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Harbourfront Centre at York Quay - Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

President's Message

2022: The Year of Landscape Architects

The New Year is a time to look forward. With all 2022 before us, time seems bountiful to complete our goals. After the holiday break, I hope that you feel as recharged as your Association’s team, represented by dedicated volunteer Councillors, along with our talented staff.

Before looking forward, I want to reflect on our successes in 2021. It was a remarkable year for all of us at OALA, despite the circumstances. There was a story published in May’s issue of Municipal World by Councillor Cynthia Graham on “The New Medicine: How COVID-19 Made Parks Essential to Healthy Cities.” We also received great coverage across numerous outlets, including Niagara’s CKTV, the Windsor Star, Mark and Ben Cullen’s podcast Green File, and the Brian Crombie Hour that aired on radio and TV. More recently, a number of stories have appeared which reflect peaked interest in the work of landscape architects.

We have also had success in our pursuit of a Professional Practice Act. Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath endorsed this goal in a greeting prepared for the 2020 Annual General Meeting. This past year, we have met with members of all parties who have also expressed their support. Furthermore, Attorney General Doug Downey, whose Ministry is responsible for the OALA file, has agreed to formally meet with us for the first time.

I am pleased to announce we are growing our staff, as Council had approved a new position in our 2021 budget. A new full-time permanent position has been created: Membership Services Support Administrator.

Your Council has also developed a theme framework for the new 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, to ensure our messages and activities are fresh and clear. A call for proposals was issued in early December for a new communication and public relations plan. It will also help with our business plan’s tactical approach for messaging as we head into an election year, both provincially and municipally.

Finally, I truly thought we would have the majority of COVID issues behind us. Unfortunately, we are not completely over this pandemic and your Council has decided to continue with a virtual Annual General Meeting on April 28th, with the hope a larger, in-person educational Conference can happen later this year. I hope everyone will continue to stay safe and enjoy the outdoors.

Steve Barnhart, OALA, CSLA
OALA President
[email protected]