffic studies that look at traffic impact over a fairly wide area already. However, Ana Bailão’s office is looking into whether the City has a mechanism to do a wide-area study. One of the developments, the Monza Condo at 861 St. Clair, is beginning shoring up and excavating the site. Margaret Smith said it was important to reschedule the June meeting on traffic as soon as possible. She encouraged the City to consider the cumulative effects of traffic from new condos about to be built along St. Clair. (Note, the transportation studies submitted by the developments can be found on the RHRA website HEREHERE and HERE).
  4. MichaelreportedthatCity traffic specialists are doing a follow-up study on the impact of the new traffic light at Oakwood and Rosemount and are due to report on it in the fourth quarter of 2021.

2 – Projects and events

  1. Formal proposal to the City for new parkland –  John reported that during the summer, the RHRA, in conjunction with the Northcliffe Village Residents’ Assoc. answered the City’s request for suggestions of areas that could be converted into parkland in and around Regal Heights. The urban design firm Brown + Storey Architects Inc. generously developed detailed plans, free of charge, for these proposals and submitted them to the City. We are not expecting a formal response for some weeks, but the submission makes a strong case for improved park facilities in the area. The Brown + Storey document will be available on the RHRA website. The RHRA wants to thank Brown + Storey for their welcome contribution.
  2. Help needed with Afghan sponsorship –  John noted that some neighbourhood residents are beginning to organize to potentially sponsor Afghan refugees. Once the group is more organized, it will need volunteers and donations. Please watch for upcoming communications asking for help. Regal Heights residents were heavily involved in the sponsorship of two Syrian refugee families over the past four years.
  3. Oakwood Collegiate dog posters –  Earlier this years, the RHRA collaboratedwith Oakwood Collegiate to produce posters discouraging dog owners from using the OCI sports field to exercise their dogs. Dogs are not officially allowed into the fenced area but as the principal pointed out, many dog owners use it anyway. Some irresponsible dog owners refuse to pick up dog waste or leash their pets, ruining the field and the track for use by students and the rest of the community. The poster explains that dogs are not allowed on the field and suggests nearby dog parks. The project was put on hold over the summer at the principal’s request. Brigid Higgins offered to meet with the principal again to gauge whether now is the right time to distribute the posters and what other options there are to keep dogs off the sports field and track.
  4. Additional item 1: RHRA archives – Brigid reported that over the summer, she and Florence Watts have been sorting the extensive RHRA archives. There are now two sets of papers: documents directly related to the work of the RHRA and documents with general historical information. Peter noted that some of the documents could form the basis for material in a future Regal Heights Review. The executive resolved that it would look into donating the documents to the Toronto Archives for use as reference only. Harry volunteered to consult with Florence and her daughter and to look into the cost of also digitizing the documents so they can be added to the RHRA website. Brigidwill bring more details to the next executive meeting in October.
  5. Additional item 2: Letter carrier –  Brigid reported that a well-liked neighbourhood letter carrier, Jim, was leaving the area. Brigid offered to organize a goodbye card signed by neighbours and a small farewell gift.
  6. October pumpkin carving – The executive discussed whether the annual pre-Halloween pumpkin carving should be held in October, given ongoing concerns about CLOVID. The group tentatively approved holding the event outdoors and in person on Saturday, October 23, with a number of safety protocols in place. These will include having a limited number of carving stations well spaced apart, a requirement for masks, and sanitizing of equipment between users. The plans will be reviewed closer to the date, taking into account infection rates and public health rules. Watch for details soon.

3 – Communications and Planning

  1. Communications (Peter Norman) – Peter noted that major communications activities over the summer included publication of a well-received Spring Report (in lieu of a Spring public meeting); a 2021 virtual garden tour in the form of a six-minute video with original music by 13-year old Morris Colman-Peck; publicity for Regal Heights Maple Syrup; and publicity for the Canada Day event. There are currently 470 recipients of RHRA email updates and Peter conducted 13 email campaigns. He also monitors the Regal Heights Facebook group, which has about 480 members. Peter asked for guidance on when he should intervene to remove public posts from the Facebook group, especially items that did not directly involve neighbourhood issues. It was resolved that as long as the posts are of interest to most residents, do not contain offensive language or attacks on individuals and are not unreasonably frequent, they should be allowed to remain. The RHRA maintains the sole right to decide whether posts are deleted or not.
  • Peter also noted that in lieu of a Canada Day parade, the association invited people to dress up their houses with flags and red and white decorations. The plan received a fair bit of negative reaction from neighbours who felt it was inappropriate to celebrate Canada Day in face of the discovery of unmarked graves at some Residential Schools. Other neighbours wanted the celebration to go ahead. In the end, Harry took pictures both of decorated houses and a display about First Nations issues presented by a neighbour on Regal Road. Rosa Cordiano suggested that we get some guidance on how to handle this type of situation in the future by talking to the people most affected: First Nations people themselves. John agreed to set up a meeting with some First Nations advisers from the area.
  • Peter noted that RHRA Communications also regularly updates the Committee of Adjustment Tracker on the RHRA website. This tracks construction developments in the neighbourhood as they make their way through the approval process and provides information of use to both supporters and opponents of particular projects. See https://regalheights.ca/committee-of-adjustment-tracker/ for the latest details.
  • Active COA matters in Regal Heights this summer include:
    • 2 Regal Road: a COA application to add 15 units to an existing 105 unit building. Hearing date is September 15th. At the hearing the application was denied.
    • 15 Highview: a COA application to sever a lot and build a new three storey house. Initial hearing in June was deferred. New hearing date is October 20th.
    • 98 Winona: an application to construct a third storey addition and other changes. Hearing was in March and application was granted. Neighbours appealed to the Toronto Local Appeals Body and that hearing was on September 13th and the appeal was denied, the application approval was upheld.
    • 36 Alberta: an application to construct a one-storey addition and undertake other changes. Hearing was in July 2021. The application was approved with conditions.   
  • Succession planning: Search for a new RHRA chair – John noted that he has been the RHRA chair for nine years. He felt the association needs new energy and a new chair to help inject new life into the organization. None of the board members present felt they were in a position to take over those duties. Peter noted that the best approach would be for current board members to personally approach neighbours, friends and people attending RHRA events and encourage them to join the executive with the aim of transitioning responsibilities next year. Mary Anne noted that many of the executive members are part of an older generation and it’s important to get younger neighbours involved too. The meeting agreed to begin recruiting new people to the executive.

4 – Police Community Partnership

  1. Update on latest developments: Rosa attended the quarterly meeting of the Police Community Partnership on September 13. She reported that there has been a high turnover of police involved in the partnership and 13 Division has another new staff sergeant. Rosa used her contacts within the police to have them expedite the investigation of vandalism at two restaurants on St. Clair this summer. An individual has been arrested in the case. Rosa added that there are also plans to install a red-light camera on Oakwood in the Regal Heights area. Once installed it will be in place for six months. Finally, she passed on the message that police suggest residents get to know at least their five closest neighbours so they can help each other in the case of a emergency or crime.

5 – Street Beautification Programs

  1. Gardening update  – Mary Anne says the fall garden cleanup will take place October 16 with a rain date of October 17. We need volunteers to help for just a couple of hours to prepare the public gardens on Rosemount and Springmount for the coming winter. Richard Cavanaugh reported that the cleanup of Daffodil Hill along the south side of Regal Road School will take place on Sunday, October 24. Watch your emails for invitations to get involved.

6 – Community Welcome Project (Harry)

  1. Harry reported that the RHRA sent out letters of welcome to new neighbours at 62 Westmount, 91 Springmount, 31 Westmount, 89 Regal Rd., 105 Springmount, 48 Lauder and 2 Mount Royal. If you know of a new neighbour who has moved into their Regal Heights home or apartment recently please send details to rhra@regalheights.ca and Harry will connect with one of our Welcome Packages.

7 – Finances (Linda):

  1. Linda reported the following:
                May 2021September 2021
Operating Fund$5,726.61$4,948.86
Heritage Fund$276$276
Street Sale Fund$192$192
Petty Cash$18.35$18.35

Other business

Harry noted that there have been an increasing number of sightings of coyotes in Regal Heights and that a cat on Highview was recently killed by a coyote. He advises people with small pets to keep them indoors at nights, when coyotes are most active.