Old, New, Doors Open

#mhbp was walking down Duke Street West towards down town Kitchener when we saw these two buildings and thought they provided an interesting contrast. The MHBPNA Blog will be radical and call it "old and new"! Or "from felt to pharmaceuticals"? 

Click on the photo for a larger size. The motto "Felt for Every Purpose" seems both nostalgic and definitive. In the "olden days" Kitchener was the centre for felt, buttons, rubber and tanning (among other things). 

The Rumpel Felt building will be open for Doors Open this year so we should all make a point of visiting. Information about Doors Open Waterloo Region is here.

See you there!


152 Shanley Update #1

The building at 152 Shanley has been "known" to residents for many years. It has a long and fascinating history. On the side of the building you can still make out the letters for Deilcraft which was a division of Electrohome that made cabinets for home electronics. In fact, "In addition to television and stereo cabinets, the Deilcraft division produced bedroom and dining room sets and occasional furniture." There is a very good article on the history of Electrohome (including this building) located here

The building has been sold a few times and over the years one or more owners have dumped toxins into the ground and contaminated the property and some of the surrounding area. This has been a cause of concern for those living close to the building but from all the testing that has occurred, it appears the toxins are no longer moving and there has been no compromise of air quality. An environmental report was presented to the neighbourhood in 2010 and a copy of it is stored on our MHBPNA website here

Last summer some bricks fell off the building's side and there is now a small fence erected around that area. The owner of the building has tried to engage in various 'business' activities for which this building is not zoned, and this has frustrated neighbours. Police have been called because of suspicious behaviour and it has been suspected that people have lived or slept in the building. 

For your information The Record has written a few articles on this building and the most recent is here. There is also a discussion about it on the Wonderful Waterloo website here.

A few of us from the community and the Neighbourhood Association met with our councillor Dan Glenn-Graham and several representatives from the city including By-Law, engineering and legal.  We really appreciate Dan's work in facilitating this meeting. 

Here are some facts we were able to glean from this meeting.

Tax Sale: The owner of the building currently owes the city over $800,000 in taxes. The amount comes primarily from unpaid taxes but also from fees charged by the city to clear snow and bushes etc. There may also be a charge on it for several thousand dollars from the Ministry of the Environment for work they have done to access the toxins. The city is actively engaged in putting up the building for a tax sale. There are procedures for this and they involve advertising it for 4 weeks in specified newspapers (The Record, The Ontario Gazette). This procedure involves several departments who work independently so while the sale is "immanent" the city could not tell us when it would happen. Hopefully it will occur within the next couple of months.

There are a 'few parties' interested in the building but the city cannot say who they are, or how interested they are. The building's current owner is 848835 Ontario Inc.

The "certificate" authorizing the city to proceed with the tax sale was issued last year and the owner cannot sell the building without paying off the taxes. 

So the outcome of a tax sale is hopeful but we have no way of knowing until it occurs. We know in the past there has been interest in the building being renovated into condos and we believe the location is excellent. But this would involve a great deal of work and the contamination would have to be cleaned up (as much as is possible).

As an incentive to clear up and redevelop "Brownfield" properties the city and region do work with developers to offset their cleanup and development costs with future tax incentives. But these plans have to be applied for and their costs are measured against future value. This encourages development but it also means a detailed plan must be worked out prior to the application.

There are many additional details we learned in our meeting with the city and they will be provided in a few days in the next article. Stay tuned......

Ted Parkinson


Lego is fun and rewarding for everyone

The Mount Hope Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association, is currently in need of volunteers to facilitate the Fall series of Lego Programs at the Breithaupt Centre.

Our Lego Programs, are split into 3 groups of participants from 6-12, Creative (5-6 years old), Mechanical (7-9 years old) and Robotic (10-12 years old). Groups may range from 6-8 children.  Program is 1.5 hours per week, and run for a total of 8 weeks.

Lego is a great way to foster creativity and logic within youth.  By using the Lego, students are encouraged to follow a curriculum  and design solutions to the problem, using logic, creativity and teamwork.

We have successfully run a Lego program this past spring, and the response was phenomenal. 

There are currently 6 courses planned.  For each, there is a need for 1 leader, and one assistant.  Leaders will be allowed one additional child added to the group at no charge.

This is a great opportunity to marvel at the creativity and ingenuity of children, while helping your local Neighbourhood Association. The programming is well established and you will be provided with a solid structure for the 8 weeks, a list of activities and other guidance. 

If you are interested, please email us at 'mhbpna@gmail.com'

*All leaders and assistants will successfully pass a background screening prior to starting of the program.


Newsletter is coming soon....

We are currently working on a newsletter to hand out to everyone in our neighbourhood. If you would like to volunteer to deliver this (even on your block) it would be appreciated. Just email us at 'mhbpna@gmail.com'.

We are scheduling a number of programs starting in September including Lego, Dance and Cooking, so this issue will be full of information.

We have also uploaded the Spring 2013 issue onto our website. If you missed this issue, or would like to read older issues, please click here and download what you like.


MHBPNA meeting tonight, 7 pm, Breithaupt Centre

Normally, MHBPNA meetings are held the first Saturday morning of each month at 10 am at the Breithaupt Centre. The first hour is open to the public and we have agendas available and 'new business' can be presented. The second hour is reserved for the executive to discuss motions upon which they will vote.

As many have noticed, it is now summer and "things change". So we are meeting tonight (instead of Saturday) at the Breithaupt Centre in room 109 at 7 pm. Everyone from our neighbourhood is welcome to attend and we will be discussing items like: newsletter production, fall programs at the Breithaupt Centre, Weber Street Widening, update on Shanley and Duke building etc.

Please drop by and hear what is going on in #mhbp!


Garden In the Park

For the past few months a group of neighbours have been working on turning a portion of the Uniroyal Goodrich Park into a community garden. It looks like they have succeeded.

Uniroyal Goodrich Park is on Guelph Street, half way between Waterloo and Weber. It is up a hill and out of site so many people are not aware it exists. It had playground equipment in it but was seldom used so the city removed the equipment a couple of years ago.

The garden takes up one part of the park but we would like to encourage other uses and have more people around. Write to the Blog if you have ideas.

Come and check out the garden. There are often people "working the land" and it looks great now that the fence is up and the plants are growing.

The work begins with creating garden plots and digging postholes for a fence (click on any of the photos for a larger image).

Then there is a joyful and expectant time planting and moving soil and compost with a wheelbarrow.

Eventually plants grow and become tall. Fruit and vegetables can be harvested one day!

Thanks to Juanita for sending these photos. The MHBPNA Blog welcomes everyone from the community to send photos or articles about things they consider important and interesting.