My Main Point
Miss Vicky's got a lot on her mind - so much she just needs to share it. You'll find assorted political observations, personal reflections and the occasional tidbit of gossip here. These are offhand remarks, after all!
Now that the weather FINALLY seems to be getting nicer, the residents of the Finishing School are looking to spend as much time outside as possible.
This Saturday offers a number of opportunities to get out and about in the 'hood.
The Annual HCA-WWBIA Spring Clean-up the Capital takes place in the morning (registration is between 8:30 and 9:30am at the Hintonburg Community Centre). Once you register, you'll head out to one of the neighbourhood parks to rake, de-litter and generally make the space safe and tidy for the season. Garbage bags and leaf bags are provided; it's always a good idea to bring your own gloves, rakes and anything else you think might be useful (one family brought tongs for cigarette butt pickup one year - brilliant). Cyclelogik Coffee will be provided and volunteers will be provided a BBQ lunch, courtesy of our pals at the Hintonburger.
And once you're done the cleanup you can wander to the Hintonburg Fabric Flea Market at the Hintonburg Community Centre (10am to 2pm) or the Grace Manor Spring Craft and Bake Sale (10am to 3pm, corner of Parkdale and Wellington)
In the afternoon, SLOWest is hosting their Spring Gathering in McCormick Park (the one by the RBC). The party will launch RightBike's second season, and there will be kids activities, bike repair demos, and games.
Whew! I'm pooped and sunburned already!
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The city is reviewing its key policies on land use, transportation and infrastructure - the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, Cycling Plan and the Pedestrian Plan. Their goal, they say, is to make "Ottawa a more vibrant, healthy and sustainable city".
It's a big process, with not a lot of opportunities for public input. There was an info session in January and a consultation a couple of weeks ago (which, sadly, Miss Vicky was unable to attend). But there is some good info online and there's a
You might recall the debate about Tega's proposal to build 36 stories beside the Carleton Tavern, on Parkdale. Well, they don't want 36 stories anymore. They want 18.
Miss Vicky's inbox today contained an invite from Councillor Hobbs to an open house on the proposed development on Thursday, February 28th, from 7-9 PM at Orange Gallery, 233 Armstrong Street.
All of the details about their proposal are available here.
The HCA is looking for folks to attend and share their views on this development. Zoning on the site calls for a maximum of 8 stories, and this limit was developed as part of the recently-approved Community Design Plan. If the CDP is going to have any meaning whatsoever, the proposal needs to be rejected. But if that's going to happen, we need to make our voices heard.
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So, you may not have heard that the Webgeek's bro (known here as Chefgeek) will be running the kitchen at the revamped Elmdale Oyster House and Tavern. We're pretty excited about it - we loved his food when he was the chef at Jak's Kitchen and we know he'll do a great job at the Elmdale.
Apparently construction has been going well and they are on track to open in March. Chefgeek (or Phil, rather)is going to need some help, though. So they are having a one-day job fair, in the space upstairs, between 1 and 4 on Tuesday February 19. If you know anyone who's looking for restaurant work in the 'hood, send them by!
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So by now you all know that Somerset West Community Health Centre bought the building at 30 Rosemount and will be turning it into a medical centre and community space - the long-awaited Hintonburg Hub. The team has been working hard on the plans and there are preliminary designs to share. The main floor of the building will be renovated for the clinical space. The upper floor will provide several multi-purpose rooms for health programming and community services.
We will be holding a public meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, January 8) from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Hintonburg Community Centre, to share the designs and to hear comments and ideas from people in the area.
Although the Hub will be located in Hintonburg, the Centre actually serves people in Civic Hospital, Champlain Park, Wellington Village and Mechanicsville, so anyone living in the catchment is welcome to come and give their feedback.
See you tomorrow!
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Ok, people. We all love our community, and our fabulous mainstreet is one of the reasons we love it so much. We walk to shop, and there are some wonderful, local small businesses that make our 'hood a happening, welcoming place.
But here's the thing. There's a big difference between loving our small businesses and supporting our small businesses. If we don't actually spend money, they can't afford the rent and the staff and the inventory, not to mention their own mortgages and food and daycare fees and children's activities and stuff. At some point, if they're not making enough to make it worthwhile, they have to make some tough decisions.
Kind of like the decision the owners of Collected Works are facing. They've put the store up for sale - for $1. Good deal, yes, but the new owner would also assume all of the store's liabilities, according to this article. I can imagine it has been an agonizing decision for them - they expanded the space recently to accommodate special events, but the sales just haven't made up the difference.
Bookstores are a tough business. We've seen other independents facing the same challenges - partially because people are hitting the big chains for books, partially because online purchasing is just so damned easy. But you know what else is easy? Walking down the street to buy a book. And soon we won't be able to do that.
My friend Lisa owns Octopus Books. She offered these reflections on my Facebook wall, responding to my call for folks to do their holiday shopping at Collected Works:
I am not sure if you will keep the store open, but you could at least reduce the amount the debt that the owners will be shouldering. (For long after the store closes) Along with 4 others, I bought Octopus for $1 and assumed the debt. You need deep pockets, or a penchant for poverty.... (guess which one I have). But really, if you and everyone you know makes an effort to shop at a local bookstore once a month, you could make a huge difference. One of the key points is that they expanded - to make space for lots of community events, and their sales remained flat. Unlike community centres which provide space for community and receive public funding, bookstores get no $. People love going to their bookstores to hear authors, let their kids look at books, browse and chat with friends. Bookstores love it when people do that, BUT if nobody ever buys a book, it is just not sustainable. All bookstores are telling the same story. Solution? Shop at your local independent bookstore. Not at Chapters, Not at Wal-mart, Not at Costco, Not at shoppers drug mart, not at Winners and not on line.
I wish I had pockets deep enough to work with others to save the store. Maybe some of you do. But at the very least, I can take the rest of my meagre Christmas budget and buy some books from my friends at Collected Works. I hope you will, too.
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