Happy Holidays from the MHBPNA Blog

For 2010 the MHBPNA Blog has posted 57 entries (this is #58). Some of these have been short announcements and others have been longer posts on events in our neighbourhood. In 2009 there were 50 posts. In addition to the articles there is a calendar to the right which announces events like NMA meetings, Breithaupt movie night etc.

Readership numbers vary, for example during the recent election we sent questions to the candidates and they responded and that stirred a fair amount of activity on the site. Over the past few months we have averaged around 200 readers per month and we thank all of you for stopping by.

There is also a MHBPNA Facebook membership. This was created largely to be able to post links to the Kitchener Facebook page when we have added a particularly interesting article. If you are on Facebook you should "friend" the city of Kitchener and you will receive many interesting announcements of local events.

The BLOG versus the WEBSITE

The Blog's purposed is to report events as they happen and announce what is going in in our area. MHBPNA also has a Website hosted by Google Sites here, and it is a collection of documents from various committees, meeting minutes and documents that describe the history of our organization. The website will be updated next week to include information about the Annual General Meeting this fall.There is also an archive of old newsletters on the website.

The BLOG is YOU:

Please send us photos of neighbourhood events, or sending an email to mhbpna@gmail.com if you have an event you would like advertised.  Consider writing an article about something, or someone, in our neighbourhood. So if you, or someone you know, has something to say about our area, then let us know!

Skating is good for you: If you would like to know about the "Free" skates and public skating in general, the City of Kitchener has a page devoted to that and it is here.

Have a great holiday season and a wonderful 2011!


"Inside" the Breithaupt Block

As faithful followers of this Blog will have read here, on November 13th and 14th 2010, the Breithaupt Block hosted an art show. Sonya Lewis from the KPL gave an excellent talk on the history of the building, and Craig Beatty, from Perimeter Development Corporation, gave us a tour of the building.

You fortunate readers get to see some of the photos I took with my trusty iPhone. This is a great chance to see "inside" some buildings you might drive or walk past several times in a month.

Here, Craig is discussing the overall project timeframe, from when they initially purchased the building to when they expect residents to move in. Remember, click on any of the images to see a larger version.

This was the perfect time for a tour because the large equipment, that filled many of the rooms, has been removed, but the refurbishing has not yet started and nothing is currently rented. I attended the Tannery's open house a few weeks ago, and one of the developers took us on a short tour, but because many of the spaces were rented, we could no longer walk through those areas. But with the Breithaupt Block tour, Craig took us from one end of the buildings to the other and up to the third or fourth floor (I cannot remember how many steps we climbed).

Here is an example of what much of the inside looks like. Craig said one of the great features of these structures is all the high ceilings that you just don't get with today's buildings. The first phase of the renovations will focus on one of the buildings in the middle. They want to get a number of smaller clients into the space initially and then create more custom spaces for larger clients as the building's "vibe" grows:

This is the inside of the building which is next to King street so you can probably recognize the orange coloured window panes. Most of the buildings will be renovated into smaller offices, but the owners would like this building to house a major tenant who will use the entire space.  Initial occupancy of the first office space is more than a year away.

Hey look, some more high ceilings and beams. It is interesting to think of how the buildings will be transformed from a large, empty, industrial site with broken windows, to a set of functional office buildings with a mix of tenants. This is a great development for the area and will get synergy from the Tannery, Pharmacy and medical centre.

Imagine if you will, a high tech company, or group of accountants, or several enterprising business people engaged in ________ sitting in this space and looking out the very large windows. They might even be surrounded by several 4-D screens displaying the future of the universe!

Craig Beatty explained how some of the walls have had large areas cut out where the former owners moved in huge machines. The developers can take advantage of these "cutaway" walls by replacing them with floor to ceiling glass to give that space a different look and feel.

And if you have gotten a little dirty at the end of the day, perhaps a quick shower will freshen you up before heading home on your Segway!

When Perimeter bought the property they thought it was in a great location and that the buildings looked very good. But they weren't sure what each one was really like because there was so much equipment that filled the rooms. When the equipment was removed they got some great surprises like this room with the beautiful wooden joists and beams.

After our 40 minute walk though the several buildings making up the "Breithaupt Block" it was nice to get back to the hum of civilization and the art show.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into the interior of this development. We will be watching it transform over the next months and years.

Ted P.


King Street design wins International Community Places Award

This is a press release from Kitchener City Hall. The MHBPNA Blog really likes how downtown Kitchener has been re-developed. It's pretty cool.

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener and the IBI Group were recently awarded a prestigious Community Places Award at the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

The award recognized King Street’s sustainable streetscape, as well as the innovative design for flexible, summer/winter sidewalks, which have succeeded in drawing more people downtown.

Other features of the new streetscape include:
Wider sidewalks;
Flexible parking options with Euro-style removable bollards which improve the core’s capacity to host more special events;
Improved lighting;
Myriad of environmental features, including more than 120 new street trees, sustainable planters that filter storm water before it enters the sewers;
Additional bike rack and bus stops.

“We are delighted that our newly redesigned King Street has been selected for the 2010 Community Places Award,” said Cory Bluhm, Kitchener’s manager of downtown community development. “The city is not just building a street; it’s building a vibrant people place.”

To be eligible for the award, projects were required to meet the following criteria:

Well designed
Provide a beautiful addition to the fabric of the city
Carefully planned and constructed
Contribute to the character of the place
Improve the overall quality of the urban environment
In addition, this year’s submissions also had to show a strong contribution to bringing people - youth in particular - back downtown.

So far this year, events held downtown have enjoyed record attendance. In fact, since 2003, the number of pedestrians on King Street alone has doubled during a typical day.

“This project has also re-energized existing businesses; many of them are looking at ways they can contribute to the new look and feel of the downtown,” Bluhm said.

The International Making Cities Livable Conference hosts hundreds of the world’s leading planners, architects, urban thinkers and community builders from North America and Europe. Previous winners of this award include: Jamieson Square in Portland, Oregon; Lakeside Master Plan in Chicago, Illinois; and hTo Park in Toronto. For more information about this award, please visit: www.livablecities.org and search 2010 design awards.


Kitchener Community Trails Master Plan (Press Release)

City of Kitchener seeks public input into development of community trails master plan

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener is looking for public input into the development of a community trails master plan, which will literally map out future local trail systems and provide a renewed vision for linked open spaces across the city.

A public survey has been launched on the city’s website - www.kitchener.ca - asking residents to share their experiences in using the current local trail system, as well as what improvements they would like to see.

There are approximately 125 kilometres of community trail throughout Kitchener. This includes the Walter Bean Grand River Trail, the Iron Horse Trail, the Trans Canada Trail and numerous trails along hydro corridors, along greenways and watercourses and through parks and natural areas.

The master plan will examine the current requirements for pedestrian and cycling routes and facilities outside of road rights-of-way. The plan will also include:

  • A detailed inventory and mapping of the existing community trail system.
  • Recommended locations for new trails that form the “missing links” in an overall connected network.
  • Design guidelines and standard construction details for different types of trails in different types of locations throughout the city.
  • Strategies and policies to ensure that trails are implemented when new neighbourhoods are being developed, and when existing sites are being redeveloped.
  • Suggested scheduling for the implementation for all recommendations.

“Trails provide tremendous benefits to a community, not the least of which is the opportunity to pursue physical activity and healthy, active living, while helping to preserve and protect the environment,” said William Sleeth, a landscape architect with the city. “As our city continues to grow, the public demand for a high quality, connected trail network continues to increase as well. We want residents to envision what that system should look like - and then share that vision with us.”


Breithaupt Block Art Show and Tour, November 2010

On November 13 and 14 the Breithaupt Block hosted an art show and tour. The Box Art Show has become an annual event which showcases local artists in an industrial setting.

I attended on Saturday and was pleased to see  about 50 people there for the show and a history talk by Sonia Lewis from the KPL.

The industrial setting provides a dramatic backdrop for the work of many diverse artists and it gave the public a first peek into these buildings which are being cleaned up and converted into office space. Click on any of the images for a larger picture.

On Saturday Sonia Lewis, CEO of the KPL, gave a talk on the history of the buildings. The original building was constructed as a piano factory and that gave way to a leather company. The buildings grew and prospered for 61 years as the home of several rubber factories (Canadian Consolidated Rubber, Goodrich and eventually Uniroyal). Much of the history was shown through company photos and newsletters that have been been preserved  in the KPL's Grace Schmidt room.

Through Ms. Lewis's insightful talk we learned that Kitchener was known as the "rubber capital of Canada" and that the "Nauga is ugly but his vinyl hide is beautiful"! Towards the end of rubber's tenure in Kitchener Dominion Rubber changed its name to Uniroyal because they were diversifying their manufacturing and wanted the name to move away from the single product association.

Schmidt ended with a fairly short history of Collins and Aikmen. By 1981 Uniroyal was making only automotive acoustic equipment in the building and it was eventually sold to Collins and Aikmen in 1996. By 2005 C&A had filed for bankruptcy.

The MHBPNA Blog congratulates Sonia Lewis on presenting an insightful and informative talk with many great photos from the glory days of rubber and manufacturing. The KPL does have some photographs online but many of the ones in the presentation are still under copyright so you would have to go to the Grace Schmidt room in the library to view them.

After this talk we were treated to a tour of the buildings, but those photos will have to wait for another blog entry........

Ted Parkinson


Duke Street Playground is open for business

The MHBPNA Blog would like to share some images of the new structure at the Duke Street playground.

There is a sign on the structure stating the intended age for users is 5 - 12. In fact, there is a warning about ensuring these guidelines are followed. This is probably because the slides are metal and there is a danger younger kids could hurt themselves if not closely supervised.

Here is a photo of "age appropriate" children playing on the structure:

Personally, the MBBPNA Blog feels that children slightly older than 12 could still have a lot of fun here. There are plenty of opportunities for climbing and hanging and using different parts of the equipment beyond their intended purpose!

It is a little late in the year for a whole lot of use, but we'll put a link to this story in the spring to remind our faithful readers about this magical place.

At the front of the park there is still a "pit" where the old swings are being relocated. We'll see if this happens before the snow falls.


Breithaupt Centre Pool Closure

Breithaupt 25-yard pool closed for renovations
KITCHENER – Renovations to the Breithaupt Centre 25 yard pool began this week and the pool is now closed until February 2011.

The Breithaupt pool renovation includes filter system upgrades, complete re-piping, and pool tank upgrades to the 25 yard pool. The main floor will be re-modelled to include a family changeroom, upgraded accessible washrooms and renovated men’s and women’s changerooms.

The 25-yard pool and adjacent changerooms will be closed during the renovations. The exercise pool and all other areas of the facility will remain open and operational during these renovations.

Program schedules and renovation updates will be available online at www.kitchener.ca or by contacting Breithaupt Centre at 519-741-2502. 


MHBPNA Annual General Meeting, Monday November 15th, 7 pm

It is time again for the Annual General Meeting of the Mount Hope - Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association. This will occur on Monday, November 15th at the Breithaupt Centre at 7 pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend and you do not have to volunteer for anything! There are certainly board positions that are available but please come and see what is going on in our area.

We will have, as a special guest, our Councillor Elect Dan Glenn-Graham.

Please attend and support our activities.


Box Art Show and tour at the Breithaupt Block, Nov 13, 14

From 1 - 4 pm this Saturday and Sunday, the Breithaupt Block (51 Breithaupt Street, Dock 4) will host an art show and sale called "Box 10."

At noon hour on Saturday there will be a history talk and factory tour, and at noon on Sunday there will be an art critique session.

Box 09 took place at the Boehmer Box factory.

For a full list of events this weekend, click here.


Flash from the past

Our family was looking at this sign the other day and we go the idea to post it to the Blog and see if anyone has some stories from that time.

Our son attends KCI and we think it is a great school. It's full of teachers who care and a very "diverse" student population. We are proud to have it in our neighbourhood, but only a few years ago it was almost lost. Can you believe it?

If you have any stories from that time please post a comment. Did you attend meetings? Help organize? Display the sign? What did you and your neighbours talk about? What memories are triggered by this picture? Click on it to enlarge!


We march forward into a bright future

Saturday's Record revealed the "official" election results and, as we've known for a few days, Ward 10 was won by Daniel Glenn-Graham. The MHBPNA would like to thank all candidates for running. All four candidates offered their vision of our great neighbourhood and all put time into lawn signs, web sites, promotional material, meetings and going door to door to meet all of us.

We would also like to thank the candidates for responding to the MHBPNA Blog's questions and thanks to those of you who contacted us and came up with those queries.

So now another term begins and Kitchener will address issues of LRT, Weber Street widening, parks and bike plan, infrastructure decisions, flashing lights at intersections and the many other topics that evolve in a busy city. This BLOG will continue to update everyone as events occur. Please email us if you have story ideas, or questions we can help with.


Mystery and Progress in Duke Street Playground

Neighbours, parents, casual wanderers, gossiping teenagers needing a place to congregate all gasped in astonishment as they wandered through the Duke Street Playground this week. In utter disbelief they said things like "where did it go?" "what is happening here?" "How can this be?"

I have included this picture so everyone can view the "mystery of the disappearing swings". The slide and the cool funnel for throwing balls into are also gone! Oh, the memories.....

The city was contacted about these disturbing events and apparently they are all part of a master plan towards progress and revitalization. The swings are gone for now but will soon reappear at the front of the park where the slide used to be. And at the back of the park, they will be installing a larger play structure of some sort. The work is scheduled to be completed in the next week or two (or prior to Halloween). So come to the park in a couple of weeks and see what has happened. Feel free to do some swinging or climbing.

BTW, if your child lost their jacket, it's hanging from some equipment (see photo).

Now we are just wondering how many more years it will be before they finish paving our street.


Final Questions for our Candidates in Ward 10

The MHBPNA Blog appreciates all the questions submitted by our readers. It is close to election day so hard choices had to be made and we now present the last two questions. Apologies to those whose submissions were not chosen but there is still time to query the candidates directly if you wish.

Here are the two questions for this final round:

Question #1: Kitchener just completed a revision to the Parks Master Plan. What is your position on the various recommendations contained in the new Master Plan pertaining to open space, natural lands, parks and trails?

Question #2: Imagine you are elected to council and serve for four years. What is the ONE major goal or initiative you hope to accomplish in that period?

And here are the responses. Thank you to all our candidates.

Gary Ferguson

Question #1: Kitchener Parks Master Plan.

I support the principles and goals for the Parks Master Plan as listed below particularly Conserving and restoring city natural areas, Strengthening and expanding the community trails network., Enhancing active parkland and fostering growth in outdoor sports and Building and renewing our neighbourhood parks. I did find the section on Engaging and activating the community some somewhat short on specifics.

Question #2: The ONE major goal?

I have many goals to accomplish over the next four years, not just one. If I must choose one it would be a that of a responsive caring representative who would ensure that all decisions are cost effective to the ratepayer.

Denis Pellerin

Question #1: Kitchener Parks Master Plan.

I support the recommendations and added investment into our City’s parks, natural areas and trails. It is clear that residents want to see that investment happen and see improvements be made to our community’s parkland and green spaces. I think the new Parks Strategic Plan moves us in the right direction; more trails and cycle paths, more parks, linking up of existing green spaces and better conservation. It reflects an overall public attitude that I share towards a healthier environment and enhanced quality of life.
The Parks Strategic Plan will be more accessible to future amendments and changes. This is key when thinking about the forecasted population growth of our city and region. The Plan will likely evolve further as that growth takes place and new strategies are considered and implemented. If elected to council, I will ensure the Plan is being reviewed responsibly and that the tax dollars allocated for it are spent effectively and efficiently.

Question #2: The ONE major goal?

There are so many important issues facing our community that need to be considered. However if elected; one major goal would be to continue laying a proper foundation for the projected future growth of our City and region. In the next 25 years, our region is expected to welcome in 200,000 more residents bringing the population to 750,000. Kitchener will see much of this rapid growth. It is essential that this growth is considered, managed and planned for properly. Infrastructure and services will need to be updated and expanded; property development and intensification will increase; community programs will need more funding. These are just a few examples of many factors that will need to be addressed because of the rapid growth. If elected, I will work towards smart, sustainable and cost-effective approaches to ensure our community adapts positively to this growth.

Terry Marr

Question #1: Kitchener Parks Master Plan.

I commend the city on this initiative as I feel that the city needs more parks, green space and natural areas and needs to upgrade many existing parks, however I think the plan falls short in some areas. I believe some of the timelines are too long. One example is the concept of a riverside park (which I believe would be wonderful) but the plan calls for a "vision and concept and implementation program" in 2013. I know a huge project such as this can not be rushed but my feeling is that at that rate a park won't be in place for many, many years from now.

I also feel that unfortunately there are too many projects where the associated costs are vague or non-existant. My concern is that it makes it very difficult to plan and budget when there isn't any dollar figure suggested (even using today's costs would be helpful.)
I am sad to see that protecting Hidden Valley was not a priority.
I am glad to see that the city has included performance measurement in the plan so that the work can be properly evaluated

Question #2: The ONE major goal?

It's VERY difficult to narrow my goals down to one but since I have to choose... If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I would be very pleased if at the end of my four-year term I had met with everyone in the ward who wanted to meet with me during my proposed kitchen round tables and from those get-togethers residents' ideas or suggestions had been implemented, their complaints had been addressed and at the same time neighbours who did not know each other before had the opportunity to meet each other.

Daniel Glenn-Graham

Question #1: Kitchener Parks Master Plan.

I feel strongly about preserving our existing greenspace and parklands, and the opportunity to improve them with community gardens and playground equipment like climbing walls etc. I have been involved with building and learning about community gardens for two years now, and am impressed with the way it can beautify neighbourhoods and bring people together with only a little money.  It can also help the economically disadvantaged to grow some of their own healthy food as well as teach children about the connection we have to land and food.

I would like to continue a long term investment in the improvement and connection of bike and walking trails, and would be voting to preserve our hard line on development to protect our ecosystem and ensure that growth is done within current city limits.  As a member of the city's growth management committee, I learned a great deal about the importance of preserving our outlying greenspaces and brownfield development of older buildings in the city.

Question #2: The ONE major goal?

Civic engagement that would take the form of inviting suggestions and complaints from the public via a suggestion box, both in email and physical forms in libraries, community centres and the City Hall, plus regular meetings with citizens at the Kitchener Market on Saturdays, plus inviting groups and neighbourhoods to do events and programming on a closed off section of King Street on Friday evening and Saturdays.  It is amazing what volunteers can do with a small amount of support and money to enliven the downtown, which would be good for businesses also.


Several All Candidate Meetings Posted

Check out the Blog's Calendar to view several Candidate meetings for Ward 9, Ward 10 and Regional Council.

For a greater visual treat you can look at this poster prepared by the folks at the Working Centre. Click on the image for a larger view.


Questions of the week for Ward 10 Candidates

Here are responses from our four candidates to the Blog's two questions of the week. We would like to thank all candidates for responding to these questions and we hope to post a couple more before the election. The answers are posted in the order received by the Blog.

First the questions, then the answers:

#1: It has been reported that Kitchener's population is expected to grow by 100,000 in the next 20 years. What is your position on increased residential density in Ward 10 and how larger, multi-story, buildings will affect our neighbourhood? How would you address this issue if elected?

#2: What ONE word would you use to describe Kitchener's relationship with Waterloo?
Daniel Glenn-Graham:
#1 Population Growth
Thanks for the very relevant question that goes to the very fabric of our neighbourhoods.
We need increased density in the core of our city to make it vibrant to live in and for our businesses to thrive, but we should not have buildings in areas surrounding the downtown that are 20 storeys, but more modest 4-8 storeys, stepped back from the street where they are in a neighbourhood around homes.
I support the idea of a mix of housing types, from brownstones to townhomes to low rises.
I am the only candidate running that was part of the city's Growth Management Committee and the concept of complete communities was very powerful to me, being able to reduce reliance on cars by having stores and services and entertainment within walking distance.
I would want to involve neighbourhoods in the decision making process before there is a development, so that people have a say in the density that will be around them and the type of housing.

# 2 Relationship with Waterloo: "friendly"
Gary Ferguson
#1 Population Growth:
I agree with intensification and increased density however the homeowner should come first. While multi storey buildings makes sense it should have an adverse impact on existing residential neighbourhoods.

# 2 Relationship with Waterloo: Cooperative.

Terry Marr:
#1 Population Growth:
Ontario’s Places to Grow policy and the Region’s new Official Plan means that Kitchener must meet specific intensification targets for new development. I agree with the plans as we can not continue to destroy farmland. However, I think the plans will greatly effect Ward 10 and that the development coming to 30-40 Margaret Avenue is an example of what we will see more of in the future. 
I feel very strongly that any new development should fit into the character of the existing neighbourhood and that intensification must be wisely planned and managed so it has a positive impact on the existing neighbourhood, not a negative impact.
I believe it is essential that the plans for any new intensification projects be presented to the surrounding neighbourhood at the beginning of the project so if there are concerns they can be addressed then. I believe if developers, city staff and neighbourhoods work together from the beginning it is more likely that concerns can be addressed co-operatively.

#2: Relationship with Waterloo:  Cordial
Denis Pelerin
#1: Population Growth: 

I believe that the projected growth is more in line with an additional 200,000 to 250,000 people which some developers have told me that this may in fact be a conservative number. Densification which is a directive from the various levels of government is seen as being focused mainly in the corridor areas of the cities of the Region. We have many prime locations in the Kitchener core available for development that will handle this growth. One example is the redevelopment of the properties at King and Louisa. Here the COA have approved minor variance changes to permit a multi storey build with underground parking. This is where I see the development of tall buildings happen. I see very little impact to our area as it will be build-centric to main arterial areas and not in the residential areas. Being assured that we permit development of this type in areas that will have minimal impact on our residential areas is my goal. The option of not welcoming growth and development is regressive in nature.

#2: Relationship with Waterloo:  Effervescent


Ward 10 Candidate Web Sites

We have four candidates and three of them have web sites. You can google the names yourself of course, but for the convenience of our readers, we will list them here:

Dan Glenn-Graham is http://dan4ward10.com/

Terry Marr is : http://terrymarr.ca/

Denis Pellerin is: http://www.denispellerin.ca/

Gary Ferguson is: http://garyferguson.blogspot.com/

Please visit all their sites to read what they have to say. All candidates have put time and resources into running. Please vote because it is embarrassing when Russia has a higher turnout than many elections in Canada and the United States.  Let's rock it out on October 25th (or before if you go to the advanced polls)!


Ward 9 All Candidates meeting, October 5th, 7-9 pm

Ward 9 is very close to us here at MHBP so we are posting this information to the Blog in the hope that a few of your are interested.

The Neighbourhood Associations of Ward 9 are hosting an All-Candidate Meeting for those running for the Ward 9 Councillor position on Tuesday, October 5th, 7-9 PM in the Victoria Park Pavilion.

Every candidate who is running in the ward has been invited to attend this very important meeting.

Everyone who wants to meet the candidates running in Ward 9 is invited to this evening.  Each candidate will be allowed one minute to introduce themselves and their platform.  They will then be presented with six prepared questions and sent to them in advance. This will be followed by written questions from the floor with timed responses to allow each candidate a reasonable time to respond.  The evening will conclude with any opportunity for both candidates and the neighbours to mingle.


Our Candidates answer YOUR questions, take #1

We have had a couple of submissions for candidate questions so I'm posting the replies so far here. Please send your questions to mhbpna@gmail.com. 

Our first questions are: #1.  Do you live in Ward 10?  If so, for how long have you lived here? and #2.  How much experience do you have in city of Kitchener politics, especially at the city council level?

The responses are posted in the order they were received for this set. 

Thanks to the candidates who are running and who responded to our questions. It takes a lot of work to put yourself out there to run in an election so kudos to everyone. I hope we can post more questions and answers.

Please note we've put on the Blog calendar the date for when the candidates debate will be replayed on Rogers cable. 

Daniel Glenn-Graham:

#1.  Do you live in Ward 10?  If so, for how long have you lived here?  I have loved living 16 years in Ward 10 in a historically designated home around Centre in the Square.

#2.  How much experience do you have in city of Kitchener politics, especially at the city council level?
I have experience as a delegation to council on a number of occassions, and I have sat on the Growth Management Committee and the Increase Voter Turnout Committee. I have not sat on City Council, but I was on the Exective of Student Council at the University of Toronto and have been Chair of numerous boards.

Terry Marr:

#1.  Do you live in Ward 10?  If so, for how long have you lived here?
Yes I live in Ward 10 at 34 Simeon Street. I have lived at this address for two years but have lived in another area of the ward (Margaret & Queen) for 6 years when I was growing up. When I was a child I spent many, many fun days at Breithaupt Centre!

#2.  How much experience do you have in city of Kitchener politics, especially at the city council level?
I have 24 years of municipal experience as a city employee. I initially began working for the city in a unionized position and was then promoted to management.
During my time at the City of Kitchener I dealt with all levels of staff (including council) and many committees, volunteers, etc.
I feel that my municipal experience allows me to be off and "running" from day one, if elected. I will not need to learn who is who, background on projects, initiatives, etc. I also know how departments (and projects) intertwine.
As management I also had to oversee a budget and go through the budget process each year. One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that a project I was responsible for (conversion of the offset print shop to a digital shop) saved the city $170,000 in the first year and more than $70,000 each subsequent year.
As an employee I felt I was serving the city and helping (in a small way) to make it a "better" place. I would feel the same, if elected as Ward 10 councillor.
I have also worked with the city in a volunteer capacity when I served on  two Kitchener neighbourhood associations (Victoria Park and Pinegrove) and as president of the Highland Park Tennis Club.

Denis Pellerin:

#1.  Do you live in Ward 10?  If so, for how long have you lived here?

Yes I have lived at my current residence, 100 Louisa Street for 24 years.

#2.  How much experience do you have in city of Kitchener politics, especially at the city council level?

My background with Municipal programmes dates back to 2002. I have been on various City Advisory Committees and today I sit on the Downtown Advisory Committee and the Safe and Health Advisory Committee. I have worked with youths on various programs, and one named ASAP ( Available Space Arts Project) where I was one of the founders and treasurer. I have had the privilege of serving on the Oktoberfest Advisory Committee and I was also at the forefront of a new initiative named “Paint the Town Wunderbar. I am one of the foundering members of the NMA (Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance) designed to improve the quality of life in the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park community and to keep it safe. I continue to participate on this project.

My work history is that of business to business. I was the National Sales Manager for GE Carboloy after which I spent sixteen years with a chocolate firm as their National Sales Manager.
Currently I am in the real estate business associated with Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty.

Gary Ferguson

#1.  Do you live in Ward 10?  If so, for how long have you lived here?

Yes 30 year resident of Ward 10. I live and operate a business in the ward.

#2.  How much experience do you have in city of Kitchener politics, especially at the city council level?

I would draw on my exprience as a former Trustee on the Public School Board for nine years. I have dealt with city hall on numerous planning and housing issues.


Culture Days are coming

Are you cultured? Of course you are if you live in vibrant Kitchener, but perhaps you'd like some more. This weekend there are many activities going on, including Word on the Street. My son and I always go to Word on the Street each year in Victoria Park and purchase at least one book (usually more!). Over the years these have changed from a Comic to thick works of fantasy fiction. My wife bought a work of historical fiction set in  Muskoka that was sold and signed by the author. It is great to be able to find a book like that and talk with the author.

But this weekend there is even more going on than that. It is an event called "Culture Days" that is happening all over the country on Saturday and Sunday. For a bird's eye view of what is going on in the region click here. Here is an article in The Record about all the events.

It's fun and you will get cultured. For two days and it's free. What a great deal.


Let the games, er... election, begin!

So let's vote in the coming election. Our very futures are at stake! There are many fascinating issues in our area.

--The city has projected we will add another 98,000 residents over the next 20 or so years. Wow, where will they all live and work?

--Some residents think the LRT would be great and don't mind coming up with the 230 million (or more?) that the Federal Government is not giving us. Others think it is all a waste of money, inefficient, and that we should invest in our bus infrastructure. What do you think?

--How do you like the new downtown Kitchener? The part that is finished looks nice but was it worth the cost? What about the Centre Block condos?

We now have four candidates running in Ward 10 (which is the main Ward for Mt Hope - Breithaupt Park). Click on this sentence to see who is running.

The MHBPNA Blog has a proposal: please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com with a question you would like our candidates to answer. Over the next couple of weeks we will send out the questions to candidates and publish their answers on the Blog! Sound exciting? Please send us an email with your questions and thoughts.


Would you like an event posted?

Would you like to write an article? Would you like something about the neighbourhood publicized? If you live, work or socialize in the Mt Hope - Breithaupt Park neighbourhood, and would like something added to this website's calendar or BLOG, please let us know.

Our gmail address is mhbpna@gmail.com and we try and check it every few days.

Our community is closely connected to the Breithaupt Centre and we try and post important meetings there, and the NMA meets semi-regularly at City Hall.

Please send us an email and let us know when things are happening.


Kitchener City Website Redesigned

The city of Kitchener has redesigned their website to make it much easier to navigate. Watch the big slideshow on the main page, it has some cool 3D effects going on (and no special glasses are required!).

Overall, the MHBPNA Blog is pleased with the design. Some of the menus expand so much that you really need a larger monitor to fit everything on. The links at the bottom are quite helpful (e.g. "I'd like to...." is pretty intuitive). You have to be careful navigating around because if you move your cursor past the wrong area, a menu can jump out without warning!

The list of neighbourhood associations is on a different page and the MHBPNA Blog has updated its link so you can find out about the other fine folks involved in their communities. One small problem is that on the "old" site, where MHBPNA was listed, our name included a link to this Blog. However, on the new site, there is just our name and no link. So the MHBPNA has contacted the city to get that link back!


Democracy in Ward 10

Kitchener City Hall has just informed all its Facebook friends that there are only 2 weeks left in which to apply to run for office this fall. So far, there are just two candidates running in Ward 10, which contains the MHBPNA and more.

To find out who is running, click this link. Remember, our boundaries have change since the last election. We used to be in Ward 1 and we are now Ward 10. To see the differences between then and now, click this link.

If you wish to run, file your papers now. Quit standing around, get your website up and post important information.

The MHBPNA Blog will report faithfully on the election when it actually begins.


Family Movie Night Starts Friday September 17, 2010

Looking for something to do on Friday nights?

Join us every week for Family Movie Night at Breithaupt Centre, Rm 207, Fridays at 7 pm.  Everyone is welcome.

Large screen feature films suitable for family viewing – often showing premier movies not yet available for rental.

Suggested donation: $1 per person or $3 per family
Refreshments available

Please fill out this survey and we’ll send you a list of the upcoming movies!

Click here to take the survey.

Optimists Carnival photos

Once again, the Optimists Carnival has come and gone from Breithaupt Park. They had rides, games, food and a very large balloon.

They even had a really large pumpkin as this photo shows:

You can click on this link and see some more photos of the event. The photos are from Facebook, but these pictures are public, so you don't need an account to view them.


Optimists Carnival, Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This is the 16th annual carnival run by the K-W Breithaupt Optimist's Club. It is in our Blog's calendar so you don't forget and now here is a poster which details all the fun events they have planned. Come out and support the Optimists and the good work they do for our neighbourhood.

Click on the image below to see it "full size":


We should all get the Blues this weekend

As almost everyone knows, this weekend is the time for the Kitchener Blues Festival. I expect this is old news, except a co-worker to whom I mentioned this casually the other day had not heard of it! So it is always good to broadcast this event.

It is free, which is very nice (ok, nothing is "free", we pay taxes, but still....). And it is within walking distance of the Mount Hope Breithaupt Park neighbourhood. It is easy to get to, and if you manage to get a coveted spot inside the beer cage and stay for a while, you can still get home.

The schedule is located here. My personal highlight will be Dr. John playing on Saturday at 7:20 on the Clock Tower Stage. David Wilcox was fabulous a couple of years back, and he's back on Saturday afternoon as well.

There are many fantastic artists and the website is very well organized. If you go to the Performers page you will see there are great links to YouTube videos so you can listen to a specific musician which gives you a great idea if you'd like to see them for real.

Last year it rained most of the weekend, but this year the weather looks great! So the MHBPNA blog wishes everyone an excellent weekend and we hope to see you at the blues festival.


Whose Ward is it anyway?

There is an election coming this fall for city council and the ward boundaries have been re-drawn. Some folks have been asking important questions like "what has changed"? I'm pretty sure that the city only had the new boundaries on their website but I just checked and they now have the old and new ward maps on this page.

In an effort to be of service to all inquiring residents, mhbpna.blogspot.com has done the hard work of combining old and new ward boundaries into one image. You can see exactly how things have changed by clicking on this image below for a larger view. On the left are the OLD boundaries with the current councilors and on the right are the NEW boundaries. Please post any of your observations as a comment. What do you thing this means for democracy?

Breithaupt Block is "in the news"

Readers of this BLOG will be aware that a few weeks back the Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance hosted Craig Beatty from Perimeter Development who talked about their plans for the renovation of what they are calling the "Breithaupt Block".  There was an article in the BLOG about their plans with "before and after" photos.

Recently The Record caught up to us here at mhbpna.blogspot.com and printed their own story. For those who missed it, the online version is here.

The Record reports "The developer added a slick wrap advertising the space on the face of old factory last week and has already seen significant interest." I rode my bike past the buildings only this afternoon and can report the huge orange wrap brings a kind of edgy sophistication to that corner. It does announce the buildings in a big way.

We wish the developers the best because their plans are optimistic and will renovate a really nice space that has been, for the past few years, noticeable mainly for all the broken windows visible to those passing by.


Moving stories

A friend on Facebook recently asked for recommendations for moving companies because he was moving his family from this area to London (Ontario, not England). His request reminded me of our last couple of moves. Since the last one was to this great neighbourhood I thought I'd write a short entry about them.

We lived in Hamilton for several years and after spending time in the west end, near the university I attended, we bought a house downtown on Wentworth street. It was really cheap and pretty decent. So we decided to hire movers instead of roping in all our friends. I looked through all the ads and listened to horror stories told by friends (one friend had hired a large "reputable" company who arrived several days late with their truck, somewhat inconveniencing his family who had no furniture, dishes etc. in their Ottawa apartment). So we hired "Father and son" movers because it sounded like we'd get that genuine family attention. Ha! When they arrived I asked if they were part of this "family" and the head moving guy said "well, I'm a father, and I'm a son, but I don't have any relationship to the owners".

We'd hired three movers and it was a good thing I was the fourth because they were not exactly professional. They were guys who got hired to move things rather than "movers". They complained about the weight of some things and I had to show them how to get one of our bookcases over the back balcony. The "lead" guy spent all his time taking things apart to fit into their one trailer. I was really surprised they did not have a big 26 foot truck like this one:

I was able to continue carrying boxes when they had their smoke and coffee breaks. So that was a pretty frustrating move and it was only from one end of town to the downtown area!

When we moved to Kitchener we got some good advice from the agent who would rent out our Hamilton house after we left. She said to pack up everything in the basement first and take it as a separate load because we'd never miss it, and that was true. A friend and I moved the stuff in a cube van and it wasn't too hard (and we are still friends on Facebook!). And she said that instead of getting "movers" she knew some guys who needed money and would move things for us. In fact, I found out that "guys who need money" are far better than many so-called "movers"! They didn't complain and were fairly energetic. The most polite and mature member of our 3-man crew had just been released from jail and seemed to be a decent guy.

I rented a 26 foot truck and drove it from Hamilton to Kitchener which was pretty interesting since it took up the entire lane. The final move took about 8 hours (the time frame for which I'd rented the truck) and we are still here after 12 years! I hope we don't have to move again because, as everyone knows, it just gets harder and more complicated.


Lippert Park Picnic has successful 10th annual event

On Saturday July 10th, from noon until three, Lippert Park was filled with neighbours large and small. Actually, the smaller neighbours edged out the larger ones by a two to one ratio. Ken and Helen Lippert have gotten together many volunteers to organize this event ten times now and we all appreciate the effort that goes into it.

There was a fire truck and, as we can see in this photo, a police car as well.

There were many games and prizes for the kids, a karaoke machine with DJ, portable skateboard park, burgers and hot dogs and drinks to purchase. Local city council candidates were there to meet their voters.

Several dozen people attended over the three hours and many put up pins on a map to show where they lived. There were also a few pins from outside the "hood".

As one attendee was heard to say, "I didn't realize there is so much in this park because you can't see a lot from the street". Indeed, there is a great community garden, new play equipment, a tennis court and benches upon which you can sit in the shade.

We appreciate the work everyone involved put into the organization and cleanup afterwards.

Here is a photo from the "candy toss" event. Kind of like Halloween in summer!


Lippert Park Picnic, TODAY!!! July 10, 2010 noon - three

The 10th annual Lippert Park picnic is happening TODAY, July 10th!

The event has been organized, posters delivered, it is up to YOU to attend and have fun!

Where is it located? Why, in Lippert Park of course! This has become a great annual event with many different activities. Please drop by, bring the kids, say hello to friends and make new friends.

For more information, here is the official poster (you might see it displayed around the neighbourhood). Click on the image to expand to a larger size.


The Breithaupt Block: coming to our neighbourhood soon

The June 16 meeting of the NMA (Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance) was packed full of excitement and intrigue. We had a guest speaker, Craig Beatty from Perimeter Development Corp (a Toronto company). Mr. Beatty had worked for First Gulf who have transformed the downtown (or "uptown") Waterloo area and Perimeter Development was created by a group of former First Gulf executives.

Perimeter Development have purchased several former industrial properties in Galt (Cambridge) and have also acquired the former Collins and Aikman building at Breithaupt and King Street in Kitchener (beside the train tracks). This is what the building currently looks like (click on image to enlarge):

For a short introduction to its recent history, click here to read an interesting article from the Guelph Mercury. At the end of that article a real estate agent calls it a "challenge property".

Apparently, Perimeter Development likes a challenge because they have bought it and have been cleaning it up for the past few months. Mr. Beatty explained they have great plans for turning it into a valuable office space they are calling the "Breithaupt Block". It sits on about four acres of land and the total space is about 250,000 square feet including the basement.

There are actually several core buildings and many additional structures that have been built on. After clearing out tons of old equipment Mr. Beatty said they will tear down some of the "tin shed additions" and "adaptively reuse" the main buildings. He said they have uncovered some "fabulous spaces" in these brick and beam concrete buildings.

In a brochure presented to the NMA Mr. Beatty presented an elegant vision that is a considerable upgrade from the existing facility (click on image to enlarge):

Mr. Beatty indicated this was a minimum three year project composed of a large "King Street building" with a glassy facade (as a counterpart to the School of Pharmacy across the street) and then five other buildings with two shared courtyards, glass enclosed elevators, sandblasted brick etc.

This is a very exciting project for those of us in the area who are used to walking past the semi-derelict buildings full of smashed windows. Mr. Beatty had asked to address the NMA to keep us aware of their plans and, we imagine, to generate a bit of excitement over the development plans.

Some residents posed questions. For example, "are there any historic photos inside?" and the answer is "no". What about equipment that might be re-used as historic structures throughout Kitchener? Mr. Beatty said there was one wheel they were going to use as a centre piece in one of their courtyards. And that they were in contact with the city over zoning and other regulations, but no one had mentioned artifacts. John Smola was present and it was arranged that the city administrator in charge of historic artifacts would contact Perimeter Development.

Another resident asked about the standards that would be applied during the tear down of some structures and the renovation of others. Mr. Beatty said all contractors they hire adhere to provincial and municipal standards and the city regularly conducts inspections. The resident made the point that the site may be zoned commercial, but it is very close to residences and people are worried about asbestos and other contaminants.

The NMA asked to be kept in the loop as this development goes forward. There are a few issues about the safety of residents during construction, but overall it seems very positive and we appreciate the time Mr. Beatty took to speak to all of us.

We will post more information as this project takes shape.

Margaret Avenue bike lanes

On Wednesday, June 16th, Ken Carmichael (Supervisor of Traffic and Parking Engineering-Transportation Planning at the City of Kitchener), attended our Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance meeting at city hall. He told us about some plans for "traffic calming" on Margaret Avenue between Victoria and Guelph streets.

As a reminder, Margaret street looks like this between Wellington and Breithaupt, just before the bridge over the railway tracks. Residents have complained for many years about the excessive speeds of cars in that area.

The city is introducing two initiatives to slow down traffic. The first is that Margaret Street is being designated a bike lane so a bike path will be marked and parking will be more restricted. The city will eventually introduce "speed humps" along the street to slow traffic as well.

Ken stated that it is impossible to slow drivers who insist on driving poorly and too fast, but studies show that if you have more restricted parking, and if the bike lanes are drawn in, there is less space on the street for the cars. Therefore, the drivers slow down because they have to pay more attention to the markings. So over the next couple of years we hope some calm will come to this area of the city.


NMW Meeting tonight

Just a reminder that tonight at the regular meeting of the Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance, we will have a special guest talking about development plans for the Collins & Aikman industrial facility at Breithaupt and Moore Street. As usual, the meeting will be in the Conestogo Room at Kitchener City Hall, beginning at 7 pm. After this presentation, we will return to the regular meeting business.

All area residents are welcome at this meeting.

Some folks may not be familiar with the Collins & Aikman building, so I went to Google street view, and got this picture.


Things to do in Kitchener in the Summer

As the summer is getting started I hope everyone will be attending various events around the city and in our own neighbourhood. Currently there is the ongoing Tapestry Festival and the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. More locally, we have had a Jane's Walk (I promise, I'll add more photos soon!) and a picnic in Duke Street Park.

If you are planning a picnic or other event, and want a bit of publicity, please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com and we'll post it to this Blog. We can also put it on the Calendar that appears on the right hand side. We hope to have more listings so anyone in our area can use it as a resource for what is "going on".

We'd also like to remind everyone that the city of Kitchener sponsors a Festival of Neighbourhoods  program. For each event you have (like a walk, picnic etc.) you can register it and get a ballot. At the end of the summer the city sponsors a Finale celebration which includes a draw for a $10,000 improvement grant. The neighbourhood with the most ballots has a better chance of winning the grant.

The Blog's New Look: I hope no one was startled this week with the "new look" but the Blogger folks published a number of new (and free) templates. I chose one that opens up the site a bit and makes it easier to see the calendar and other links.

I also added a "counter" that everyone can see (on the right side, under the Blog Archive section). This morning the number is "71" which means the site has had around 70 unique visits in the past week or so. It is encouraging that a few people are reading the Blog and I hope the number increases as more of you send in links, event information, even photos for us to publish.

Ted Parkinson


Shanley and Duke St. Factory Building

On Wednesday, May 19th, officials from the Ministry of the Environment attended a special meeting of the Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance at City Hall. Volunteers did a great job advertising this meeting. Posters were designed and printed and handed out around the community. There was a listing on this Blog and the press was contacted as well. Approximately 30 people attended the meeting and that shows the importance of this issue to all of us in the area.

In case you haven't read it, there was a great article written in The Record about the meeting and the history of this building. The article is still online here.

Ministry officials gave a PowerPoint presentation at the meeting and they have now sent it to us. This has been uploaded to our Neighbourhood Association website and you can view a PDF version by clicking here.

There is another "Final Report" which the ministry will forward to us after they have removed some personal information from it. We will post a Blog entry about that report and also upload it to the same "Shanley Street Building" folder on the MHBPNA Website.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the meeting to show support for resolving this issue.


Tapestry festival in Kitchener from June 4 to 27

My wife and I decided to have a "downtown" experience today after work. First stop Budds for clothes! It's a great store with friendly people, great prices and for this weekend, NO TAXES. (Actually, there were no taxes last month as well). Anyway, I finally got some shorts that fit and look nice. They only problem is they close at 5:30 on a Friday. What is that all about? I guess it goes with the 1965 vibe.

Then to Ye's Sushi where we just ordered off the menu instead of indulging in the "all you can eat". We wanted to minimize our consumption and also have enough time to catch the music in front of city hall. So after a Bento Box and Sushi combo, we headed across the street. The distance is short but with all the streets torn up, it is not easy to get anywhere. Fortunately, it looks like the end is in sight as there is more concrete than dirt on King Street these days. In another year the Google Street View folks will be able to come back in their car and actually make it down the whole street!

We were greeted at city hall by the sounds of the "New Horizons" concert band which is composed of some senior citizens and a few middle-aged folks. OK, they were a bit out of tune, but they had enthusiasm (especially the conductor) and all wore the same nice blue shirts which counts for something.

 After the concert band departed, a group of youngsters took to the stage to play some really fabulous jazz. These kids looked like they still had to have their parents drive them to gigs, but they played some really awesome inventive jazz. They are called Macondo (although the Tapestry brochure available in city hall calls them "Mandoco") and the sax player is originally from Chile, while the bass, piano and drummer are local.

They are also playing at the Kites of Joy and Freedom Festival on June 13. You should really check them out because they displayed a subtlety way beyond their years. I hope they continue to play together for a long time.

In fact, there is lots of good (free) music happening tomorrow night at city hall, and throughout the month. Check out the city's web site here. There is also a film festival going on inside city hall in the rotunda so while the jazz was heating up outside (despite the rain) a few people sat inside watching a Neal Young concert film. Strange but true.


The Tannery "District"

The boundaries of our neighbourhood association (as shown here) end at King Street. But just across this street and a block further is the Tannery. This has been called the "Tannery District", probably to positively associate it with the Distillery District in Toronto. But if Caden (the developer) has their way, and tears down two heritage buildings to build a small gravel parking lot, then there won't really be any "district", there will just be one building and a lot of parking.

Let's never forget that Caden has done many positive things in developing and promoting the Tannery. However, tearing down these buildings, nondescript as they are, is a bad thing for the downtown and for any hopes of creating a "district". 

There has been a great deal written on this controversy in The Record and elsewhere. Rather than rehash the issues, I merely want to provide links to where you can get more information.

James Howe does a great job describing the issues on his Blog "kingandottawa".

Here is a good article on the Tannery in The Record

I would urge everyone to write, email or contact city councillors and the Mayor and anyone else you think important to show your support for these buildings. (Of course you can also voice your support for the gravel parking lot option, but I would disagree....).

There is also a Facebook group called Save the Lang Buildings! Please consider joining it.