Old Ottawa South Community Association

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AGM 2012: President's Report

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President's Report

The Year in Review and a Look Ahead

As has been the case over the past several years, the Board has been coping with two very different sets of issues in 2011: how to respond to the increasing pressures on the physical development of the community and how to effectively manage the services we provide to the residents of Old Ottawa South.

On the former front we have had a number of successes.  After many years of lobbying by OSCA and OSWatch, and after a very significant effort of community consultation, the Sunnyside traffic management plan has been approved by the City. It will, when implemented, make a significant contribution to improving the safety of this critical connector road in our community, linking as it does the increasingly congested north-south arterials of Bronson, Bank, and via Riverdale, Main Street.  The additional good news on this front is that according to our Councillor’s office is it likely that over the next couple of years funding will be available to implement the construction of the physical elements of the plan; usually communities have to wait long periods of time before these plans are implemented through a major street rebuild (for example when water and sewer mains are replaced).

Second, the recently developed infill guidelines that we, again, lobbied hard for, are going forward to Council shortly for approval.  While not all we would have wanted, and while the development industry is obviously not entirely supportive of them, the guidelines will make a significant contribution to a major problem we are facing which is poorly designed infill housing that intrudes on the privacy and amenity of neighbours, and ruins our streetscapes. 

Of course many challenges remain.  The pace and force of property development and traffic growth will continue and we have areas in our community where these pressures will be acutely felt.  They include: infill housing developments all through the community, new commercial development on Bank Street, and conflicts among drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in sensitive areas such as the Bank and Sunnyside intersection—one of the busiest pedestrian crossings outside the city centre.

We also have the gift that keeps on giving, the Lansdowne Park redevelopment.  For our community the issue will be the impact on traffic both during and after construction.  We are participating in a new committee establish by the Councillor to monitor and make suggestions on traffic, parking and transit management issues.  And we will see where that leads, but it is hard to understand how the site will cope with such inadequate transportation infrastructure.  As we have told the City time and again, a site that can barely cope with a “67s” game without gridlock, is not a good candidate for a major retail, sports and events facility with a large housing development to boot.

On our service and community support role, we are doing very well; we sponsored a record number of special events this past year from our traditional events in City parks such as the winter carnival and fall fest, to dances and music concerts.  Our programming activities are growing by leaps and bounds and our new fitness room is a welcome addition to the community’s fitness infrastructure.  Over the last year and a half that we have been back in the renovated Firehall we have run very healthy surpluses on our programming activities and significantly increased enrolments in them.  As a consequence, the Board at its regular April meeting, approved a policy to devote a significant share of our programming surpluses to a capital reserve to invest in new equipment and facilities at the Firehall.  With the addition of a new full time executive director we will have more capacity to professionally manage our growing program operations and build a pool of volunteers to help us with a diverse range of programming and community events.

But challenges remain.  As we expand our programming activities, the level of due diligence and supervision needs to increase and the partnership agreement that City wants to sign with us will place additional pressures on us in terms of administrative costs and potentially the need for additional staff resources.  Nonetheless the evidence is clear that residents in this community value and appreciate our programming and we will endeavour to meet those expectations as fully as we can.

This has been a year of significant achievements and I think with careful management and the continued dedicated work on the part of Board and committee members we can look forward to many more such achievements in the years ahead.

At this time I would also like thank our Board and Executive Committee members for all their hard work over the past year; their commitment and time have been critical to our being able to meet our objectives this year.  I would also like to thank the Board members who are retiring this year, many after a number of years on the Board and its committees.  David Law our Vice-President for a number of years, Greg Strahl our Secretary, Lisa Drouillard, Anna Sundin our Programme Committee chair, Brendan McCoy, OSWatch co-chair and Milica Nauman are stepping down. On your behalf I would like to say a very big thank you to them all.

I also want to thank Cathie Buchanan and Dinos Dafniotis, the City’s centre director and program coordinator respectively, for all the hard work they put in to help ensure our programs worked smoothly and the right staff and instructors were recruited.  Without their help, imagination and energy, we could not offer the high level of programming we do at the Firehall.

Finally, and by no means least, I would like to thank Deirdre McQuillan our Executive Director who, after some 20 years of service, will be leaving OSCA and retiring at the end of June.  Deirdre has been a selfless and hardworking supporter of OSCA and our community for over two decades and we are indebted to her for her selfless contribution to the cause.  We will miss her very much.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael Jenkin
20 April 2012

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 19:59

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