Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Meeting hosted by Zoom
Present: John Keating, Peter Norman, Rosa Cordiano, Linda DeGiorgio, Margaret Smith, Richard Cavanaugh, Brigid Higgins, Mary Anne Quance, Dave Meslin, MPP Marit Stiles, Marzio Silva (Constituency Assistant to Councillor Ana Bailão)
1 – Reports from local representatives
- Davenport MPP Marit Stiles – Marit said she enjoyed the Carol Sing outside Oakwood Collegiate in December. She says she has been working a lot with local businesses to try to support them during the pandemic. She added that most people she has talked to are worried about the change in COVID testing and reporting requirements in schools, where 30% of the school population must be absent before the board is required to report on the level of absenteeism. She says many boards are planning to report to parents before that level is reached.
- Marzio Silva – Marzio reported on behalf of Councillor Ana Bailão that the huge snowstorm was very challenging for the City, but it was working hard to clear snow. Margaret Smith asked about the City’s ongoing budget process. Marzio said he would pass on any concerns about the budget to Councillor Bailão. Anyone who wishes to get involved in the budget process can get more information at: https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/budget-finances/city-budget/how-to-get-involved-in-the-budget/
2 – Projects and events
- The Laneway Project proposal – The Laneway Project, a private organization that works to make derelict laneways into usable public space, will be working on the laneway behind the Dufferin-St. Clair Library beginning this spring and summer. Peter Norman and John Keating have volunteered to distribute a flyer explaining the project and seeking support from neighbours near the laneway. They both said they have not begun that process yet, but will do so soon.
- Regal Heights Review – Brigid Higgins has volunteered to help organize a second edition of the Regal Heights Review. The review is a printed collection of stories about the neighbourhood. The first issue was released in 2019. The new issue will focus on the history of Regal Heights. Anyone interested in helping with writing, editing, photography or other aspects of the Review is encouraged to contact the RHRA at firstname.lastname@example.org
3 – Communications and Planning
- Communications – Peter reported that the only big event in the last two months was the RHRA Carol Sing. He posted photos and video from the event on the website, www.regalheights.ca.
- St. Matthew’s United Church project – John reported that St. Matthew’s Church at St. Clair and Rushton Rd. is in the early phases of a redevelopment. While it is outside the RHRA catchment area, it is a big enough project to be of interest in the neighbourhood. The church has a long history of hosting community organizations and events, including a nursery school, a homeless drop-in and performance venues. The plan is to preserve the historic church building, while adding event spaces, a new modern entrance area and a multi-storey residential component, including a mix of market rate and affordable housing. The RHRA will publicize information about the project as it develops.
- Cooperation with BIAs –The Northcliffe Village Residents Association, north of St. Clair, is seeking closer cooperation with the RHRA and local Business Improvement Areas on issues that affect multiple neighbourhoods in the area. The NVRA already has a relationship with the Regal Heights BIA and will be talking to the Hillcrest Village BIA, east of here. Some members of the RHRA executive are concerned that cooperation could lead to involving the RHRA in advocacy issues, such as opposition to developments. The RHRA generally is not an advocacy organization. Others argued that some issues, such as the vitality of St. Clair, affect people far beyond Regal Heights and that cooperation gives all the organizations greater voice. After some debate, the executive agreed that the RHRA would be happy to cooperate with the NVRA, the Regal Heights BIA and the Hillcrest Village BIA on issues of concern to a wider area, provided that the RHRA executive approves of involvement on a case-by-case basis and that the role of the RHRA would be limited to communication of those issues.
- Area parks plan follow-up – John reminded the executive that last year, the City invited the public to submit ideas for improving and expanding park land in an underserved mid-town area that includes Regal Heights. The RHRA, along with the NVRA, the design firm Brown + Storey Architects Inc., and St. Chad’s United Church, presented several detailed ideas. At a public meeting about the parks project late last year, the City reviewed some areas of interest, but did not make any detailed response to our proposals. We requested and received another meeting with the City to discuss our ideas. That meeting will happen January 31.
4 – Police Community Partnership
- Rosa noted there are no developments to report on policing issues and very little communication in recent months from the Police Community Partnership organizers. She noted that one long-time member of the Police Community Partnership recently passed away.
5 – Street Beautification Programs
- Gardening update– Mary Anne anticipates it will be another two months before there will be any gardening related activity. She thanked Tony Rovito for decorating all of the planter barrels in Regal Heights with beautiful displays for Christmas. There were also questions about Regal Heights Maple Syrup. John noted that he will be away for much of February, when sap collection is at its height. He will try to do some organizing before he leaves.
- Opportunity for climate change plan input – John noted that the federal government was looking for input on its climate change plan and encouraged executive members to participate. The input period is now over.
- Dogs on OCI field – The RHRA has been attempting to find a solution to the problem of dog owners taking their pets onto the Oakwood Collegiate sports field, contrary to school board rules. Most recently, it attempted to get dog owners, the city councillor’ office and the school board into talks to discuss the issue. These efforts failed. The RHRA will put off further attempts for the time being.
6 – Community Welcome Project
7 – Finances (Linda):
- Linda reported the following:
|November 2021||January 2022|
|Street Sale Fund||$192||$192|
8 – Other business
- Florence Watts – Florence, along with her late husband Dick, has for more than four decades been a major driving force behind the Regal Heights Residents’ Association. She has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in the neighbourhood, and her positive outlook and warm personality has made her one of the most beloved and respected residents in Regal Heights. Florence left her home on Regal Road and recently moved into the New Horizons Tower seniors centre near Bloor and Dufferin. The members of RHRA executive want to offer Florence their sincere thanks for all she has accomplished over the years and to wish her every happiness in the years to come.
- Chairman’s absence in February – John will be away for the second half of February. Vice-chair Harry Lay will host the February meeting of the executive and look after other issues that may arise.