Glebe Annex Community Association during COVID – what have we been up to?  

Glebe Annex residents pose questions at the last in-person GACA AGM in May 2019. This year’s virtual AGM will be held on May 18.   Photo: Gabrielle Dallaporta

By Sue Stefko

After cancelling our Annual General Meeting (AGM) due to COVID-19 last year in hopes of returning to an in-person event this year, the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) has decided to forge ahead with a virtual AGM. Despite the pandemic, GACA has been quite busy, and we feel it’s important to update our members on some of our efforts and on the many projects in our neighbourhood. The AGM, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, will also include updates from Councillor Shawn Menard and from Ottawa Traffic Services on traffic issues in the Glebe Annex. AGM Zoom call details can be found on our website glebeannex.ca.

This traffic update stems from community consultations dating back to the fall of 2019, when GACA heard concerns about pedestrian safety and other issues. We engaged Councillor Menard and Ottawa Traffic Services to see what we could do to improve the situation. To date, our successes have been modest – namely, parking was moved from the north side of Clemow Avenue to the south side. Given that most residences are on the north side, this helps to stop people from parking in front of and blocking driveways; it also allows more parking spaces because there are fewer driveways on the south side. This is a win for both neighbours and local businesses. While this has been our biggest victory to date, we’re still working on other measures related to traffic calming and safety. We hope to discuss them and hear community feedback at the AGM.

For the second straight year, GACA will be running a virtual membership campaign. We feel very fortunate that so many residents continued to support us last year by purchasing annual memberships, even without a door-to-door visit. We are hoping this support will continue for 2021.

While there is much construction in our neighbourhood, COVID has delayed a lot more, including one of our own projects. GACA started plans to build a pollinator garden in Dalhousie South Park in 2019. Last summer, we were thrilled to learn that we had been awarded funds through the Community Environmental Projects Grant Program. We had hoped to build last fall; when that didn’t work out, we were hoping for this spring. However, we are still awaiting approval from the City of Ottawa to install the garden in one of its parks.  We hope to accomplish this soon, pandemic permitting.

Some of our planned activities have officially been put on hold due to COVID but are continuing unofficially. The city paused its semi-annual Cleaning the Capital campaign, but a number of Glebe Annex residents are continuing to pick up litter and beautify the streets on their own. Other activities have been cancelled altogether. In 2019, we got a grant through the Civic Events Funding Program to hold another “party in the park,” which we hoped to throw in 2020. We look forward to hosting it at a time when it will be safe to gather with friends and neighbours. While that time seems a long way away, it will eventually come. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to fulfill our mandate to “help improve our neighbourhood, to represent its interests, and to bring those who live and work in our community closer together.” See you at the AGM!

Sue Stefko is president of the Glebe Annex Community Association.

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