Transit is still with us

There are many activities going on throughout the summer. We had the Lippert Park party and last weekend the art gallery had a "block party" and there were motorcycles and loud rock music in downtown Kitchener. The Waterloo folks had some jazz a couple of weeks back.

And in early August we have the Kitchener Blues Festival!

Anyway, we might forget the 800 million + dollars going into transit over the next few years. We will certainly remember it when the roads are torn up and railway tracks are being built. And we may continue to remember it when we can no longer park on our favorite streets. And hopefully we will remember transit when we can say "hey, transit is now convenient and we can get rid of our second car!".

So just so we don't forget about it, the MHBPNA blog is re-posting information from the city of Kitchener about their storefront information office which is next to city hall. And there are several meetings in September.

The Central Transit Corridor Community Building Strategy will provide a framework for how our community will be built around rapid transit. Over the past several months, a great deal of effort has gone into understanding the context of the corridor and the direction it will take as it develops through dozens of stakeholder interviews, workshops, open houses, speaker events, and regular storefront hours. Through discussing and exploring new opportunities for mobility, place-making and strengthening the community, we have a solid foundation for drafting the vision and strategies for the corridor which will include enhancing mobility, encouraging healthy communities, fostering a green corridor, creating great places, strengthening the economy, and enhancing learning.  

We would like to thank you for participating and taking the time to come and provide feedback for this important project. Your input will be used to shape the neighbourhoods and communities around rapid transit.
If you didn't get a chance to participate, it's certainly not too late! Here are some other ways to provide your input:
Summer Events:
It's summer! But that doesn't mean the Community Building Strategy is on vacation. We want to meet you where you're at, so we've arranged to be at some of Waterloo Region's favourite summer events and festivals. Check out the summer events flyer and be sure to come by and say hello!

Our storefront, located at 220 King St. W. in Kitchener, will continue to be open during the summer months. Please drop in, chat with staff and provide your comments. We're open Tuesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday noon to 5 p.m. and Friday noon to 4 p.m.  

Fall Public Meetings and Events:
Plans are being made for a series of open houses this September for you to see the draft Community Building Strategy and provide your input.
Sept. 17, 4-7 p.m. at Cambridge Centre for the Arts
Sept. 18, 4-7 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian in Waterloo
Sept. 20, 4-7 p.m. at the Storefront, 220 King St. W. in Kitchener

Mark your calendar for guest speaker Karina Ricks, a planner with Nelson Nygaard whose work has helped demonstrate that the decisions we make today in Waterloo Region will shape and drive our communities, economy, and environment for the next century or more. She will speak at 7p.m. on September 18 at the Knox Church directly following the open house.


Lippert Park comes alive with a party

July 14th, 2012 saw the return of the summer party to Lippert Park. Lots of parents and children enjoyed the afternoon events in a relaxing park. It was great talking with neighbours and enjoying the warm sunshine, partial shade, music, popcorn etc.

The MHBPNA would like to thank all those who worked to put the event together, and all you folks who came out.

Please click on any of the pictures below if you would like to see them larger.

Several businesses displayed their cards and helped support the event.

The Mount Hope - Breithaupt Park Neighbourhhood Association had a table and gave away some shiny things for everyone. And the City of Kitchener also had a couple of people at another table asking interview questions about the neighbourhood and the event.

Glen Soulis started the musical entertainment by playing violin and penny-whistle. That man can play the heck out of the penny-whistle and seems to have memorized hundreds of songs!

Lippert park is also the site of a great community garden and if you click on the image below and look in the back you can see a hard working member of our community weeding the garden.

One of the party's attractions was the face-painting table:

The fire department sent a couple of trucks for people to climb into and have some fun with, although one of them got pulled away for actual fire duty!

The main entertainment for the afternoon was the children's band The Skalywags who played a popular brand of energetic and inclusive music.

Below you see Skalywag Tammy (on right) getting some young audience members involved in a participatory activity:

Up close and personal: Skalywags Steve Ofner and Tammy Stinson rock it out.

Free popcorn and cotton candy rounded out the activities.

Thanks to Lane Burman and his many volunteers for setting this up. And thanks to our business sponsors as well: Queensgate and Victoria Common sponsored The Skalywags, Chris Tire Discounter supplied the popcorn and cotton candy and Cocoon Apothecary set up the face painting. 

This was a great community event and we hope to see everyone back next year!


It was a long picnic indeed

MHBP folks were there in downtown Kitchener today helping to try and set a Guinness World Record for longest picnic.

It was certainly long but we won't know if we broke a record for a few days. Kitchener city hall should announce it.

The MHBPNA Blog salutes all of you who braved the crazy heat and humidity to sit at those tables for an hour or so while they prepared to "measure" everyone.  In the photo below you can see the official measuring and video verification.

Overall, it was very well organized with an army of volunteers. Good on you City of Kitchener!

Former Electrohome Building Unstable

There was quite a crowd around the Electrohome building at the corner of Shanley and Duke Street West on Saturday evening (July 14, 2012). The two fire trucks and yellow tape contributed to the interest.

This building has frustrated the neighbourhood for many years. It has been allowed to deteriorate, has severe water damage, is a source of contamination and owes several hundred thousand dollars in back taxes to the city.

Residents have contacted our representatives at Kitchener City Hall for many years as well and it seemed like virtually nothing was being done. There was an article in The Record a couple of years ago which highlighted many of the issues. The air has been found to not be contaminated and the ground pollution has not moved in many years, but nothing has been done to clean it up.

In the past couple of years we have heard reports there has been interest in the build for possible condo development and the Neighbourhood Association has been told that positive information might be forthcoming this summer.

However, on Saturday a neighbour called police because of concerns about the further deterioration of the building. 

If you look at the bricks at the top and right of the picture below you will see how the exterior is starting to fall back and perhaps down. It is clear this portion of the top floor is structurally flawed and it brings into question the stability of the whole building. (Click on the picture for a larger image)

We have to wonder how a building in the middle of an active and engaged neighbourhood could have been allowed to deteriorate to this extent. Why have politicians not responded with action despite many years of citizen's complaints?

If there is still a company interested in developing this property, what impact will this deterioration have? 

Many residents have said "tear it down" or "better that it just fall down" but neither of these solutions will help remove the contamination in the ground or turn it into a viable and useful property. Residential development was a great solution but we would like someone to let us know if this is still a possibility. 

For now the building is taped off and pedestrians should avoid that side of Duke and Shanley streets.

The MHBPNA Blog will provide updates as we know them.


Neighbourhood Party at Lippert Park

The party returns to Lippert Park on July 14 (Saturday) from 1 - 4 pm

For ten years Ken and Helen Lippert had organized a picnic in Lippert Park as shown here and here. This was a chance for the neighbourhood to use this valuable space for meeting, skateboarding, face painting and many other forms of community building. 

There was no event in 2011 but this year Lane Burman has taken up the challenge to organize a neighbourhood party this coming Saturday. Lane says "This is a great opportunity to gather as a neighbourhood, enjoy some live music and let the kids have some fun. Our neighbourhood is changing, our neighbours are changing and being able to gather and meet everyone and talk about our area of the city is an important way to build our community.

The activities include a face painting / princess makeup table, soccer, temporary tattoos, popcorn and cotton candy. There will also be tables from the Neighbourhood Association and Community Gardening. Police and the Fire Department may also attend (depending on whether or not there is a fire somewhere!). There will be chalk painting and the party will end with a percussion parade. 

Music will also be a major part of the event: at 1 pm Glenn Soulas will perform and at 2 pm the children's band The Skalywags will play. 

Lane has gotten support from some of the neighbourhood businesses to help with the cost of the event and these include Queensgate and Victorian Common, Cocoon Apothecary and Tire Discounter Group.

The MHBP Neighbourhood Association hopes you will all come out on Saturday afternoon to have some fun, listen to some music and meet your neighbours.

Volunteers are always welcome so if you would like to help in any way, please contact Lane at his committee at "lippertpark2012@gmail.com".