Very early Saturday morning, July 23rd, a sudden heavy flow of water awakened some residents whose homes are close to the Reach Eight section of the Walker’s Creek. Later that same morning, reports of very muddy water further downstream, raised questions as to where this water might have come from … certainly not rain as the very long, dry period was yet to end. As these midnight gushes of water have happened in the past, seldom in connection with any deluge or significant rainstorm, it was decided to ask the questions of those most probably in the know. So questions posed, via email, to the Engineering and Environment Services Department and specifically to the Pollution Control office were sent off and responses are anticipated in the near future.
Perviously, when such a heavy flow of water occurred, an annoying odour often accompanied the washing out of the upstream Creek beyond Grantham Street. This time, the odour was much less noticeable and the residents, who have been denied comfortable use of their back yards due to the invading odour, were pleased to find a change has occurred. The water from storm sewers as far away as the parking lot of the mall at Bunting and Welland comes into the open at the Grantham Street Creek site. Possibilities for explaining the heavy flow included water lines being flushed, water from some site being dumped in the quiet of the night or some other occurrence yet to be explained … mysteries sure to be resolved in the coming days!!
Basic research has just begun to identify again the many trees planted within the WCNA Parks as Memorials to family members. Though initially tagged when planted, many of these tags have gone missing and knowing for whom we should be appreciative of the added shade, for the range of species and to continue the Memorial Tribute, we are working with the City Parks Department and with Hulse and English Funeral Homes, who promote this tree planting, to once again identify these trees. Then we will seek ways to better mark these gifts. If you can identify such a Memorial tree, we would welcome your news … please email the information to “firstname.lastname@example.org” or leave a message on the WCNA phone line at 905-688-5601 extension 1912.
“Walks In The Park”, a ‘Weather Permitting’ program being developed by RCS and the WCNA now has dates … Thursdays September 8,15, 29 and October 6 … from 10:00 to 11:00 AM, a stroll through different Park areas with knowledgeable leaders will highlight the unusual and interesting aspects of the varied Parks’ natural and added plantings, explain the care being given the Creek to maintain a healthy environment and point out places of interest and unusual species … can you identify a “Cucumber Tree’?? Similar “Walks” will occur in Malcomson Eco-park on September 22nd and October 13. Starting points will be identified, with parking directions, via this website and in the upcoming Leisure Guide from the City.
And do remember to mark your calendar for Saturday, September 17th when the local chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society will hold the “2011 Star Gazing Night” in Cindy Road Park. A fun, educational and interesting time for all ages to become more familiar with close-up viewing of the evening sky, enjoy the enthusiasm of the Society members and their personal discoveries, plus see the array of personal equipment, from simple to very complex , that supports this interest.
The monthly Community Meetings takes a break in August, with the next such meeting scheduled for Wednesday September 22nd at the Lion’s Club on Niagara Street. But the Executive Group does not get a holiday as they will gather on August 9th to plan for the Autumn months and consider how best to incorporate the cooler evenings and days with the seasonal changes in order to maximize the enjoyment of the Parks and neighbourly gatherings.
With the recent departure of Linda Crouch from the Executive Group, and with the position of Treasurer remaining vacant, we are in serious need of some interested and willing people to join the Executive Group and assist in the development and growth of the WCNA association. The Executive group, small by dictates of the WCNA Constitution, can certainly benefit from increased input from willing neighbours. Reviewing the existing Constitution and bringing it more in line with the responsibilities and duties of the Executive, while clarifying the Mission and Goals of the Association, will soon be a ‘work in progress’. An interesting and invigorating time to have your ideas become part of the advancement of this Neighbourhood Association.
Consideration will begin shortly to explore how the WCNA can better use the broad appeal and use of ‘Social Media”. The possibilities of enhancing the communication between and among the Members and the Association prompt this initiative. The City Cultural Committee has recently made a decision to move in this direction as a means to engage more people in the Cultural life of the City … and this addition of means of communicating has definite benefits and appears to be gaining importance within the City operations.
Discussions are underway to have no-cost to the City or the WCNA, work crews to assist in placing mulch about the Park trees in order to reduce weeds and provide protection from the large grass cutting machines now in use. The Human Resources Department and the City Health and Safety Committee are presently reviewing our appeal for such work crews.
Many thanks to various City Department and Crews, who mange to add our requests into their already busy schedules. Quietly and without fanfare, our needs gets addressed and only on seeing the work done after it has happened, do we know of their contribution to our Parks. While we would all like it to happen ‘Today”, we respect other pressures and appreciate the work accomplished on an “As soon as possible” basis. We are fortunate to have the ongoing support of our Ward Councillors and the Departments’ Senior Management teams.
Thursday, July 21st proved to be the hottest … and fiercely humid … day felt in this part of Ontario. Yet, with soggy air, warm winds, and repeated advice on radio and TV recommending people stay at home in AC comfort, nine stalwarts gathered in Cindy Drive Park to engage in conversation with Grantham Ward Councillors Bill Phillips and Dawn Dodge.
Interesting news was shared … a new children’s playground, to be installed in Cindy Drive Park, near the Darby Commemorative plaque and adjacent to where the Star Gazing Night occurs, goes before City Council for budgetary approval and tender finalizing. This needed children’s playground, a topic that has been mentioned for over two years, is about to be realized. With play equipment specifically geared to ages groups from three to ten years, this can become an attractive addition for families, for ‘Grands’ enjoying the grand children and for just sitting on the nearby benches to enjoy the laughter and watch the busy fun of the youthful users. Hopefully the installation will be completed before school reopens in September and before the September 17th Star Gazing Night, 2011.
Consideration is being given to re-naming or in some way naming Cindy Road Park to include reference to the Darby Family, further recognizing the original settler family whose cemetery is now noted by the Commemorative Plaque recently installed by the City Heritage Committee. Discussion on this topic , bringing together the RCS and the WCNA is awaiting an appropriate date.
Discussions with City Department regarding the condition of the pathways and trails and the application of stone dust where needed, continues. And approval has been given for the installation of a ‘Doggy Station’ where appropriate disposal bags will be available. This donation by a member will receive further notice once the unit is installed. In the interim, many thanks Karl for your donation of this desirable addition.
As you wander through the Parks … Cindy Drive Park particularly … watch for the two new cement bases that have been installed by the City. These will soon have Memorial Benches added, providing even more interesting restful areas to enjoy the calm, nature and the babbling Creek. Sounds like a great area to take a good book, sit and read and just have quiet time in busy world.
While greater numbers of attendees from the WCNA Neighbourhoods had been anticipated, it should be noted that when other Wards have held Town Hall Meetings, attendance was far thinner than at our Thursday Night gathering. Many thanks to Councillors Phillips and Dodge for a good evening of conversation and discussion.
And the WCNA Executive group does realize that our choice of meeting dates has been challenged by snow, then rain or now excessive heat, we will persevere and hopefully be more successful in scheduling Community Meetings in better weather!
Most recent happenings and goings-on in the parks have happy endings.
Among them, new seating and backs on Park benches … fresh, straight, and comfy with promises of long life. The replacement of old, tired and poorly painted wood is continuing, making for attractive places to sit, enjoy and just relax.
Discussions between City Staff and the contractor engaged in the lawn mowing, has produced some desirable results. Being more careful of their large machines coming in contact with trees and shrubs is the positive result of these meetings and new understandings. Also the ‘hay field’ results of earlier mowing seems to be disappearing as that ‘hay’ gets better mulched and adds to the humus, while giving addition protection and water retention … to the very thirsty open areas!!
An energetic volunteer crew of four adults and one grandson, under the watchful eye of Della Trojan, WCNA Vice Chair, transformed the buffer area at the Costen entrance from a weed patch into an more open area, with trees and bushes mulched, many, many burdocks dug out and removed, and miles of creeping vines also removed. Interesting bushes, both planted and naturally occurring, have re-appeared in the refreshed space. Thanks to the City’s Lake Street workers for delivering the mulch and carting away the detritus. More work parties are being planned and the website will let you know when, where and how you can get involved …. many hands make for light work … nicely in the early morning on hot days!!
The deep ruts left behind by construction equipment in the Reach Eight Creek area between Niagara and Grantham Streets, have disappeared … smoothing the area is making for easier walkers passage, though a request to consider an accessible quality pathway of substance in that area is on the ‘yet to be decided’ list with the Parks Department.
“Patience” is the watchword … we are waiting to see the removal of the necessary but unattractive black plastic erosion pollution barriers in areas where work was undertaken early this year. The contractor has some items awaiting completion and we hope this item is high on that list. Also, seasonal patience is necessary as replanting in some bare areas where construction took place, must now await autumn when grass sprouts more strongly with greater potential for continued growth. We’ve noted some bushes that were planted this spring have failed to settle in and so we will be looking at appropriate replacement materials, especially in the area where the Creek redirection happened.
Early morning walkers, with and without dogs, plus cyclists, stop and tell me how they like what’s happening in the parks. Yes, the wet pathway areas, dry now thanks to the weather, do need additional materials, yes, the bigger stone , not stone dust, on the slope to the new bridge over the waste water pipe is a mistake which makes walking and cycling more difficult and the reports of garbage cans filling are duly noted… though there has been a significant improvement over earlier this year. Communication with the RCS and TES has resulted in responses that they are aware of the situation and will be dealing with them. Thanks to Bill Phillips for his action on our behalf on these issues.
Dog walkers are reminded that the WCNA Parks are not leash free areas … long leashes are a good alternative for active dogs … and that at the request of many bunnies feeding on the clover in the early mornings!! “Poop and scoop” bylaws are in affect … and positively respectful of those who follow. As evidenced by the materials in the garbage barrels, many are being respectful … so only a few need to heed this comment!!
We are very much looking forward to the “Weather Permitting, Town Hall Meeting in the Parks” with Grantham Ward Councillors Bill Phillips and Dawn Dodge. Elsewhere on this website you can see all the pertinent information of this event.
And, Jennifer McQuillan of the RCS has plans for “Walks in The Parks” in September. With knowledgeable leaders from the WCNA, these walks through different Parks, scheduled over four weeks in September, will provide an in-depth appreciation of what nature, and in some cases with helping hands, has given us in these unique and quite different parklands. These walks will be “Weather Permitting ” events.
It was with regret that the WCNA Executive has recently accepted the resignation of Linda Crouch from the Executive group, where she acted as the WCNA Recording Secretary. A founding member, a wealth of knowledge of the historic background and experiences of the WCNA, Linda’s insights, recommendations and suggestions will be missed by the Executive. Linda continues as a Member and we anticipate her continuing input. Extended family demands made this difficult decision a necessity for Linda.
Finally, many thanks to the drivers who stopped well back from thee Mother Duck and her nine siblings, waddling across Linwell Road in the Ina Grafton Gage Village area one recent evening. Yes, they all made it safely into the Creek for their pre-bedtime swim!!
Our July meeting will feature a “Town Hall” type meeting with our Grantham Ward City Councillors, Dawn Dodge and Bill Phillips, who will be sharing information about the park rehabilitation project, recent city news, and other issues of interest to our neighbourhood.
Some “Daisy Ducks” along with their 2011 “Huey, Luey and Dewey’ offsprings, paddling and waddling about in the Creek. With low water levels, these wee ducklings are learning to swim just short distances in pools before waddling over sand bars or rocks to get into the next water filled pool. If we could understand Duck Talk, I am sure that Mother Daisy is saying things we are better off not hearing!! “We are not pleased” would seem most appropriate!!
I do know she was somewhat distressed as she directed her brood around some discarded plastic water bottles, pop cans and potato chip bags … please take your litter home for disposal and not use the Creek as a garbage can! Or use one of the many City refuse barrels that are now being emptied on a more regular schedule.
Also seen in a deeper and larger pool, a bright coloured, goodly sized Goldfish, swimming merrily along, finding shade and safety under roots and in weed patches. Not the best way to dispose of a former family pet, though this fish did appear to be enjoying him/herself.
And … thanks to the City crews, some Park benches in Walker’s Creek South now sport brand new wooden seats and backs … pressure treated for endurance, new and straight for looks and unmarked by weather or graffiti for hopefully a long time!