Pondering the months ahead has been an activity underway since the WCNA AGM in January. As I review what the Directors have planned for the first half of the year, I am impressed, even excited, about what will be happening in and around the Walker’s Creek Parks and Neighbourhood Association.
Wednesday March 21st at 7:00 PM, the WCNA will host a Community meeting at the Grantham Lion’s Club on Niagara Street. The topic deals with computers and today’s social media devices as Members seek ways to enhance their skills, resolve operating concerns they are sure have a simple solution, consider the best use of the various tools now available … cell phones, book readers, use of Face book, creating Blogs … and this time, building on our previous successful evening dealing with the electronic world, we will also be helping people increasing their use of “Kijijii” as the personal buying-selling site. Mike Fancy, a Director of the WCNA and our on-board computer and media guru, will lead this session.
Tuesday April 10th, Brock University’s “Conversation Cafe’ program will provide an opportunity for people to come together and consider “Does your neighbourhood matter to you?” What is it that makes for a satisfying neighbourhood … what do we hope our neighbours and you family can find as common interests … what can one do to encourage a friendly, interesting, caring neighbourhood and community? Share your thoughts, maybe your dreams, identify what you would like to see happening and what may be missing. A fine time to meet and ponder with others in the WCNA areas and beyond.
Wednesday May 9th … “Planning the gardens for the coming seasons” is a pertinent topic as the spring settles in , nurseries open and winter garden-less days get replaced with outdoor happy ‘down and dirty’ times. Expert advice, shared successes and solutions … and maybe some sharing?
And watch for details on the Official opening of the Cindy Drive Playground on May 12th … a fun time for all being planned.
Also watch for notices about…
March 5th will see the City 2012 Budget made public. The WCNA has hopes that the WCNA request to have the pathway from Grantham St. to Niagara St. will receive funding for paving through the Arboretuem and making movement easier for the mobility challenged folks and Laura Secord students getting to and from destinations. Yes, and easier and more direct access to the new Pool and Library complex that nears completon. Lots of inside work underway!!
March 28th, the City Accessibility Committe and the WCNA will meet to plan for a survey of the Parks’ pathways as the first setp to receiving a report and recommendations that will set priorities and hopefully develop into improved pathways reliably and constantly usable by mobiloity challenged persons and all.
Earth Day is April 21 and the Parks Department is planning for that day, as is Malcolmson Park … Plant a tree at home? … Interesting idea!!
Saturday April 28, 2012 has been declared “Pitch In Week” clean-up day by the St. Catharines Clean City Committee. They have a morning event planned adjacent to the Market Square with displays and information from various organizations … Graffiti Group, Mainstream, Regional Waste Disposal staff, Crimestoppers, collection and disposal of all kinds of electronics, batteries, etc. will be available. The sites that will be targeted for special attention this year by the Clean City Committee volunteer groups will be announced and people are invited to join in this spring cleaning of the winter detritus. Always a fun and educational time for Kids and Parents and a way for High School students to earn their “Community Volunteer’ hours!!
Dates for the Malcolmson Park and WCNA “Plant sales” will soon be announced… an opportuity to add quality native plants to your gardens and yards … at very reasonable prices while also directly supporting these Neighbourhood Associations
And please …
Use the comment opportunity on this website to tell us what you see in the Parks that needs attention.. The winter … what there has been of it … has dropped some trees by and into the Creek and knowing where they are, as reported by you, can help the WCNA direct the City crews’ action.
And would you mind if some WCNA person asks to photograph your dog when in the Parks? We’d like to ‘honour’ the regular users of the great space we also share with bunnies, soon with ducks and maybe the odd Snapping Turtle!! And keep an eye on the lower Creek as the spawning fish will soon be appearing and we like to be able to announce their arrival!! Plus, did the odd Goldfish that was seen swimming in the Creek last year, make it though the winter??
On to the New Year … with the Annual General Meeting successfully behind us. With Mayor McMullan, Grantham Ward Councillors Bill Phillips and Dawn Dodge, ‘regrets’ from St. George’s Ward Councillor Greg Washuta, a goodly group of interested Members and Friends gathered to hear the Mayor speak of the future, the growth of our City, plans known and visions explained. An informal and positive Question and Answer period allowed Members and Friends to gain the more specific information they sought. As the Mayor had grown up in the Walker’s Creek area and had served as a Grantham Ward Councillor in the past, his familiarity with the area and the efforts of the WCNA were well recognized.
Councillor Bill Phillips, who has been a Council lead on the development of the new pool and library was able to report that by summer, those facilities will be open and in full use. The better planned Library, with additions to its offerings and complete access to all sections by mobility challenged persons, will also provide a comfy area where relaxed reading and enjoyment will be possible… “Possibly a pleasant waiting area for parents with children in swim classes, ” he suggested. The tiling of the pools and the demanding work on the mechanicals are now well underway, with much more activity inside the complex than seen on the exterior.
Councillor Dawn Dodge asked the WCNA, in cooperation with Malcomson Park leaders, to work with Regional Councillor Bruce Timms to seek connecting pathways , and a possible small parkette, joining the Waterfront Trail to the natural settings of the Parks. The potential parkette would provide a pleasant setting, allowing folks to more comfortably watch the Welland canal’s entrance from Lake Ontario and transform an annoying area of illegal littering into a positive place for the many folks who enjoy that scene and canal activity. The WCNA will be actively involved in this potential improvement.
Co-chair Greg Eckhart of Malcolmson Park expressed pleasure in the increased cooperation between the WCNA and Malcolmson. He suggested the possibility of some grants that the WCNA will actively explore. As the WCNA and Malcolmson Park now involve representatives on the leadership groups of each facility, cooperative planning, sharing, volunteering and purchasing have positively increased.
An Annual Report on WCNA activities in the year 2011 was delivered by Chairperson Ben Hannan, outlining the successes, the continuing concerns and explaining the efforts of the WCNA in many areas that are less visible than seen in park care, respect and interest. The addition of the new children’s playground and Darby Family Cemetery commemorative plaque in Cindy Drive Park were very welcome additions in 2011. Increased nvolvement of school children in the Parks in 2012 is under active pursuit. With the entire group of Directors re-elected, with the addition of Past Chairperson Mike Sullivan, the Directors are preparing enhanced activities of greater variety in the year ahead. A financial report showed that the WCNA is comfortably in the ‘black’ as it enters the New Year, thanks to the continued support of the Members, paying the annual $10 fee and many generous donations.
Priorities in the coming year include continued enhancement of the tree canopy with native specie trees being the chosen route. Improving accessibility via the pathways for mobility challenged individuals is past the initial ‘consideration’ stage and with the coming survey and evaluation of the pathways by the City’s Accessibility Committee, we await more expert reommendations and priority setting. A submission to the City’s 2012 Ad Hoc Budget Committee has been made and we await the final budget in March to see if we have been successful in adding funds for corrective work as part of the improvement of trails and pathways. Programs and events pursuing activities that will encourage park use and positive neighbourhood development are constant Directors’ agenda items. The WCNA seeks and receives positive responses from many groups whose interest sand activities parallel some of the WCNA’s priorities. Increased cooperation and involvement with the City’s Green Committee, Clean City Committee, Heritage Committee, Accessibility Committee, the St. Catharines Horticultural Society, the Recreation and Community Services Department (RCS) and Malcolmson Park adds depth and support to the WCNA plans and priorities, while overcoming a sense of isolation that has been a limiting factor in the past. Added involvement with Brock University’s department of Community Learning broadens the scope and access to expertise that holds much potential benefit for the WCNA and its future endeavours.
The year 2011 was a platform from which the enhanced year of 2012 will be launched. Many thanks to the individuals who made significant contributions, in volunteer work, in shared ideas, in making the Directors aware of concerns and for the very ready help of the City staff in both the RCS and TES departments. The constant support and encouragement of the Grantham and St. George’s Ward City Councillors is of significant value and deeply appreciated. And a ‘tip of the sweat stained hat’ is more than due to the small group of Directors who care openly, give time willingly and add skills, without which the WCNA might be a puff ball in the wind!!