Neighbourhood Development Initiatives – Letter From a Member

The following is a letter to the community from Ty Hervieux, a member and board member of DCARA.

Hi Everyone,

 For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ty Hervieux, I am a local physician, and I am a member of the Dovercourt College Area Residents’ Association.  I would like our neighbourhood association to take a collaborative role in developing our neighbourhood and in supporting our local businesses during the upcoming construction.  I am hoping to inspire my Residents’ Association to take on some local initiatives and support our neighbourhood by partnering with:
Our local MPs and MPPs                                      The College Promenade BIA      
Dufferin Grove Residents’ Assn                          Dovercourt Park Community Assocn    
College Ossington Dufferin Argyle Assoc’n      Beaconsfield Village Association
TrinityBellwood’s Community Association       Sistering
I have spoken to several local residents, business owners, and community organisations already.  Some of the initiatives I would like to have come alive in 2017 are as follows.
1.  Construction-licious and Coupon Books
– our local stores struggled way too much last summer, so lets help them out!
– lets get together and actively support them through actively planning meetings at their venues, and promoting and using our local businesses during the construction
– maybe we could have a construction-licous in our neighbourhood, and, for retail stores, have designated neighbourhood shopping events, or coupon books etc during this time
– we could use our websites and word of mouth to promote our local businesses, and, make an effort to shop there ourselves
– maybe they could set up a vending area weekly in Dufferin-Grove and have a shopping day there too, maybe on the days of the market?  Who knows … let’s come up with some ideas!
2. College-Promenade/Bill Cameron Lane Street Festival
– we are diverse neighbourhood but we need a street festival or two to attract local business and business from further a field
– I would like to try to get some interested parties together to pick some dates and get this festival going
– I was thinking a Winterama maybe a good idea for 2018
– I am hoping for suggestions for fall of 2017, maybe we could call it ‘A Promenade to Dufferin Grove’ and have a festival that incorporates health and wellness, yoga on the streets, astro-turf on the street to turn our promenade into the park! We could get plants and trees and a water feature set up for kids!  It could be a sock or barefoot event!
– we get free CPR, physiology, massage, free guitar/music lessons, ukulele etc on the street to attract people to our local businesses?
– Let’s start planning something and use our residents’ as the volunteers, and those with skills such as massage or physio to come volunteer to make this festival work
– lets have neighbourhood artists and musician perform and sell their ‘art in the park’ right on our astro-turf street …
3. Native species and butterfly friendly plant day
– we have started this in our residents’ association and it would be great if we could have some interested people help take orders and distribute butterfly friendly plants throughout our neighbourhood – we have 2 volunteers already!
3. Sistering
– contacted Wendy Bray from Sistering, the following ideas were developed:
– community networking to provide women moving out of the shelter with kitchen supplies and clothing on the day of move out (or night before)
– local aesthetic business/health services to provide services for women in need of aesthetics for jobs, reduction of stigma, etc
– furniture partnering through the Furniture Bank
5. Syrian Refugee needs housing
– some of us have been involved in sponsoring a Syrian refugee who will need housing on April 1st at $900 per month … if you have a place in the neighbourhood, let us know
6. Welcome Baskets and Shop Introductions
– we used to give welcome baskets to new neighbours and introduce them to our shops and conveniences (it’s also a great way to be snoopy and see who has moved in!), let’s start doing this again!
7. Park Days, Play Dates, and Clothing Swaps
– there are lots of new babies in our neighbourhood, families with pets, etc … I want our residents’ association to partner with existing ones to make sure everyone feels included let’s reach out to them to join existing groups and access our local shops
8. Snow Shovelling Days/Raking Days 
– on our block we informally help with shovelling and leaf removal for seniors, those away, and to clear parking spots on the street in winter.  Just because we don’t own the spots doesn’t mean we cannot clear them!
– I would like to see the first Wednesday evening and/or Saturday morning after a heavy snowfall be dedicated to community shovelling, the idea being that a band of community volunteers get together and shovel, and those who can’t help provide a hot chocolate, a snack, a mug of chili, or encouragement to those who are shovelling.
9. Community Outreach
– as a health-care provider, I have worked with many of the more disenfranchised residents of our neighbourhood
– we have so many people in need here, including those in HouseLink homes and Sistering
– so many of us put things out on the street when we don’t need them and let people take them, which is great!  Maybe we could organize and help the other organisations supporting, men, women, families, and those starting over after mental illness by providing them with household items, furniture, clothing in a more collaborative way
10. Affordable Housing
– the average one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $1800.  Young artists, musicians, youth, and low-incoming working adults and families belong in this neighbourhood
– for those of us with apartments in our homes or buildings, or rooms to rent, let’s be mindful of this
– let’s put our voices into city hall that we want to keep taxes down for our local businesses by having present use, not best use taxation
11. Community Programming and Non-Profit Development
– buildings like ArtSpace are great additions to neighbourhoods, and, providing opportunities for all kinds of community engagement
– we need to help identify buildings with this potential in and around our neighbourhoods to ensure that we have a community that thrives and offers opportunity and diversity
– as schools, police stations, and multi-use buildings are put up for sale or bought, lets advocate for responsible development of these buildings!
– we need spaces for artists, musicians, performers to meet and engage and bring momentum to our area
12. Air Quality & Noise Quality
– let’s find ways to keep our neighbourhoods clean and healthy!
13. Street Speed Safety/Neighbourhood Safety 
– our neighbourhood is not just a thoroughfare for cars heading across the city, lets ensure safety for all those in the neighbourhood
These are some of the initiatives I would like to see our Residents’ Association, DCARA, get involved with with 2017 … I am sure more can be done if we collaborate.
We are planning some neighbourhood events and will keep you posted.  Please contact me if you want to help with these initiatives or would like our group to help with your events and planning!

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