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NEIGHBOURS NOV 14

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

PROUDLY PRINTED IN LONDON, ONTARIO

WEST LONDON

om c . s s e r lfp

A Special Zoned Section published by the Advertising Department

Serving Byron, Oakridge, River Bend and Hyde Park

om c . s s e r lfp

On the road
to change...
see ROADS I Page 4

Construction on Oxford St. W (top left), Hyde Park Rd (bottom left) and Sarnia Rd (bottom right) are the result of a development boom in west London. The Oaks Crossing subdivision going up near Sarnia Rd (top right) is just one example of the new neighbourhoods going up in the west end.

West London is transforming
Once considered the outskirts of the city, communities like Byron and Hyde Park are now home to thousands. New developments are sprouting up. People are moving in and business is booming. To keep up with the evolution, the infrastructure has to evolve. That’s why over the past decade the city has invested millions in infrastructure projects in west London and will continue to invest in the coming years. Projects like the removal of the

■ THIS ISSUE

NEIGHBOURS

ALEX WEBER

historic Sarnia Rd rail bridge and the Oxford St. extension have had a dynamic impact on travel flow through the community. As the area braces itself for the upcom-

ing widening of Hyde Park Rd, it’s important to keep in my mind the long-term effects of construction projects that cause short-term headaches. LFP Neighbours spoke to city councilors and engineers to find out what residents can expect when it comes to construction in west London. Turn to Page 4 to find out how these changes will affect you. We also caught up with Ward 8 Councillor Paul Hubert for his take on the infrastructure changes tak-

ing shape and the advice he has for residents. Find out what he had to say on Page 8. This week’s issue also features a sneak peak into the new Ogilvies Food and Artisan Christmas Market, tips on how to extend your outdoor exercise regime into the winter, and a look at an innovative green energy initiative happening at some of the area’s local schools. There’s a lot going on in west London and LFP Neighbours is here to keep up.

Our goal each week is to keep readers connected and up to date with what’s happening in the community. West London is changing and we want residents to stay a step ahead. We think it’s important to be informed. To do this we need your help. If you’re hosting a community event, have a great story idea, or know a neighbour worth recognizing, reach out. We want to hear from you. Send us an email at lfp.neighbours@sunmedia.ca

Our Year End Countdown is your best chance to close out the year with fantastic lease and finance rates on our top vehicles.

Your local Dealer may charge additional fees of up to $1,103. Charges may vary by Dealer.

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

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MAURICE RONDELEZ
BRENT BOLES Neighbours
When Maurice Rondelez started his own eyewear shop last year, he wasn’t monkeying around. “This is my little vision,” he said. The Commissioners Rd. store, Monkey See Family Optical, sells glasses, contacts and offers eye exams. Rondelez says customers often wander in wondering how he came up with the creative name. “I wanted something that was unique, that stood out,” he explained. It was while brainstorming ideas that he realized he could have some fun with it. Once the name was set, his brother designed the logo – an eye with a banana for the lid – and Rondelez was in business. Though the first year has been smooth, the new business owner’s focus wasn’t always on eyewear. “I sort of fell into this industry by accident,” said Rondelez. After attending Fanshawe College, he worked as a financial planner and later in a factory. But a tough economic turn left him looking for work. “When I was first laid off it was my daughter’s birthday,” he said. Determined to find work, Rondelez returned to King’s University College. While in school, his sister-in-law, an optician, said she needed some extra help around the lab grinding lenses. Rondelez took the job. “I actually enjoyed it and went back to school to be an optician,” he said. “The thing about being an optician is, not only are you using your mind . . . but you’re still using your hands,” said Rondelez. “That was a nice marriage of the two.” Having graduated from Georgian College to become an optician, Rondelez knows the importance of learning. “For me, continuing education is very, very important.” That attitude carries over into how he approaches the eyewear industry where technology is constantly improving. “There’s always the latest, greatest product out there.” That’s one area that he hopes to help clients with. He said the optical industry fails consumers in educating them about what they buy. “A lens to a lot of people, it’s a clear piece of plastic in a frame,” he said. In reality, Rondelez said the type of lens and the coating can have a significant impact and buyers need to be aware of what

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who they are?

Name: Maurice Rondelez Beatles or The Rolling Stones: The Beatles Summer or Winter: Summer Tea or coffee: Coffee Early riser or night owl: Night owl

Pool or beach: Beach Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction Book or e-Book: Book Theater or DVD: DVD Walk or bike or run or drive: Run

the quote
This is my little vision... I wanted something that was unique, that stood out."
they need and what they don’t. Before starting a business of his own, Rondelez honed his skills working for some of the bigger chain stores. But after a while, he realized he could provide more tailored service working in his own environment. “I felt, at that point in time, that as an independent there was so much more I

could offer,” he said. For example, Rondelez recently provided some local radiologists with led-lined glasses. “Typically for them, all they can get are the big, gaudy, ugly things,” he said. “Here, you can get something a little more funky.” Rondelez says the first year has been a success and offers words of advice to other prospective business owners. “Know the market you’re going into.” He hopes to be a fixture in the west London market for years and looks forward to setting up clients with frames they love. “You can see that they’re just happy with it. You can see the glow in their face. I really enjoy that.”

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News you and your neighbours want to know.

Finding its way into more than 17,000 homes in Byron, Riverbend, Oakridge and Hyde Park, LFP Neighbours connects the community to the news, businesses and issues affecting daily life in London’s northwest. Blending local news stories with regular business features, lifestyle content and community sports coverage, LFP Neighbours delivers the news that hits close to home.

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DIRECTORS:

Publisher and CEO, Digital and Print: Susan Muszak, 519-667-4625 susan.muszak@sunmedia.ca Director of Advertising: Lisa Catania, 519-667-5480 lisa.catania@sunmedia.ca Special Section & Project Manager Chris Kubinski, 519-667-4631 chris.kubinski@sunmedia.ca

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Community Office
240 Commissioners Rd W (at Knights Hill Rd), Unit 106 London, ON N6J 1Y1 Phone: 519-657-3120 | Fax: 519-657-0368 Email: psattler-co@ndp.on.ca

News, tips & press releases lfp.neighbours@sunmedia.ca

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS 3

YOUR SCHOOLS

Getting schooled in solar power
Sir Frederick Banting and Saunders secondary schools are leading the way when it comes to sustainability at the Thames Valley District school board. The high schools are the first in the city to sport solar panels. The panels were put up in December 2011 using money from the Ministry of Education’s renewable energy fund for schools and were installed by Saturn Power. Banting and Saunders were chosen as test schools, to see if solar energy could help the TVDSB cut costs in the future. Wanting to find out more about solar energy’s potential, the board had the panels installed as an experiment. “We decided to find out for ourselves what the benefits were,” said Mike Colquhoun, the energy management co-ordinator at the board. So far, two major benefits have been noted. Through the online tracking system the city’s east end. But available on the schools’ websites, before they invest in students, teachers and residents can panels for all of the high track the amount of energy produced schools, they want to by the solar panels in real time, offerensure the maintenance costs are ing an innovative and hands-on opmanageable. portunity to learn about green energy. “The plan right now is to “I think it’s a very exciting thing to evaluate the systems and make sure have at our school,” said Joan Cooper, everything is reliable,” Colquhoun Banting’s principal. “Having the link said. for the students is great.” The schools are also able to make some profit off the panels. Through the Ontario Power Authority’s microFIT program the power generated by the solar panels at Saunders and Banting is sold back to London Hydro as green energy. Between Saunders and Banting, the board makes $1,500 to $2,000 a month, said Colquhoun. The success of the solar panels at Banting and Saunders has prompted the board to install a third system at Clarke Road secondary school in This solar panel at Banting was one of the first to be installed in a London secondary school.

■ GREEN ENERGY: Website allows users to track amount of energy produced by solar panels at two TVDSB high schools

Making the grade
Oakridge secondary school is ranked the second best high school in London when it comes to academic performance, according to the Fraser Institute’s most recent school report card. The public policy think tank uses public data and provincial test scores to rate Canada’s schools so that administrators, students, parents and taxpayers can analyze and compare the academic performance of schools in their area. The rankings were released in September and based on data gathered from the 2011 – 2012 academic school year. Oakridge received a 7.9 out of 10 on its report card, the second best mark in London, and was ranked 76th out 725 secondary schools in the province. Central secondary school topped the list, both municipally and provincially, with a mark of 9.6 out of

■ ACADEMICS: Fraser Institute releases annual report ranking Ontario schools

10, and came in first provincially. Sir Frederick Banting and St. Thomas Aquinas were also in top 10% of Ontario secondary schools. Banting was ranked 164th out of 725, making it the fourth best high school in London, and STA came in 178th, making it the fifth. For elementary schools, St. George, Byron Somerset and John Dearness were all in London’s top ten.

top10 LONDON top10LONDON
High Schools
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Central Oakridge A B Lucas Sir Frederick Banting St. Thomas Aquinas Mother Teresa Saunders Gabriel-Dumont South Regina Mundi

Elementary Schools 1 Blessed Kateri 2 St. George 3 Byron Somerset 4 St. Jude 5 Ryerson 6 Masonville 7 Jack Chambers 8 John Dearness 9 University Heights 10 Mounstfield

■ For more iNformatioN Visit: http://ontario.compareschoolrankings.org/secondary

By the numbers:

OaKridge

ESL = English Second Language

Average rank over the past five years: 70/691 2011-12 rank: Parents’ average income: $101,100 Percentage of ESL students: 5.6% 76/725 Percentage of special needs students: 13.5%

BANTING

Average rank over the past five years: 161/691 2011-12 rank: Parents’ average income: $71,700 Percentage of ESL students: 1.8% 164/725 Percentage of special needs students: 21.9%

STA

Average rank over the past five years: 108/691 2011-12 rank: Parents’ average income: $104,800 Percentage of ESL students: 0% 178/725 Percentage of special needs students: 14%

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

YOUR COMMUNITY
■ ROADS: City investing heavily in west London infrastructure to accommodate rapid growth

recent road Oxford St W is the most n will be tio ruc nst Co d. ene to be wid wrapping up Dec 1, 2013.

Got traffic?
Wonderland Rd was the first of the major west Lon do n roads to be redone.

There is no question that Hyde Park Rd. is over capacity and can be extremely congested – at times it can be described as a parking lot."
Matt Brown ~ Ward 7 Councillor
Pylons prevent pedestrians from interfering with electrical work at the Oxford St W and Hyde Park Rd intersection.

West London is on the road to change.
If you were to drive down Hyde Park Rd a decade ago, you would barely recognize the street today. What was once a rural route has grown into one of the city’s main arteries shuttling thousands of drivers from the west end to the shopping meccas at Fanshawe Park Rd. and Masonville mall. Oxford St, Wonderland Rd. and Sarnia Rd. are much the same. Thousands of families have moved to the west end over the past decade. Now it’s time for the infrastructure to catch up. “The west has grown so much but the infrastructure has lagged behind,” said Ward 8 Coun. Paul Hubert. “One of my primary objectives in 2006 was to ensure the transportation infrastructure in the west end was improved.” Since 2006, west London has seen its share of major construction projects, the bulk of the work done on the community’s main roads. Wonderland Rd., Sarnia Rd., and Oxford have all been widened and improved over the past few years. And with the Oxford St. rehabilitation set to be complete Dec. 1, the city will set its sights next year on its final major facelift: Hyde Park Rd. "There is no question that Hyde Park Rd. is over capacity and can be extremely congested at many times throughout the day and on weekends – at times it can be described as a parking lot,” said Ward 7 Coun. Matt Brown. His concerns were echoed by city engineer John Braam, who says the $130 million the city has spent on infrastructure in west London was mainly in response to the area’s rocketing growth rate. “People have talked about congestion for years,” he said. “When we continue to grow that puts a large strain on our streets, water and sewer systems . . . The infrastructure has to be able to sustain it.” Predicted to cost roughly $35 million, the widening of Hyde Park Rd. begins in spring 2014 and will take place in two phases, each expected to last a year. The project was originally slotted to take three years, but councilors Brown and Hubert, along with the community, fought to get it down to two years in order to alleviate some of the strain on local business. The Hyde Park project includes: road widening, new lanes, sidewalks, bike paths and a noise wall to protect bordering homes from traffic noise.

Decades ago much of land along Hyde Park looked like this patch here, now residential and commercial developments have sprouted up all along the popular route. Hyde Park Rd is the next major west London road to get a facelift beginning spring 2014.

The MaJor Projects:

OXford St. W
What they did: • Widened the road • Filled potholes • Added a noise wall • Expanded the Oxford environ mental depot • Sewer and water main construction Cost: $18 million

HYDE PARK RD.
What they’re doing: • Widening the road • Adding new lanes for driving and cycling • Adding sidewalks • Water main and sewer upgrade • Upgrading the pumping station Cost: $35 million

SARNIA RD.
What they did: • Widened the road • Replaced the historic Sarnia Rd. rail bridge • Improved road conditions • Installed new traffic lights Cost: $21.6 million

WONDERLAND RD.
What they did: • Widened the road between Sarnia Rd. and Fanshawe Park Rd. • Improved road conditions • Sewer work

Cost: $26 million

1

The SMALLER Projects:
Fanshawe Park Rd. Widening (Wonderland Rd to Hyde Park Rd.) Cost: $9.2 million

2

Beaverbrook Rd. Rehabilitation (Riverside Rd. to Oxford St.) Cost: $3.4 million

3 4
Sunningdale Rd. (Wonderland Rd. to Adelaide St.) Cost: $9.5 million

Royal York Rd. Watermain Replacement (Hyde Park Rd. to Oxford St.) Cost: $780,000

5

Gainsborough Rd. watermain construction (Wonderland Rd. to Hyde Park Rd.) Cost: $4.6 million

6

Sherwood Forest Flooding Remediation Cost: $1.2 million

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS 5

YOUR SPORTS
■ PASSION: Young London dancer has appeared in Hedley music video

The right

moves
Tour intensive dance program. That’s all on top of being a Gr. 7 pupil at Jeanne Suave French Immersion public school. “I try to buckle down and get all of my homework done before I get here,” Thompson said while sitting on the couch in the waiting room of his Hyde Park dance studio, The Dance Movement. He spends more than 20 hours a week in dance class. Hip-hop is his passion, but that’s not all he studies. Tap, acro, lyrical, contemporary and ballet are also part of his curriculum. In fact, ballet was the first style of dance Thompson learned when he started taking lessons as a six-year-old. Always tagging along when his older sisters had dance class, one day Thompson wanted to join in. Dance ignited something inside of him, and he’s pursued it relentlessly ever since. “I see dance as a profession,” he said.

athlete of the week

the quote
I think Logan has a spectacular amount of talent...you don't get a lot of kids who can do what he can do."
Ashley Morrow ~ Owner of The Dance Movement

Don’t let his size or his age fool you. Logan Thompson packs some serious talent. This 12-year-old hip-hop sensation is making a big name for himself in the dance world. A member of the Team Canada hip-hop team, Thompson’s competed internationally. He was ranked 18th in freestyle in the world at the IDO-World Hip-Hop Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, earlier this year. In July, he appeared in the music video “Anything” for Canadian rockers Hedley. Thompson also spent a week in New York City this summer learning from some of the world’s best choreographers before heading out on a group tour as part of the Pulse On

GAN THOMPS Over the ON AGE: 12 GRaD past six E: SEVEN JEANNE SUAVE FRENCH IMMER years he’s SION SP ORT: HIP HOP competed DANCE in dozens of competitions, performed at art form. several local events including While Thompson admits he the halftime show at the London was embarrassed to tell his Lightning basketball games, and friends during the early stages has been invited to help teach at of his dance career, now he feels some of the hip-hop world’s most nothing but pride in his dancing elite workshops and conventions. abilities. He showcases his moves on his “I didn’t tell any of my friends YouTube channel, Lhiphop10. for the first two years,” he said. In a sport that’s dominated by “But now they all know and think women, Thompson is a trailblazer I’m a good dancer.” and a leader for other young Having young, talented boys boys. like Thompson succeed in such “I think Logan has a spectacua big way inspires confidence in lar amount of talent, especially other young male dancers, Morwith hip-hop,” said Ashley Morrow said. row, a longtime dancer and the “Young boys, I think, feel a owner of The Dance Movement. sense of pride when they dance, “You don’t get a lot of kids who and in a way feel like they have can do what he can do.” to prove to everyone that dance The majority of students at The is more than just pink tutus and Dance Movement are female, but fluffy things,” she said. “Logan Morrow says she sees a trend in does that.” the number of boys taking up the

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

YOUR FITNESS

■ FOOD: Incredibly creamy sauce, excellent on any type of pasta

RECIPE
of the week

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
from AllRecipes.com

Cold running
Springbank Park is a hub for walkers and joggers all year round.

■ EXERCISE: Tips for joggers to keep active and safe during the winter months
When the mercury dips and the cold weather hits, many people abandon their outdoor fitness routines for the comfort of indoor gyms. But, with a little preparation and motivation you can easily extend your outdoor exercise routine in the winter. Footwear While winter walking is a good way to warm up and workout, it’s important to make sure you’re shoes can handle the conditions. Paul Roberts, owner of the New Balance store in Hyde Park, recommends winter walkers purchase a sturdy urban walk shoe when conditions start to cool. “They have a more aggressive outer sole and many are Gore-Tex lined making them waterproof,” he said. “This will give you better traction and protect your feet from the elements.” For runners, he recommends a trail shoe, or covering their existing running shoes with Yak Trak’s, rubber covers that give shoes more traction when running on snow and ice. “If you don’t want to go out and get a whole new pair of shoes, you can use these,” he said. Roberts says the most important thing to consider when winter hits, is socks. “A lot of people don’t change their socks in the winter, and that is the most central part of the foot,” he said. “A wool sock can make a huge difference.” Wool keeps your feet warm, even when damp, which is important as a cold, wet body can be susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Wardrobe Layering is essential when exercising outdoors in cold weather. You want to ensure that you will be warm enough, but not too warm that you begin to sweat and run the risk of hypothermia later on. Dress so that you feel chilled when stepping outdoors, not toasty warm. As your body warms up with the exercise, it will reach a comfortable temperature. A windbreaker is good for blocking chilly, winter winds. Choose a jacket that will move with your body and not impede walking stride or jogging ability. Tights or yoga pants that wick moisture away will insulate your legs, and a fleece vest can help keep your body's core warm when it is particularly cold outside. Don't overlook gloves and a hat when walking. These items will prevent heat from escaping through your extremities. Safety Winter conditions may lead to snowblindness or reduced visibility for drivers. If you will be walking on roads, dress for visibility. Avoid colors that will blend in with snowy surroundings and opt for bright flashes of color that make you more visible, particularly at dawn, dusk and night. Whenever possible, do your outdoor exercising when the sun is up. You'll benefit from the mood-boosting properties of the sun and will have added warmth and visibility. Furthermore, spending time in the outdoor sun enables your body to produce vitamin D, which helps maintain healthy bones. Spending time outdoors can stave off winter doldrums and cabin fever. Exercise with a buddy, who can help you if you slip or fall on icy surfaces. Walking or running with a partner also is a great way to remain motivated.

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes I Serves 8 ■ Ingredients • 2 large red bell peppers • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic • ¼ cup of fresh basil • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ■ Preparation Instructions
1. Preheat broiler. Lightly coat the red peppers with olive oil. Grill peppers under the broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Place peppers in a paper bag or re-sealable plastic bag to cool fo approximately 45 minutes. 2. Remove the seeds and skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers easily now). Cut peppers into small pieces. 3. In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and red peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, so that the flavors mix. 4. Place mixture in blender (careful it is hot), and puree to desired consistency. Return puree to skillet, and reheat to a boil. Stir in the half-and-half and the Romano cheese; cook and stir until the cheese melts. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

• 2 cups of half-and-half • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese • 4 tablespoons of butter • salt and pepper to taste

YOUR HOMES
■ RESIDENCE: Homeowners considering move to condo need to find right fit

Life in a condo:
This new condo development in the Hyde Park area off of Sarnia Rd. is ideal for older couples looking to downsize.

It’s the dilemma most empty nesters face when preparing to down size: Is it time to move into a condo, or will a smaller home simply suffice? While the interior layouts of condos and bungalows are often similar – one story, two bedroom units with open concept living space – there are quite a few differences to consider when weighing your options. ■ Lifestyle When it comes time to downsize, couples really need to think about their style of living. “The biggest thing people need to consider is their personal life and

What you need to know

Single family bungalows like this one on Garnet Court, in Oakridge, are ideal for those not quite ready to make the leap into a condo. Condominium complexes like this one on Coronation St. in Hyde Park are popular with empty nesters who like to travel.

For aging couples that aren’t quite ready to jump into a condo, Baarda says a “sideways” move into a smaller home is often a smart move. ■ Fees Condos come with fees. Unlike homes, condos come with homeowners association fees. These fees cover the cost of maintenance and repairs to the property. This includes landscaping and garbage collection, as well as general repairs throughout the condominium complex. Fees vary significantly from community to community, and the best deal is not always the one with the lowest homeowners association fees. Low fees tend to provide less bang for the buck, generally covering only the most basic services. Higher fees often mean the community offers more amenities, such as a private pool and gym for

lifestyle,” said Steve Baarda, a sales representative with Royal LePage. If you’re a retired snowbird who likes to escape the Ontario cold for the southern sunshine each winter, a condo can provide peace of mind during your months abroad. “Condo’s allow for a freer lifestyle . . . It’s really nice to have your lawn cut and your garden cared for while you’re away,” Baarda said. “ It allows you to take off, lock the doors and head off to Florida.” But, if you love to spend your springs and summers tending to your backyard and gardens, the leap to a condo could be too drastic. Moving into a bungalow with a small yard could be a better fit.

residents. Some people prefer such amenities, while others would rather find better deals on their own. But prospective condo buyers must include fees in their monthly budgets when determining how much they can afford to spend. ■ Rules Condos come with rules. Owners of single-family homes can create their own rules for their households, while condo owners must agree to follow rules established by the homeowners association or the property management firm responsible for maintaining the community and enforcing the rules. Rules may not allow pets or only allow pets of a certain size. Other rules may restrict how owners can decorate their condos during the holiday season or how they can furnish the exterior of their properties, limiting patio furniture to a set

number of chairs or tables. Some condo owners are glad such rules are in place, while others might find such stipulations intrusive. Each community has different rules, and prospective buyers should familiarize themselves with a community’s rules before buying any properties within that community. ■ Privacy Condos are not as private as homes. Much like apartment dwellers, condo owners often share walls with neighbors. That means condo owners will have to sacrifice some privacy. Prospective buyers who consider privacy a top priority may want to continue living in a smaller home. Though condo owners rarely have someone living above or below them, sharing walls with neighbors is still not as private as owning a single-family home.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS 7

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

Here we

grow again
more people living in that area, there’s a lot more traffic in that area. Then we built the whole Smart Centre, WalMart, now Lowes and initially Sam’s Club, all of the retail up at Hyde Park and Fanshawe (Park Rd.). When we built it, it changed the traffic patterns in the city. So the west side of the city was not necessarily going to Westmount Mall or even to Masonville Mall, they were coming up through Byron and up Hyde Park Rd. You’ve just seen such a growing demand on the roads. And with houses come the need for water and sewers, and with the growth of businesses . . . comes the need for water and sewers. All of these things are a part of a growing city. When can residents and business owners expect the construction to end? A: I think we’ll see the bulk of the construction, particularly on Hyde Park Rd., happen in 2014 and 2015. That is going to be a challenge for all of us because it’s not just roads. There’s a major water main and pumping station upgrade happening. There’s also a major pumping station for sewage and a sewer main . . . People don’t realize some of this work is extremely complex . . . It’s hard slugging. It’s weather dependent and our staff have committed to doing everything we can to mitigate the impact on businesses and on residents. But, it will

YOUR POLITICS

Paul Hubert, Ward 8 councillor, sits behind his desk at Pathways Skills Development. In addition to his duties as councillor, Hubert is the executive director at Pathways where he works to help people break through barriers and obtain meaningful employment.

in the west

■ GROWTH: Ward 8 Coun. Paul Hubert asks for patience during west London infrastructure work
One of Paul Hubert’s goals when he was elected to city council back in 2006 was to improve the infrastructure in west London. The rapid expansion of both residential homes and commercial businesses has transformed the quiet west end into a hub of activity. Now, the city has to catch up. So we caught up with Hubert this week to get his two cents on the multi-million dollar project. Over the past decade the city has invested a huge sum of money improving the infrastructure in west London. More than $130 million has been spent upgrading roads and sewers. Why now is there such a need for these types of improvements in the west end? A: It’s really apparent when you look at the growth of houses in the west end. You look at that whole area off of Sarnia Rd and Beaverbrook (Ave.), that whole subdivision to the south of Sarnia Rd, the whole subdivision to the north of Sarnia Rd. in off of Hyde Park Rd, quite frankly, 10 years ago, we put up notices for public meetings and the only people there to receive them were raccoons, skunks and groundhogs. It has grown tremendously. You look at Gainsborough (Rd.) and Hyde Park, from Aldersbrook (Rd.) was farmland ten years ago. There’s a lot be inconvenient and we’re going to need the understanding of the public. We’re going to need their help. We’re going to need them to plan alternative routes, go a different way, and please be patient. But, at the end of the day it will be much better for the businesses and it will be much better for the residents. What advice can you give frustrated business owners and residents affected by the construction to help them get through the tough times? A: From a business owner’s perspective, don’t wait until the construction starts to go, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s construction.’ We’ve done a lot of public information sessions. There have been public meetings on the environmental assessment and road design meetings. Please inform yourself. Don’t hesitate to contact me or particularly Coun. (Matt) Brown. We’re working with the Hyde Park Business Association. Make a plan. And then we’ll try to do our best to minimize the impacts. For residents I think it’s being aware and planning alternative routes . . . Be aware that there’s more than one road that leads to the shopping mecca at Hyde Park and Fanshawe. I think it’s being patient, I think it’s planning ahead. Last week you wrote an opinion piece in the London Free Press expressing your frustration over the term "on the dole" being used to describe recipients of employment insurance and social assistance. You said that using old economy language stigmatizes those struggling to move forward. What are some of the biggest challenges people collecting EI and social assistance face today in London? A: I’m going to talk about structural challenges . . . It’s a challenging time. Manufacturing is changing. So, structurally our economy is changing. How it’s structured, where the jobs are, the types of jobs there are. For some, even where our new manufacturing is located is not on a bus route, so it’s very difficult for them to get to work. Or, it takes an hour and a half to get there, three buses. And that’s tough, that’s hard. Particularly if you have young children at home, how do you leave 6 o’clock to get there for a 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. start time? Now you’ve got the added costs of child before and after school care. There’s a whole myriad. My comments were particularly, you know what, it doesn’t help us to label people and say ‘that person over there,’ because that person may be your neighbour, that person may be your uncle, that person may be your brother or your sister. Our youth unemployment is 19% and they’re having a hard time finding that first job and so they’re flipping burgers and they’re working at Starbucks, which are all good things, but let’s be really careful that we don’t marginalize the marginal and stigmatize them, because the stigma cuts both ways . . . It’s not helpful to us, us being the city, it’s not helpful to the individual and it’s not helpful to our local businesses. In your opinion, what can the city do to assist this vulnerable portion of the population? A: We need to create opportunities. Council said we’re a city of opportunity and I have long said the best social service policy we could have is a vibrant, growing economy. The private sector is really the solution, not government. We need to make sure the conditions are there that will encourage business, small business particularly. I’m a big small business fan, because eight out of 10 people here work at a business that has fewer than 20 employees. That’s where the growth happens, so we need to make sure that we don’t have impediments to business growing and we need to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure we have a vibrant, local economy. That’s the best thing.

YOUR BUSINESS
■ SHOPPING: Ogilvies Food and Artisan Christmas Market offers alternative to big box stores

Christmas market showcases small businesses
Ogilvies Food and Artisan Market is transforming itself into a holiday shopping destination this winter. The Hyde Park Rd. farmers’ market will open its Christmas market this coming Saturday, Nov. 16. Steve Check and Tracey Conrad, the owners of Nature’s Image landscaping company, are managing the Christmas market. Their plan is to give west London residents a local alternative to big box stores when it comes to holiday shopping. “We want to try to convince people to buy locally instead of globally,” Check said. “We’re going up against the big box stores as a group of small independent business people.” Ogilvies opened on Hyde Park Rd. in June and was a huge success with the community throughout the summer and fall. Dozens of vendors flocked to the market to sell their fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and gifts. Hundreds of residents visited each weekend to shop and snack. Check and Conrad saw the potential at Olgivies early on and opened a booth for Nature’s Image. As the weather cooled and the farmers packed up their produce, the couple saw the opportunity for a Christmas market, and decided to take on the challenge. “It just seemed to be the right fit for us,” Check said. “We want the public to know they can come here and find something unique.” Nature’s Image is selling Christmas trees, holiday greenery and gift items outdoors. The Hungary Butcher, as well as a fresh produce vendor will be selling food indoors. Inside, there’s also a café where hungry shoppers can warm up with a hot drink and treat. Check says local vendors interested in selling holiday gift items are welcome at Ogilvies. He also wants to give space for local community groups and schools to do their holiday fundraising. “They’ll have an easier time here instead of jammed up outside of the Superstore selling hot dogs,” Check said. “We’ll always have space available for organizations looking for fundraising opportunities. ■ For more information about vendors and fundraising opportunities call 519-281-7029. IF YOU GO What: Ogilvies Food and Artisan Christmas Market Where: 1331 Hyde Park Rd. When: Saturday Nov. 16, 9 am – 4 pm

Steve Check and Tracey Conrad are managing the Ogilvies Food and Artisan Christmas Market this holiday season.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS 9

YOUR COMMUNITY
■ REMEMBRANCE DAY: Hundreds come out to honour Canadian veterans at Bryron parade

A day to remember

Legion members and cadets stand at attention during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Byron.

during the Re heads in prayer r ei th w bo rs legion membe Residents and de in Byron. ra pa y brance Da

mem-

The Byron Legion held its annual Remembrance Day parade Saturday afternoon drawing hundreds of residents out of their homes to celebrate the somber occasion. Members of the community lined the streets while veterans, legion members, and cadets marched through Byron accompanied by the sounds of the Mocha Shriners trumpet band. Around 1:30 p.m. there was a short ceremony outside the legion. Conservative MP Ed Holder, NDP MPP Peggy

Sattler and Mayor Joe Fontana were among those laying wreaths. ‘These people took an extreme risk on behalf of all of us,” said Sattler. “Today we have our freedoms, we have our democracy. These things that they fought for make a world of difference to us.” Legion president Jim Campbell was impressed with the parade’s turn out and said it reflects the tight-knit nature of the Byron community. “London is fortunate to have within its great city, a rather unique commu-

London-west MPP Pe the Byron Remem ggy Sattler lays a wreath with a leg brance Day parade ion member durin . g

nity,” he said. “As a community we like to celebrate Remembrance Day.” Campbell also used the occasion to announce a fundraiser the legion is holding for Marilyn Brooks, the grandmother of Tyler Brooks-Szabo, the 10-year-old who was hit by a car while riding his bike in east London with friends last month. Brooks has been a member of the legion and one of its bartenders for 15

years, said Wayne Thompson, the legion’s bar manager. Brooks lives with Tyler and his family in a basement apartment. He remains in the hospital in critical condition and will likely need a lifetime of assistance. The fundraiser is a way to help offset those costs, Thompson said. “Marilyn is a part of our family,” he said.

On Saturday, the legion is holding a spaghetti dinner, silent auction and dance. Tickets are $10 for the dinner and the proceeds go to help Tyler. For those can’t attend Saturday night, the legion is accepting cash and cheque donations in its clubhouse all week. For cheque donations they ask that in the memo line people write “For Tyler.” IF YOU GO What: Spaghetti dinner, silent auction, and dance for Tyler Brooks-Szabo Where: The Byron Legion, 1276 Commissioners Rd. W When: Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. Cost: $10 donation

YOUR NEIGHBOUR
■ VISION: Jamie Topp wants Nor’West Optimist Club to branch out beyond youth programming

A man with a plan
BRENT BOLES Neighbours
To donate as much time as Jamie Topp does, it takes a unique level of dedication. For the last eight years he’s given countless hours to the Nor’West Optimist Club and is just coming off a two-year stint as president. “I love what we do, I love the people . . . I call them a dedicated group of psychos because we all just love it,” laughed Topp. The club, founded in the early 1970’s, offers a wide range of support for the London area. That means everything from organizing bicycle safety workshops to sponsoring the Special Olympics and running breakfast programs for kids in schools. “We have to do as much as we can in this community, to help this community,” he said. The club is also known for running a popular youth soccer program. That’s how Topp got his start as a coach with Nor’West when his children were first learning to kick the ball around. They stopped playing six years ago, but Topp still coached three teams last year. “I don’t know who has more fun, the kids or me,” he said. With the size of the program, the group relies on that sort of passionate volunteer. Topp estimates about 2,200 children and teens laced up their cleats last year. “It’s just been growing by leaps and bounds.” But part of Topp’s vision for the club is to branch out beyond youth programming. “They were very much youth driven. I’ve tried to change that so we’re more community oriented.” The community engagement will be on full display on Nov. 30 when the group marches down Gainsborough Rd. for the Santa Claus parade. They’re organizing the event alongside the Hyde Park Lions club. In order to get more people involved with the organization, Topp also made a move to eliminate the dues that members have traditionally paid. “People don’t want to pay to work and I don’t blame them.” Since cutting the fees, membership has doubled from 15 to 30. The influx of new blood will be vital to help the club evolve, said Topp. “I think you’ll see new ideas coming in, which is going to be really good.” Based on the success of the Santa Claus parade, he envisions more collaborative projects with other area clubs in the future. “We’re all working towards one goal, when you think about it.” But Topp’s reign as president comes to an end this fall and he will have to pass the torch. His successor? His wife. In the meantime, Topp is looking forward to the parade and everything that comes with it. “You stand on that float or you walk in the parade and you see people smiling or laughing and that’s why you do it,” said Topp. “I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
Former president of the Nor'West Optimist Club, Jamie Topp plays goal in front of a mural painted in the group's headquarters.

I love what we do, I love the people... I call them a dedicated group of psychos Jamie Topp because we all just love it." ~ Former Nor'West Optimist
Club president

10

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS 11

AROUND the‘hood
Jane Troller helps with the Christmas tree display at the Maycourt Marketplace at the Bellamere Winery and Event Centre Saturday afternoon.

▲ The Mocha Shriners trumpet band plays the Last Post at the Byron Remembrance Day parade Saturday.

Elinor Des Rosiers, Joan McConnell, Gail Turpin and Dorothy Panabacker volunteer at the Maycourt Marketplace at the Bellamere Winery and Event Centre Saturday afternoon.

A group of young Beaver Scouts anxiously watches the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Byron Legion. Nancy Jane Coups and Bonnie Bates check out winter décor at the Maycourt Marketplace at Bellamaere Winery and Event Centre Saturday.

London-West MP Ed Holder lays a wreath during Byron’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
Lorraine Ball and Leena Adel, Maycourt members volunteer at the Maycourt Marketplace at Bellamere Winery and Event Centre Saturday.

▲ The London Men Marketplace at Be of Accord choir sings Christmas ca ro llamere Winery an d Event Centre Sa ls at the Maycourt turday.
Kathy DeVal, Kay Fillman and Agnes McCallum volunteered their time to help out with the St. George Christmas bazaar on Saturday.

om the bucket raffle winner fr tmas bazaar a s ck pi ea dr Lianne Notaran lsza at the St. George Chris afternoon. Bu Saturday held by Becky

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • NEIGHBOURS

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