4/18/17

Young Art 2017


Click for larger image (includes URL for more info).

4/4/17

Meeting on Vegetation Management = excitement!

Vegetation Management along the Spur Line: A representative from the Region of Waterloo will be at the Breithaupt Centre on Wednesday (April 5th) at 6:30 pm to discuss "vegetation management" (including pesticides). This is an information session for those interested in understanding what they do and when (it is not an advocacy meeting). We will be in room 202 so please come out if you are interested.

3/26/17

Soccer 2017

We are running a summer soccer program for kids. The cost is only $20 and your child gets a t-shirt and a soccer ball. Plus eight weeks of fun!






You register at any community centre or by using WebReg on the city of Kitchener's website.

For more information please contact info@breithauptParkAC.ca

The codes are:


2-4yr 9-10am Code is 239615

5-7yr 9-10am Code is 239616

8-12yr 10-11am code is 239617




3/23/17

RIENS, do you know what it means?

We are very pleased that one of our residents has followed the RIENS process and has written this articulate explanation. This planning process affects all of us so please read the article and follow the links.


The RIENS (Residential Intensification in Existing Neighbourhoods Study) has now been endorsed by the City at the Kitchener CIty Council meeting on Monday, March 20th.  If you have not been following the progress of this initiative you should as it has a direct impact on our neighbourhoods. 

We are all aware that due to the Places to Grow legislation it is becoming more and more important that we intensify our inner cities rather than expanding into the countryside.   We also know that the LRT construction and the changes to areas surrounding LRT are making it more and more attractive to live in the core.  Our Mount Hope - Breithaupt Park neighbourhood is highly desirable on both fronts.   More and more people now want to live in our neighbourhood not only because of the wonderful look and feel of heritage houses but because we are now within walking distance of a newly evolving downtown with bars, restaurants, cultural events and employment opportunities.  In the coming years we can expect that single family dwellings will be torn down and replaced by multi-family homes, that newcomers to the neighbourhoods will buy properties and build additions and that developers will buy up vacant properties and build larger homes than currently exist in the neighbourhood.

The City of Kitchener has been extremely proactive in anticipating that this flight to the core may have an impact on existing neighbourhoods and decided to hire an outside consultant to work with City staff to ensure that the influx did not have an adverse impact on our neighbourhood (as well as the Vanier neighbourhood which is also adjacent to the LRT line).  And thus, the RIENS project was borne.  Although City Council has endorsed the RIENS recommendations and will implement these recommendations it will take up to 12 or 18 months to have the recommendations implemented by the Planning Department.

It should be noted that some members of Council felt that the initial recommendations of the project were too restrictive and there should be some leeway on the planning guidelines.  They were particularly concerned about the front yard setback (distance from the street in line with other houses on the street) and the height of new builds or additions (currently the height allowed is 10.5 m versus the recommended 8.5 m – this is essentially the difference of a 2 storey with a peak roof versus a 3 storey with a peaked roof).  The height restriction was one of the most debated points during the process (e.g. how does the new building or addition impact the adjacent neighbours?). Ultimately, Council approved the 8.5 metre restriction where there are bungalows on the adjacent two properties. Otherwise the 10.5 metre restriction applies -- so if the two houses adjacent to the property are two storey homes, 10.5 metres would be the rule.

The other point of contention throughout the process was the look and feel of new development and does it fit into the character of the streetscape? is this a neighbourhood with front porches, is this a street with two story brick houses, is this a street with bungalows or 1 ½ story houses and should the new build or addition mimic the existing houses on the street?

As a residents in Mt. Hope/Breithaupt we need to monitor the Committee of Adjustment notices in the newspaper so that we can keep track of the development plans in our neighbourhoods. In future, it won't be as important to subscribe to the paper to get this information as the City will require the developer to post a notice on the actual property.  If you feel proposed development does not meet the neighbourhood character you can raise your concerns with the developer (the proposed development does not fit into the look and feel of the neighbourhood) or appeal to the Committee of Adjustment as is the current procedure.

Here is the entire report to Council by the Planning Department which outlines all the recommendations ….

3/9/17

Central Fresh and Driving on King

I like Central because it is large enough to have most food you want yet small enough to be easy to navigate. They seem to always put on more staff when customers start to line up at the checkout and they have a great supply of cardboard boxes if you want to avoid using tons of plastic bags and forgot to bring your own bags. 



During the LRT construction on King Central's business was seriously affected and they posted many signs around the neighbourhood pointing out they were open and showing how to access them. 

Over the period of construction it has been very convenient to be able to use Braun St. to enter and exit Central's parking lot but that route has now been permanently closed. Apparently the city has had discussions with the residents who did not want the traffic from Central to continue after King street was re-opened. 

It is understandable that no one wants excessive traffic or noise on their street. But years ago Central was accessible through King Street, The Transylvania Club parking lot (which is now a medical building and fenced off) and (circuitously through a parking lot) Braun Street. Now there is just one entrance and exit which is off King Street. So as our neighbourhood has increased in density it has become less convenient to access our one local supermarket. Of course pedestrians and cyclists can still access Central through the Mt. Hope cemetery. 

When you exit Central and turn left on King (towards Kitchener downtown) you used to be able to turn left on Andrew to get back into the Mt. Hope neighbourhood. This is no longer possible because Andrew is blocked by the LRT. I contacted our City Councillor, Sarah Marsh, and inquired if it was legal to drive past Andrew to Agnes St., then do a U-turn at that intersection and drive back to Andrew. She said "yes", that this was legal!

I also noticed that, when turning left at the Agnes St. intersection, there is a long alley that runs behind the "Midtown Lofts" (currently under construction) from King to Louisa. It seems that with the ION route closing off some navigation alternatives, this alley might become more widely used that it is now. It is currently quite bumpy and in poor repair so I asked Councillor Marsh if the city was planning on upgrading this lane to handle more traffic and she said "yes", that was being planned. I assume we will have to wait until after the condos are finished before that work is started.

Se we will have to see what happens after the ION gets running, but there will be a few options left to maintain a traffic flow into our neighbourhood.

Ted Parkinson

2/15/17

KENA Festival Invitation

Our friends at the King East Neighbourhood Association have invited everyone to their winter festival on February 26. 

Here is their message and poster:



Hello from King East Neighbourhood Association (KENA)!

We are pleased to be hosting KENA's 2nd Annual Winter Carnival on Sunday, February 26th from 4pm-7pm.

We really hope you will be able to join us!

This feel-good event is FREE, all-ages, organized by neighbours, and centers around a community potluck so feel free to bring your favourite dish to share.

Our goal with this grassroots event is to nurture a sense of belonging among downtown Kitchener residents and continue to extend our neighbourhood-network.

Let's celebrate the Canadian cold together on the 26th!

click on image for larger view:



2/9/17

152 Shanley Update, February 2017

In 2012 the City of Kitchener claimed it would put this property up for a tax sale. That did not happen.

Again in 2016 the City of Kitchener was on the record (and in The Record) claiming it would be up for sale. That did not happen either.

In late 2016 the city added an information page that discusses their intention to put it up for a tax sale in January. It is now February and there is no sale yet. 

We contacted the city about this issue and they replied that there has been interest and they are delaying the sale until some time in February in order to give the interested parties more time for "due diligence". 

The city's reply is that it has "been contacted by a few parties interested in the site and they have been doing their due diligence for which more time would be helpful. The formal advertisement is prescribed by legislation; it runs only 5 weeks and through that process the property is only advertised for sale for 4 of the weeks.  Once we commence the formal advertisement we can’t deviate from it as the process is legislated and we lose any flexibility with respect to time.  The formal advertisement will commence in the next two weeks and will run for 5 weeks."

So we can expect to see the sale announced soon.

The city has done a good job with their information page and the Information Package that is available for everyone to view. However, the city lists all the problems and obligations of the site, including its heritage designation, without mentioning many of the positive details of this growing part of our Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park neighbourhood. 

For example, the city's web page states "The property may be eligible for brownfield financial incentive program" (sic). Why doesn't it say: "here are some brownfield incentives that we will work with any partner to secure"? 

Why isn't there a description of how the City will help any purchaser through the many steps required -after- the sale for the lengthy process of soil testing, remediation, permits required etc.? And this property also involves provincial standards so where is our provincial representative during this process?

The property has been essentially abandoned for for over 30 years and there is a short opportunity to sell it. It would be nice if the city showed a little more enthusiasm with this venture. We certainly wish everyone luck and hope the additional time for "due diligence" will result in an offer.

(for past information about this property on the Blog, search for "152 Shanley" at the top left of the Blog)

Ted Parkinson