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Hello Neighbours,

With all of the back and forth about the upcoming municipal election and with all of the other amazing events we have on the go, DECA was unable to undertake to organize a candidates’ debate for the election.

We have submitted a set of questions to each of the Ward 19 City Councillor candidates with an email address posted on the City of Toronto elections website, and in the coming weeks we will post the Q&As for each candidate who responds, in order of receipt.

Stay tuned!

The DECA Board

 

 

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The DECA Board is meeting this Tuesday August 21st from 7:30-9:30pm at Red Rocket Coffee, 1364 Danforth Avenue.

Why come to a meeting? Lots of reasons! Perhaps you’d like to get involved. Perhaps you want to hear more about us and what we do, and find out about some cool events. Or perhaps you’d like to meet some neighbours. Whatever your reason, we look forward to meeting you!

7:15pm Meet and Greet
Come a bit early if you’d like to chat with us one on one. A few Board members will be at Red Rocket Coffee before the meeting starts from 7:15 -7:30pm, to meet and greet with anyone who would like to come out.

Many thanks to Billy, owner of Red Rocket Coffee, for staying open late to host our meeting. Please email us if you have questions: info@deca.to.

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…and why you should care too!

Posted on behalf of the DECA Board

DECA’s mission and guiding principles drive our way forward, and we are non-partisan, but we are also committed to being “a responsive, credible and representative voice for the community.”

Earlier this week, the provincial government tabled a Bill called The Better Local Government Act to dramatically reduce the size of City Council in the midst of our ongoing election, which began on May 1st. The Bill passed first reading on July 30, and could be imposed on the citizens of Toronto as early as August 2018. This is particularly unsettling because our City had legally established the number of councillors/wards through due process and extensive consultations.

As a Board, we find ourselves in a moment where we must respond.

DECA believes that the decision to unilaterally reduce Toronto City Council from 47 Wards to 25 is undemocratic.

We have observed that our City Councillors already work well beyond a normal work-week. We are concerned that doubling their workload would significantly limit their ability to continue to be effective partners in community-building. This will change the extent to which Councillors can proactively reach out to us on emerging issues and their ability to be responsive when we raise an issue or concern.

The proposed new Ward boundaries will negatively impact our community.

Here’s why.

City Councillors are involved in decisions that will forever impact our neighbourhood, such as development, transit, parks, and infrastructure. Other decisions are less permanent but have a high impact such as property taxes, childcare, bike lanes and speed limits.

Currently, DECA’s excellent two-way relationship and collaboration with our City Councillors greatly contributes to our ability to support and improve the community.

Here are some examples:

  • help with permits for community events, such as the tree lighting and pumpkin walks in East Lynn Park;
  • our go-to whenever something goes wrong like a wading pool not being on or that time the City fenced off the East Lynn Park playground and dug up the greenspace to install paths;
  • when we raised with Councillors that the traffic lights at Woodbine and Danforth was changing too quickly for many people to safely get across, within a week the timing had been extended;
  • sought out DECA input and acted on our concerns about the planned the second exit (Strathmore) at Woodbine station to change the plan to make it also an entrance; and
  • include DECA in early consultations on development proposals, which in at least one case, resulted in huge changes to the building design to incorporate street-level retail to help make the Danforth more walkable and safe.

It will be impossible for only 25 City Councillors to maintain the current level of collaboration and cooperation with the community. 

Councillors have huge agendas and a full range of issues to learn about. They also need to understand the impacts on our community and bring those forward. For example, how could one person understand the community impacts on every single issue in a way that would adequately represent the Beach, Danforth East, Woodbine Heights, Parkview Hills, and Crescentown?

Federal/provincial ridings are suitable because MPs/MPPs work is driven by their parties and/or portfolios and they deal with bigger picture issues not specific to one neighbourhood, park, household, or person. These are not reasonable boundaries for City representation.


We’ve just scratched the surface here and we will write more about this in the coming days and weeks. But if there ever was a moment to be engaged and speak out, now is the time!

We will be at the East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market on Thursday, August 2 to discuss this with the community. Come chat with us and tell us what you think!

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The DECA Board is meeting tonight, Monday May 28 from 7:40-9:30pm at The Nooks Studio, 1912 Danforth Avenue.

Why come to a meeting? Lots of reasons! Perhaps you’d like to get involved. Perhaps you want to hear more about us and what we do. Perhaps you’d like to meet some neighbours. Whatever your reason, we look forward to meeting you!

7:15pm Meet and Greet
If you want to know more about us but the thought of coming to a meeting fills you with dread, or if you prefer to chat one on one, a few Board members will be at the Nooks Studio before the meeting starts from 7:15 -7:40pm, to meet and greet with anyone who wants to come out.

If you live nearby and can bring a folding chair, please do. The Nooks Studio has a limited number of seats. We’re grateful to owner Colleen Imrie for kindly offering us the Studio space for DECA’s Board meeting. We’ll serve some light refreshments and everyone is welcome to attend. Please email us if you have questions: info@deca.to.

Pick up a #DanforthEast Yard Sale Poster
Yard Sale Posters will be available for pick-up! Please take one home to advertise the Danforth East Yard Sale on your street.

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Happy New Year!

At our recent Annual General Meeting, the DECA membership elected a stellar Board for 2018:
Gay Stephenson & Loreen Barbour (Co-Chairs)
Audrey Kvedaras (Vice Chair)
Anita Schretlen (Treasurer)
Nicole Bergot-Browning (Secretary)
Alison McMurray
Jennifer Scott
Amanda Olsen
Melissa Peretti
Rebecca Green
Brad Bradford
Lorraine Cheng

Here is a message from incoming co-Chairs Gay & Loreen:
One of the many things to love when you get involved in our neighbourhood is that it makes the world feel like a brighter place. Gathering with neighbours to work on local happenings or projects has a way of harnessing good energy and comes with the benefit of getting to know more of the people who live across the street, around the corner, or down the block.

In the coming year, DECA would like to build even more opportunities for us to connect with one another. We’d like to meet you! We’re will be continuing to host “meet and greets” before Board meetings, building on this initiative from the past couple of years. Half an hour before the meeting begins, come chat with us! Watch this blog and Facebook for meet and greet dates and times for the new year. (Hopefully you are reading this because you are a blog subscriber!) Better yet,  if you haven’t already, join DECA as a member. It’s only $10 per/family per year and you can do it online here.

Did you know that everything DECA does began as someone’s idea? From vision to reality with the support, energy and dedication of many others! Initiatives like the Farmers’ Market, the Danforth East Arts Fair, Pumpkin Parade, Festival of Lights, DECA Pride, Visioning Committee, DECA Connects, Business Revitalization Team, Pop-up Shops, Laneway Crawl and more- they all started as an idea in someone’s head.

So as we go forward into 2018, we look forward to meeting with you, sharing time and inspiration. Perhaps you, or one of your neighbours have the next big (or small) idea for our neighbourhood? We want to hear them all so let’s get to know one another in the new year! And don’t forget to let us know if you’re hosting an event in the ‘hood and we’ll help spread the word. We are entirely volunteer run so the easiest way to alert us is by tagging us on social media.

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Farewell from outgoing DECA Chair, Sheri Hebdon

I was first elected to the DECA Board in 2009, by accident. I showed up at a “neighbourhood cocktail party” with my wife and baby after seeing posters and hearing about it from a nice woman I met at baby-and-me yoga.

On arrival, my new friend Natasha (DECA’s founding Chair) welcomed us at the door and she casually asked me if I would be interested in joining the Board. I said I was interested in learning more and then we moved on to other conversations.

Later in the evening, I was discreetly nursing my baby when all of a sudden Natasha and another woman stood up on chairs and announced that the cocktail party was actually the AGM. They (and others) gave short pitches about their projects like the farmers’ market and the business revitalization team (who did store makeovers) and then I heard my name.

What?

Then everyone voted yes and I was on the Board. Just like that. While nursing my son.

Eight years later, at tomorrow’s AGM & Party (we’re a bit more up front about the AGM part now!), my time on the DECA Board, where I have been Chair for three years, will come to a close. While I am confident that the Board will be in excellent hands for next year, it’s hard not to worry about what the future will hold.

Though, the real question is not what, but who. DECA isn’t a thing – it’s the sum total of a group of people who all add what they (we) can to make our neighbourhood better. Bringing new people into the fold is critical, but it’s not easy. We have the things now that DECA has helped to build over the past decade and people may take it, and us, for granted. Or maybe they just don’t know? Or maybe they just can’t take on one more thing.

Whatever the reason is that you aren’t more involved, here is my pitch to you to get involved. Don’t think about what you’d put into it, think about what you will get out of it.

Volunteering for DECA has given me so much over the years. No matter what else is happening in my life or in the world, I have taken a lot of solace knowing that I’m doing something to make the world better, even if it’s just in my little corner of it. I find it energizing to help in big and small ways, and feeling so much more connected to my neighbours and local businesses positively impacts me on a daily basis. My children (there are three of them now) understand that volunteering is part of life, and each of them have legitimately volunteered for DECA too by doing things like putting up posters, helping to set up events, handing out cookies and candy canes at the Festival of Lights. Given that parenting is a long game, instilling this so early is important.

Start with one hour. One hour of involvement per year could mean helping at an event, putting up posters, tossing pumpkins or cooking for the farmers. Maybe you have two hours? Maybe five? What about one hour for every year you’ve lived here? If you have kids, get them involved and you won’t believe how proud they will be of themselves. Start with one hour and you may find that you that you’ll want to do more.

At the very least, join DECA as a member. Sign up online or in person tomorrow at Hirut. $10/household for the year.

If you don’t know where to start, come to the event tomorrow and ask me, or any of the other Board members. Meet your neighbours. Get involved.

Here’s the poster one more time:

Oh, and there will be door prizes!

Thanks for a great eight years, Danforth East! See you all around the neighbourhood.

-Sheri

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Our Annual General Meeting  & Party is coming up on November 20 from 7-9 pm at Hirut (2050 Danforth). Hope you can join us!

At the party you can:

  • Meet your neighbours
  • Enjoy Hirut’s delicious food (on us!)
  • Find out how to get more involved with DECA
  • Join DECA or renew your $10/year per household membership
  • Meet our Board and many of our other amazing volunteers
  • Vote for next year’s Board if you are a member (this is the AGM part!)
  • Enjoy the cash bar

If you’ve never come to the Party & AGM before, the short formal part will go from about 8:00-8:30pm and you’ll hear about our annual events and ongoing initiatives, the not-to-be-missed Treasurer’s report, nail-biter Board elections and last but not least, remarks from our outgoing Chair (yours truly). The rest of the time is for chatting with neighbours and hanging out. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening.

Membership and voting are limited to people who live in our catchment (Main to Lumsden/Mortimer to Monarch Park to the train tracks) but everyone who cares about this neighbourhood can come to this and all of our events.

The Board will be putting forward the following nominees for election to the 2017/18 Board:

Loreen Barbour (Co-Chair)

Gay Stephenson (Co-Chair)

Audrey Kvedaras (Vice Chair)

Anita Schretlen (Treasurer)

Nicole Bergot-Browning (Secretary)

Alison McMurray

Amanda Olson

Melissa Peretti

Jennifer Scott

Rebecca Green

Brad Bradford

Lorraine Chen

****

If you are interested in future opportunities on our Board, please ask us about it on Monday or reach out to us by email and we can talk about getting you involved over the coming year.

See you on Monday!

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