The story of the GCA from 2009 
to now

29 Barlow, Lynn GCA 50th Dec 2017 Lansdowne_cmyk

Lansdowne redevelopment took up much of the GCA’s time and energy in recent years. Photo: Bob Brocklebank

This is the 11th and last in a series of articles by past presidents of the Glebe Community Association to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1967.

June 2009–June 2012

by Caroline Vanneste

In my first Glebe Report article as president of the Glebe Community Association in August 2009, I wrote “I am beginning my term as your president at a very interesting time in the Glebe. Bank Street reconstruction and Lansdowne Park redevelopment are looming large in the not-too-distant future.” Little did I know how large and divisive those projects would become. They were the defining issues of my tenure, along with three large residential fires.

Dozens of renters were left homeless in early 2010 after fires on Glebe Avenue, Monk Street and Fifth Avenue. Luckily, no one was hurt and our community sprang into action after each fire. The Glebe BIA, GNAG, dozens of individuals and the GCA collected hundreds of items and co-hosted multiple fundraising events. In all, over $20,000 was raised and distributed (via the Red Cross) to those affected.

Bank Street reconstruction dominated 2011. The entire Glebe portion (from the Queensway to the Canal) was originally planned to be spread over two years and was torn up for most of the year, with finishing touches completed in 2012. GCA board members met with city staff, our councillor, contractors and Glebe BIA representatives every other week for months. It was a particularly challenging time for Glebe businesses, so we also did what we could to encourage residents to keep supporting our local shops and services.

Of course, the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park was on the agenda for almost every meeting during my three years as president. From moving the Horticulture Building to the design of the urban park, from incorporating the wading pool and baseball diamonds into the plan to the appropriate height of buildings, there were hundreds of large and small issues to address. It was an exhausting time for the GCA Board and Glebe residents.

June 2012–2013

By Lynn Barlow

Lansdowne: Construction at Lansdowne was in full swing during my time as president of the GCA. We worked with the Glebe BIA executive, our Councillor, GCA past president Bob Brocklebank and the Lansdowne Project Manager to minimize the impact of construction on the neighbourhood and address our residents’ concerns.

Glebe Annex: Sylvia Milne organized a group of people from the Glebe Annex to create the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) to have a voice at City Hall. The GCA’s 1982 bylaw was amended in June 2013 to recognize the addition of GACA to the existing area of the Glebe, thus having a similar brotherly relationship as the Dow’s Lake Residents Association.

Mutchmor Addition: The Ottawa Carleton District School Board finalized its plans in 2012 to switch First Avenue and Mutchmor schools in order to meet the increased demand for French immersion. Money came from the provincial government in January 2013 to pay for the project. The official switch for the two schools took place in September 2015. The GCA’s Heritage Committee proposed a small change that would better reflect this heritage building. The architects incorporated the recommendation for more brick, less glass.

Infills: Several City of Ottawa consultations took place in 2012–2014 concerning residential infills, conversion houses and intensification in mature neighbourhoods. New infill bylaws were a result of these discussions.

Canal Footbridge: There have been many proposals over the years for a footbridge to link Ottawa East and the Glebe and the GCA has actively supported the process. We are delighted that this project is now a reality.

2013–2017

By Christine McAllister

I was fortunate to be one of the longest-serving presidents of the GCA. This was a period of relative calm for the association, which gave us a first-ever opportunity to look inward and consider the role we wanted to play in the community. This came after a prolonged period of rancour over the Lansdowne Park redevelopment, which sucked a lot of energy from both GCA volunteers and the community at large. Part of the reason I took on the role as president was to contribute to the neighbourhood moving past the disappointment, disagreement and differing positions on the development and refocus our attention on other important issues. While issues relating to living beside the development continually needed to be managed, it was time for the community to move on.

With this in mind, we focused on engagement and bringing new people onto the board as committee chairs or area reps, joining committees or coming to monthly board meetings. We reinvigorated the Tenants Committee and the Health and Social Services Committee, which have each become important voices and undertaken issues such as advocating for a new skating rink.

During this time we clarified our role in the community with a mandate statement: “The GCA is a volunteer, not-for-profit, membership-based and city-recognized organization advocating for a liveable, sustainable, diverse urban neighbourhood. The GCA informs, consults and engages with residents and other groups in the Glebe on issues of importance and promotes the interests of our community to all levels of government and other organizations.” We also updated our website, established a Twitter handle (@glebeca), initiated online payment for memberships and continued our door-to-door membership drive each May.

I am particularly proud of our focus on development. Carolyn Mackenzie, our planning committee chair, led the “ImagineGlebe” project, which included surveys, a “pop-up” consultation (at the old McIntosh and Watts/new adult store location) and displays and examples of innovative community developments. The responses from over a thousand people from within and outside the Glebe provided a clear picture of what the community wanted for our traditional Main Street. Our overall approach to development has been to start discussions early with developers to influence their thinking from the beginning. This has led to a few successes on Bank Street that we’ll all benefit from for years to come.

Caroline Vanneste, Lynn Barlow and Christine McAllister were presidents of the Glebe Community Association from 2009 to early 2017.

 

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