9/22/16

Octoberfest on a budget.....

You are invited to: OKTOBERFESTHAUS 

The Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club is offering free tickets to residents of the Olde Towne Neighbourhood or the Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood. 

The Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club, for 18 years, had our Oktoberfest Haus Festhall in the Tent on Frederick Street (outside Crabby Joe's) in Downtown Kitchener. We now have to leave because ION (the new LRT) will be installed on this section of roadway. But we are pleased to announce we have a new Festhall location – we are going to the Kitchener Market – the Upper Level. We believe this location will provide us with a comfortable and attractive venue with a genuine Festhall "feel". We want to make this the Downtown's Festhall, and more importantly, your local and convenient community Festhall. The capacity of our Hall is 475 people. 

As a new Festhall we recognize that we need to establish ourselves in the community's mind. We've decided to invite the six Neighbourhoods around the Festhall as our Guests (free). In this regard, we would like you to join us for "Meet Your Neighbours Night" on Saturday, October 15th , from 7:00pm to 1:00am. (Regular admission is $15). We will have a number of restaurants open to serve you, including "Every Day Gourmet", "Bolero Pizza and Pasta House", and "The Apple Fritter". We have a great band lined up, lots of beer, German Dancers, and of course, an extensive schnapps bar. 

We plan on having a lot of fun, including a polka and chicken dance contest. To reserve free tickets for yourselves, your family and friends, email me directly at boutiliers@bell.net indicating the number of tickets, and that you are with the Olde Towne or Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park neighbourhood. Tickets are on a first come-first served basis. I will deliver the tickets at the end of September. 

In closing I want you to know that all money made by the Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club at the Festhall is donated to the St. Mary's Hospital Foundation, the Grand River Hospital Foundation, Guide Dogs Canada and a number of local Lions charities. We are all unpaid Volunteers. We hope you can join us. 

Thank you, Terry Boutilier, Kitchener-Oktoberfest Lions Club

9/18/16

AGM and Constitutional Changes



Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th, from 10 am to 12 pm at the Breithaupt Centre


We will have a summary of our activities for the past year and will have a few guest speakers.

We will have coffee, water and some fruit and veggies for you to munch on.

For the kids: virtually unlimited LEGO!

There are SEVERAL positions on our executive that will be open for the coming year. Please consider running for the board and helping out our community.

We will also be voting on our updated constitution. We have added two new "Member at Large" positions. And we have added the provision that we will elect members to the board at the AGM and they can have some time to decide on the specific position they wish to occupy. 

Both these changes are intended to make participating in our Neighbourhood Association easier and more flexible. Not everyone understands all the issues and requirements for "Co-Chair", or "Events Director" etc. so this allows you to get involved and decide later on the specific role. The first page is below and the entire 2016 Draft constitution can be viewed here. The file is called "MHBPNA Constitution draft- 2016.pdf".

For further information please contact us at mhbpna@gmail.com





9/16/16

What's in a Name?

What's in a name
What's in a Name: The Mount Hope, Breithaupt Park, Huron Park, Midtown, North Ward Neighbourhood(s)

Geographic areas are named so they have an identity and community. These can change over time just like language evolves. History and usage combine to identify regions and neighbourhoods. Change can happen suddenly, like the shift from "Berlin" to "Kitchener," or it can take more time, like the evolution of "downtown" Kitchener and "uptown" Waterloo. Part of "Stirling Avenue North" became "Wedgewood Drive" after the Conestoga Parkway was developed and the two parts were separated. "Regina Street" in Waterloo used to be named "Queen" but when the two cities agreed to consolidate naming to avoid confusion many street names were changed.

If you look on some older maps, the current Lippert Park at Weber and Louisa used to be named "Huron Park". It was created after a developer donated 2.5 acres of land in 1936. The land was a series of lots on two unopened streets: Huron Street was planned to run from Weber into the park and Augusta would have run from Wilhelm to the end of Huron Street. Neither street was ever built yet the park was named after a street that never existed.

In 1998 the City of Kitchener and our Neighbourhood Association (MHBPNA) did a safety audit of the park which resulted in the city doing a cleanup of trees, bushes etc. which made it much more welcoming. In 2015-2016 the park underwent a huge upgrade with a dog park, new playground equipment and a much improved tennis court and basketball courts.

In 2004 members of the Lippert Family approached City Hall asking that the name of the park be changed to George Lippert Park to commemorate this well known industrialist and community builder. The Lippert furniture factory had been located very close to the park, so the city agreed to the name change (the renaming also avoided confusion with the Huron Industrial Park and the Huron Natural Area).

Breithaupt Park/Street/Community Centre are all named after Louis Jacob Breithaupt who was an important businessman and politician in "Berlin's" early years (Breithaupt was Mayor of Berlin, manager of the Breithaupt Leather Company, president of the Berlin Gas Company and was also associated with other manufacturing businesses). Many members of the Breithaupt family are buried in the Mt. Hope cemetery.

The Mount Hope neighbourhood is named after the Mount Hope cemetery which occupies a large amount of land in this area. According to the City of Kitchener it is "our oldest active cemetery with records dating back to the late 1700's. Actually, Mount Hope is two cemeteries, the original Mount Hope (known at one time as Greenbush Cemetery) which was Protestant, and Roman Catholic Mount Hope cemetery operated by Sacred Heart Church" until 1958 when the city took over operation of both.

And Mount Hope is actually a "mount", or hill from which one can look down toward the City of Kitchener's core. When I led Jane's Walks in the past I called Mount Hope Kitchener's "industrial Suburb" because it was built out of the downtown area and across the tracks. It seems close now, but it was a very separate neighbourhood. The train tracks facilitated industrial development such as the Tannery, Krug Furniture and many other businesses. Many of the workers lived in the area and walked to work in the factories. There were over a dozen corner stores selling food and other goods. There was a strong Polish influence with Sacred Heart Church at the core. Mount Hope's history with the cemetery, manufacturing and the recent development of technology companies, two ION stops and the Transit Hub makes it an exciting place to live and learn about its past even as it rushes towards the future.

Mount Hope (or part of it) is sometimes called "Midtown" because it is between "downtown" Kitchener and "uptown" Waterloo. Of course these are two different cities but many people feel like KW is really one big town. (In fact, a few years ago several people, including some CEOs of tech companies, lobbied for politicians to investigate amalgamation in order to bring a bigger voice to discussions with other levels of government and although Kitchener agreed to consider the idea the Waterloo population voted against it). Some real estate agents love the phrase "Midtown" because it has a hip urban vibe to it and (they hope) it extends some of the upscale prices of Waterloo into our own small part of Kitchener. I guess for some people "Mount Hope" sounds old and stodgy while "Breithaupt" is hard to pronounce and spell. Why not replace one or both with the easier "Midtown", a name that has no history or real meaning except "between uptown and downtown." The midtownkw twitter account acknowledges this definition problem thusly: "In the neglected expanse between Uptown and Downtown lies the absurdity of our community".

No one knows what area "Midtown" encompasses. One real estate agent sent out his brochure with a map showing more than the entire Mount Hope area (King to Weber, Victoria to Union) branded as "Midtown". Developmental discussions of a few years ago sought to brand the area of King, from Union to William as "Midtown" as a spur to development. The City of Kitchener decided to ignore its organized neighbourhoods and designated much of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood and the Mount Hope Cemetery areas as "Midtown" for the purposes of its PARTS study. The KWMidtown instagram account folks have decided it includes a large amount of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood, all of Mount Hope and a third of Breithaupt Park and some of Waterloo as well!

Perhaps the appeal of "Midtown" is that because no one knows what it is exactly, it can be anything we want. Even if we disagree where it is, or if it even exists, we love that it sounds exciting and "forward thinking".

"Mount Hope - Breithaupt Park" (MHBP) is an area designated by the city as a "neighbourhood" like Central Frederick, Auditorium, Cherry Park etc. It has a neighbourhood association (http://mhbpna.blogspot.ca and www.mhbpna.org) that has existed for over 35 years. Like all organizations the NA has had periods of both intense activity and lethargy. It has funded neighbourhood events, run programs at the Breithaupt Community Centre (vegetarian cooking, self defense for women, Lego for kids etc.) and organized events like Winterfest, Soap Box Derby, Earth Day Cleanup and much more.

MHBP is a large geographic area and the NA exists to help people do whatever they want to encourage community. Obviously the area is full of much smaller groups of people interested in diverse activities like soccer, potluck dinners, songwriting, urban activism, gardening etc.

Finally, the name we hear the least seems to be the "North Ward". This is derived from the fact we are in Ward 10 and are in the furthest "north" part of that area. ("North" can be confusing because because King Street runs north-south in Waterloo but magically changes to west-east when it hits Kitchener, but that is another story). The phrase North Ward is occasionally used by residents who have been here over 30 years and refers to the whole Mount Hope - Breithaupt park area. North Ward is a little vague and the word "ward" means "an administrative division of a city or borough" but also "a person, usually a minor, under the care and control of a guardian". I suspect we don't use North Ward that often because it doesn't have a clear geographical definition and it sounds vaguely paternal.

So welcome to our hood, no matter what you call it!

9/6/16

152 Shanley Update (sort of)




Many Mount Hope residents were happy to read the article in The Record about the city finally offering this building up for sale. That article was published on January 11, 2016 and on September 6th, 2016 the building is still not up for sale. Interesting. 

In the past I have met with our councillor Sarah Marsh to discuss this property and over the summer I've asked for updates several times. Councillor Marsh assures me she has been advocating with staff regularly to move forward on the steps required for the sale.

The latest information is that there are "several interested parties" and that the city is putting together some kind of "package" for potential buyers to understand the issues with the property and the options that exist for Brownfield incentives. 

The property is expected to go on sale "sometime in the fall". 

Even if the property is purchased it will take some time to fulfill the Ministry of the Environment's requirements so cleanup and new construction would be at least a few years away. 

Certainly this property is in a prime location with the Transit Hub, Google, the Tannery and all the other development happening in our area. It is also situated amongst a lot of really nice people! 

On the other hand, its primary redevelopment purpose will be for condos and townhouses and we already have City Centre, One Victoria and the Midtown Condos either completed or in development. There will also be the "100 Victoria" development, a proposed rebuild of the current King's Crossing Plaza and the Transit Hub is also planning on having condos as part of its plan. How many condos will we need in downtown Kitchener before the market is saturated?

We will post any more updates on this Blog and for background information on this property please read the posts here and here

Ted Parkinson
CoChair MHBPNA

8/25/16

Big Breithaupt Campout!

Everyone is welcome to come to our "big campout". We are a "big tent" kind of Neighbourhood, except everyone will have their own smaller tents!

click on image:

 

8/23/16

Updates for Spur Line Trail and Weber Street



Many residents have expressed their concern to MHBPNA about the state the newly planted trees along the Spur Line trail. Many of them are dying.

Also, the sidewalks along Weber St on both sides, south of the Spur Line, are supposed to be "mixed use" so cyclists and pedestrians will share. But there are no signs indicating this and people are confused.

On a related note residents complained about the large gravel area around Lippert Park at the intersection of Louisa and Weber. It is waiting for a large water valve that is on order but there were many weeds and garbage. After having this drawn to their attention (by local residents emailing their elected officials as well as staff) the Region has cleaned it up! 

We asked the Region about the trees and signage issues and this is their reply:


Trees along the Waterloo Spur Line Trail – We are aware of the poor condition of the trees planted as part of the Waterloo Spur Line Trail and understand the concern for their health. The lack of rain this year has not helped in this matter. However, this does not excuse the fact that the Spur Line contractor is required to maintain the trees in a “healthy and viable condition until final acceptance”. Final acceptance will not occur until after a two year warrantee period has expired. The warrantee period has not yet begun as the Trail project is not yet complete. Having said that, many of the trees will require replacement at the contractors cost. The contract requires that replacement trees be installed in the ”next planting season” which would be this fall. It is our intent to do an inspection of the Trail, including all the plant materials, early this fall once all the work is complete. This will result in a listing of trees to be replaced. Trees which die during the warrantee period will also have to be replaced at the contractors expense.


Multi-use Trail signage on Weber Street – We have requested that the Regions Traffic staff determine what signage would be appropriate for the multi-use trail on Weber Street and what bylaw requirements would have to be implemented . Once this has been determined, we will be able to have the signs made and installed. We expect that the signage could be installed by early fall.
 


8/22/16

Soapbox Derby: 2016 Edition!

SoapBox Derby 2016


The above photo shows two fathers, two racers and our safety supervisor.


Please read the excellent article in the Record about our 2016 Derby. Thanks to all the people who volunteered to make this possible and to the folks on Edwin Street who agreed to close down their street for the Saturday morning. It was a great day and the kids had fun!






Safety first! Hay bales protect errant drivers from colliding with something dangerous. (click for larger images)



Coming down! The Edwin Street hill was much faster than Louisa where we were last year. Take your bike over there and cruise down yourself!