OSCA Board Meeting - Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm @ the Firehall
Old Ottawa South Community Association
Documents from the October 2012 meeting of the Old Ottawa South Community Association Board of Directors
OSCA Board Meeting - Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm @ the Firehall
At our June Board Meeting, a group was tasked with reviewing the report from OSCA’s Strategic Planning Session held on December 4th, 2010 and discussing next steps in the evolution of OSCA’s future vision. On September 5th the following people met to discuss and develop some recommendations: Katie Black, Linda Hancock, Steve Mennill, Christy Savage, Guy Souliere and Michaela Tokarski . Emilie Taman and Ian Beck-MacNeill were not able to attend but are part of this group. The following is a summary of our discussions and our recommendations for a process to move forward.
As a group we felt that some important discussions had been held at the last Strategic Planning Session and that the results of that session should provide a foundation for moving forward as a solid strategic framework for OSCA evolves. Specifically the report provides some valuable information about past events, accomplishments and trends and begins to describe a future vision and how that vision might be accomplished. That session and report also began to discuss OSCA’s structure and we think that discussion needs to be continued.
We felt that our future process should more clearly articulate and outline a Strategic Framework for OSCA - a clear and concise document that includes our Vision Statement, our Mission & Values. This document will also include some principles or key attributes that we will be guided by. For example, we discussed ensuring that all we do is sustainable and will benefit future generations. A full list of values, guiding principles and key attributes will be identified in the process we are recommending.
Our Strategic Framework must be specific enough to guide us in decision making yet flexible enough to allow us to respond to the inevitable changes that will occur. As such, we see this as a very high level document that will guide all of the activities of OSCA. Once complete, it will be necessary to take a look at how we operate – the “form follows function” discussion. Some of the questions we may need to ask are: What is the role of the Board going forward? Do we have all the Committees in place that we need to move forward? How do the Committees and Board relate to each other? Do we have the right skills in our volunteers and staff to move forward? Are we allocating our resources in accordance with our Strategic Framework?
We are recommending a process that encourages discussion and involvement from our community along with our key volunteers and staff. We will develop a Strategic Framework document for presentation to our membership at our 2013 AGM. If the Board agrees, the Strategic Planning Group can continue to work together to oversee the following process:
Support for Recommendation by Board September 18th, 2012
Input from Community October/November 2012
Strategic Planning Group Meeting Late November/Early December 2012
Board/Committee/Staff Retreat Mid-January, 2013
Strategic Planning Group Meeting February, 2013
Board Meetings February or March as needed
We want to ensure that our Strategic Framework guides the work that we do and does not gather dust on a shelf or in a file (as many do!). As we work through this process we will spend some time discussing how OSCA’s Strategic Framework becomes a key part of all of our discussions and activities. This will likely require the Board to do an annual review of how we are doing against our future plan. It will also involve a process whereby committees develop shorter-term operational plans in keeping with the Strategic Framework.
Motion to Board:
That the Board task the Strategic Planning Group with guiding the development of a Strategic Framework for OSCA for presentation at our next AGM. Moved by Linda Hancock.
ECOS met formally three times over the summer, and held several informal sessions, since the June OSCA meeting. ECOS approved the following activities resulting in:
Thanks to David Chenushenko, and Pierre Sadik, the City unplugged the culvert in August. ECOS has developed a list of materials required to rebuild the ramp and hopes to get estimates for materials, and possibly labour, shortly.
ECOS - Sept 2012 report to OSCA - M.Lascelles
What are the criteria for organizing special events for third parties? Draft proposed by Mike Lascelles previously was discussed and requires some finalization and then presentation to the board.
For the main OSCA events including: fall fest, winter carnival, the Christmas sleigh ride, the June BBQ etc., the special events committee thinks that the budgetary target should be break-even. The main OSCA event organizers should not have to pay the 20% even though they use the system and the ED as resources. We would prefer to continue to have these events as “by donation” rather than selling tickets
Sept 8th – Porch Sale – Update: This year it was decided that a barbecue would be held and tables rented in the main hall. This was to provide space for members of the community who would not otherwise have space to sell their items.
Due to the weather we had to cancel the barbecue (all food will be used toward the After 4 barbecue). We had 4 tables rented in the hall, and the horticulture society also attended. We will consider having a rain date in the future, and a stronger promotion of the rental of tables in the main hall.
Sept 30th – Fall Fest
Nov 17th – Red
Nov 25th – Christmas craft/art show
Early December – Mayfair Family Movie The current plan is to do one family oriented movie, but we are investigating White Christmas as an evening adult option.
Winter Carnival – 2nd Saturday in February – needs someone to lead it.
March - Murder Mystery Night in the dead of winter? – We need someone to do this as we think it’s a good idea.
Spring- Art in the Park
Could we do an Earth day Community Garden event of some kind? Would ECOS be interested in working with special events on this?
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner? Or Mayfair Movie Day? Would anyone like to take the lead on this?
The 35th anniversary of OSCA is this year. Sometime in the early summer, we could do an event: potentially a street party with clowns, bbq, old fire engines, etc. Could we make a street-party-in-a-bag type kit to help people organize their own street parties?
Washrooms are inaccessible; this is a major issue for caregivers and parents in the community. The field house could be updated to make it more of a contribution to the community. A canteen for skating would be fantastic. The new storage area is working for snow blowers, but this new field house could have some more storage space for the bbq and shovels for the rink (and potentially what the lifeguards could store there to support their programs). Potentially a kitchen, a plan of who is supposed to clean that building would also be good.
We think the first step to this process is having a design study performed. Once we have the study done, we have a shovel ready project that is ready to go. We think that this may be the next big project for our community. So we are thinking of putting a proposal to the city to cost-share the fees for the design study. We would propose a 50/50 arrangement which would likely cost OSCA between 10-15k$.
It was agreed that promotion of events is paramount. The committee is looking into either making or purchasing sandwich boards or other options. The banner was also replaced.
Over the summer the committee met once on July 19th, 2012 with much work being done through email.
The number of registrants in the program has been increased to 140.
There have been significant changes to the organizational structure. The previous coordinator has stepped down and two new coordinators have been hired. This has been done for two reasons; the size of the program has doubled in the past 3 years, this has led to increased administration duties, one of the coordinators will have a strategic focus and will assess ways OSCA can meet the after school need of the community.
New policies regarding pay scale, performance evaluations and organization structure has been approved and implemented. There had previously been no set policy. A pay scale has been developed that is based on performance evaluations. Changes have been made to the staffing structure of the program. There are three job categories for counsellors based on seniority with pay and duties as such.
Preschool contracts have been signed.
In July, Christy, Linda and Emilie went over all our programs and determined which would be run by employees and contractors. Contract workers will need to provide their own insurance to run programs while employees will be covered under OSCA’s insurance.
Halpenny’s group insurance plan has been approved and we are able to offer it to our contractors at competitive rates.
We have lost access to Hopewell School on Thursday night. We are managing this new space limitation. We are also trying to work with the school’s administration to see if there is a possibility to get the space back or get extra space at an amiable time.
The cardio-weight room has been renamed the “Firehall Fitness Centre”. This was done it clear that equipment in the room is suitable for all fitness needs.
We are exploring ways to boost the number of registrants and attendance at the fitness c entre. For the fall term we have offered a 25% discount at the fitness centre for people that have registered in any other OSCA program. Christy has arranged for signs at the front entrance of the building that indicate that the fitness centre is in the basement. An open house will be held September 15th. Ian is looking to get a group of Carleton MBA students to do a marketing assessment of the fitness centre in the winter/spring.
September 18, 2012
By Gwendolyn Gall
OSCA Board Member
Chair, Web/IT Committee
Gwendolyn Gall, Chair and Associate Web Editor
Kathy Krywicki, Associate Web Editor, acting Lead
Christopher Solar, Web Administrator and Web Designer
John Calvert, contributor
James Hunter, contributor
The OSCA website, Between the Bridges, has been running (for the most part) smoothly from May to September, with most content gathered or written by Kathy Krywicki and Gwen Gall, with Chris Solar administrating. There has been an increase in submissions from various groups, such as the newly minted Brewer Park Community Garden (BPCG) with ECOS, which the website greatly welcomes.
The website to date has 554 registered users. Summer is a bit slower for website visitors (most visitors have not registered). The weekly email newsletter, News Between the Bridges, has steadily increased in subscribers, and is now close to 500. (Appendix A is a description of how the newsletter relates to the website).
Below is a comparison of website visitors between May and September 2011 and the same period 2012. The high points are registration periods, and in each case have increased noticeably since this version of the website began and such data was available here (2010). This year’s Program registration is notably greater than any previous year—and has been steadily growing each registration period. This reflects Programming’s increasing success!
The Blue line represents 2012; orange line is 2011: 1st high points, Summer Program registration; 2nd high points, After Four registration; 3rd high points, Fall Program registration. Average day’s visitors between 150-400.
Issue: Note the lowest point in the 2012 line in the graph, which was 60 visitors on Thurs. Aug.30. The low number reflects that the website was shut down for approximately 24 hours by the Internet Provider Primus. Chris Solar spent much of that 24 hours trying to get an answer from them; eventually they responded (and put us back online). It seems they had inadvertently or incorrectly shut down our website for reasons still not made completely clear to our Web Administrator. This raises the issue of whether OSCA should look for another provider; it’s not the first time Primus has introduced problems, such as extremely slow access or unusual (but usually short) shutdowns.
The main OOS news was the 126/128 Hopewell Avenue fire—the OSCA website was able to contribute with a place to receive online donations, and publicize the Hopewell Avenue Fire Fund Street Party. Pictures from the fire, the street party, and news articles were provided by OOS residents (such as Don Westwood, Leo Doyle and Ed Kucerak) and will be available permanently in the News and Community/Photos gallery on the website.
Linda Cook, manager of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, contributed through the website to an article about their Hopewell fire fundraising efforts via the Horsedrawn Wagon Ride that will be published in the October OSCAR.
Issue: While the format of the Joomla! Content Management System (CMS) makes it easy to add content such as articles and event notices, it is still a certain amount of work. A major issue of the Web/IT committee right now is increasing the number of volunteers willing to do the work of writing or adding written content to the website. Please consider doing so yourself, or asking your friends and neighbours if they would be interested. It’s fun, satisfying, and relatively easy.
One of the primary purposes of the website is to provide an online presence for OSCA committees, if they wish to do so, and provide Programming with a place for online registration for programs.
Mike Lascelles, Chair of ECOS, worked with Chris Solar earlier this summer in setting up an ECOS set of web pages. ECOS has started providing articles and news items, which will remain on the website as archival material in their section, and will continue to grow as ECOS uses it as a place to communicate, publicize, and archive their activities.
OSWatch, as the “early adopter” committee of the website, still posts its meeting times, events, agendas and minutes regularly on the website, providing an excellent resource for the community on the development issues OSWatch deals with, and functioning as an archive for many of their important documents. Articles are written about development issues by OSWatch members for the OSCAR and the website, and all are stored together in the OSWatch section of the website.
Chris Solar, who as Web Administrator is responsible for designing and implementing web components such as the Program banner at the top of the website, has been managing the After Four, and Programming banners and articles for the Programming Committee.
The Web/IT committee was also taking the print Program Guides and manually turning them into HTML files on the website for some time, always with difficulties due to time and sheer “brute force” conversion, as there is no software that can take it from the Word file to HTML. The Web/IT committee had itself initiated the practice, thinking it was a good idea and provided more Web exposure to OSCA programs. Web statistics do show that the online files were well used and looked at often during the registration period as well as long after (many programs don’t start until well into the period, and can be registered for right up until the day they start if they aren’t full).
However, with such a large amount of work for a small number of volunteers, the Fall 2012 Program Guide did not get converted to HTML files, and we published only the PDF of the print guide. We were able to get the producer of the print guide to make some corrections, which we published as a notice on the Front Page of the website, and the producer—former OSCAR Editor Mary Anne Thompson—was able to give us an updated PDF to put up on the site.
Issue: Statistics show that the HTML files were well used and popular during and after registration, and the HTML files themselves were found more readily by the search engines, bringing them closer to the top of any search engine queries, such as “yoga ottawa” in Google. However, the work is too great for a few volunteers; it is very simple but manual data processing; and OSCA already pays to have the print version produced. The issue for Programming committee then in the next few months will be whether it is worth their while to pay someone to convert the files, or if it is sufficient to post only a PDF of the Program Guide on the website. As there are almost always corrections that need to be made to the print gude after publication, it will be important for Programming committee to hire someone able to produce corrected PDFs for the website; the website will continue to alert the public to these corrections on the Front Page and in the newsletter.
The Special Events Committee has submitted posters and promotional articles for their events, along with Brenda Lee (who participates with her unique writing talent and great knowledge as former Special Events chair). We encourage articles, separately or with the OSCAR, particularly if the monthly OSCAR can’t publicize it in a timely fashion for that event.
The website also likes to publish accounts of Special Events afterward, either as articles (with photos) written by an attendee, or photographs published in the Community/Photos gallery, and encourages anyone to send one in.
Currently there is no plan make a major overhaul of the website. Chris Solar does make some ad hoc changes as are occasionally suggested and are easily done in the CMS, or when new or improved features become available.
There are as yet unset plans for the committee to meet with interested and invested indivuduals about the future of the website, especially given the illness of the Web Chair (who will eventually need to step down due to illness).
Business Listings: an OOS business listing and potention map have been planned for the website, and two OOS residents, Gail Stewart and Isla Jordan (OSCA board member) are at work on this now. It is a difficult and time-consuming process, but they are working hard at accomplishing it, in association with Chris Solar who is helping to develop the web components for them.
(This general description of how the weekly email newsletter News Between the Bridges reflects the OSCA website, Between the Bridges, was originally written for a questioning user and may be of interest to others.)
The newsletter is a "snapshot" of the website as it is at that current moment, excluding older items and events that have passed. As such, it is merely an entry version of the website.
The website is a database, literally (SQL), and the newsletter software automatically goes in and pulls out all the new "news", wherever they may be on the web pages, and displays an introductory part of each article in the left column. It will not include anything more than a week old--that is done manually if we need an article to appear in more than one newsletter. Some articles will not appear at all, depending on how the automation is set up.
"News", as opposed to "events", which Joomla! the Content Management System (CMS) calls "articles", can be on the Front Page, "More Stories", or deeper down in Neighbourhood News in the Quick Links. Other article types, such as board agendas and minutes, can be found under their respective pulldown menus at the top of each page. There is also a line of links at the bottom of the page to OSCA news, etc.
The right hand column in the newsletter displays all the events from the Event List module occurring in the next two weeks, and will display the whole content of each, which we try to keep short, and will point to a longer article in the "news" section if we have a one. This can also include a link to an external article on another website than ours. The right column displays whatever is in the Events Calendar, and can be found by clicking "Events" in the pulldown menu and selecting Events Calendar, or hovering over a specific date and clicking the date in the calendar on the Front Page.
Essentially the newsletter is a static "snapshot" of current news and upcoming events in Old Ottawa South as of about 8 pm Thursday, just in a different organization than the website, and not the complete content, but entry to it if it is long. It is really not meant to be read "alone"--you click through to the website to read the rest of most news articles.
There is a Newsletter Archive on the Events pulldown menu at the top. If you like to see the arrangement of news and events as presented in a given newsletter, it can be found there.
Note: If you can't find a specific article, there is also the Search button in the upper right corner, which can be used to find anything if it has the right combination of words in it. You can specify "exact phrase" etc. once you are on the search page. It functions just like a search engine search, such as Google.
We agreed to support and ECOS request for an OSCA contribution to hire a consultant to deal with the issue of soil remediation at Lansdowne Park.(ie that huge pile on contaminated sole at the east end of the football stadium). GCA and the Lansdowne Environmental Committee will also be contributing. The consultant will comment a proposed Certificate of Property Use on how to safely deal with all that contaminated soil.
72 Seneca St (70 Seneca/160 & 162 Glen Ave)
Mary appeared at a Committee of Adjustment meeting to argue against a number of minor variance requested by the developer. The committee reserved judgement on the case.
Don was able to get a story on CBC Morning after a neighbour videoed a contractor using a large digger to pulling up a live gas line. As a result of this a complaints by neighbours a stop work order was enforced the next morning.
We had a discussion about which infill cases to contest. We agreed that we would try to help every group neighbours who approach us with concerns about a proposed development. We also agreed to contest developments even if there are no concerned neighbours where we stand a chance of stopping or improving the proposed development. This and many other things will be further discussed at our planning session latter this month.
Mary, Kathy, and Graham meet with a consultant and a City Official about the results of an OOS parking study that was undertaken as a result of the controversy surrounding the building of the Shoppers Drug Mart at Bank and Sunnyside. The study found that there are no major parking problems on Bank Street and the surrounding streets for patrons of Bank St businesses. A copy of the report is attached.City staff has requested a written comment from OSCA in response to the conclusion in this report . OSWatch supports the report's conclusion.
Kathy is our representative on the committee reviewing the proposed footbridge between Clegg and Fifth Avenue. There is support for the latest proposal from the city from all the stakeholders but no money to go ahead .
Winnie was our representative Lansdowne Traffic Advisory Committee (LTAC) meeting on Sept 27th. The meeting focused on cycling. It appears there is no money budgeted to do anything about improving cycling outside of the development itself.
We are still working towards getting all contract signed from the contract workers. There are new rules and policies for contractors to follow and it is a significant change for some of them. Contracts have been sent to all applicable workers but not all have been returned signed. We have many contract workers that are not used to signing contracts.
Contract workers must now invoice OSCA every two weeks, show proof of insurance, negotiate their pay rate before the program starts and disclose any equipment they may need before the program starts. These changes have led to some contractors taking the opportunity to renegotiate their pay rates. This problem has been compounded because there is no set policy on how pay raises with contractors should be handled (ie. % increase). The signing of the contracts has been delayed due to contractors being uncomfortable with the new arrangement and contractors tacking the opportunity to negotiate a pay raise.
We are considering running a workshop to educate contract workers on the changes being instituted by OSCA. Barry Robinson, an instructor at Algonquin who teaches program administration and marketing, has been identified as capable to run the workshop. If a fee is charged we would likely pass it on to the contractors that attend to avoid the perception that we are offering free training to contractors. The goal is to have all contracts signed by the end of 2012.
There is no set policy on how pay raises are to be handled for contract workers. We have a couple of contract workers that are asking for pay raises. We have decided that since programs have already begun there will be no increase in pay until the winter session. Pay raises need to be benchmarked against industry standards and a maximum increase rate needs to be set. We are presently working on developing a sustainable policy that takes into account the needs of OSCA and the contract workers.
Presently OSCA has a set policy of providing a subsidy of up to 30% for programs for community members that have demonstrated a financial need. In the past 2 months we have received two requests from clients of Empathy House on Sunnyside for gym memberships. We were asked to match the cost of the gym membership from the YMCA. We agreed and the subsidy amounts $78 each.
There are currently 44 people registered with the centre. 36 are on 4 months registrations, and 8 are 1 month registrations. Of the 4 month memberships 9 are discounted as part of the promotion offered for the fall term.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Web/IT Committee Chair