With the coming of summer and the provincial election behind us we are still quite busy after our annual general meeting. We had record participation this year: 500 were online with a total of 450 voting members.
We welcomed a new councillor, Matthew Campbell, and completed the final draft of a new OALA Public Relations Communications Strategy, which will help as we begin our messaging to municipal and provincial politicians, and senior staff.
OALA Councillor for Mayor
I would especially like to recognize our councillor Shawn Watters who will be running for the Mayor of Centre Wellington in the October municipal election. We wish Shawn great success in his campaign.
At Niagara Parks, where I work, there is a surge in bookings for special events and gatherings this summer. Comments from guests suggest a heightened demand caused by restrictions over the last two years.
We should pay close attention to how public spaces are being used this summer to see if new or different behaviours are placing unique pressure on parks, waterfronts, streetscapes, and trails.
I will be watching how the commercial patio space evolves as many businesses have taken their pilot outdoor patio concepts and formalized those spaces. Here in Niagara Falls, temporary lane conversions to outdoor patios are gaining in popularity and municipal acceptance as a new summer normal. Landscape architects need to open up complete street discussions in their municipalities.
Finally, after two years of virtual gatherings, our members have the opportunity to network together with Ontario Planners at the upcoming September joint conference in London, Ontario. This year’s theme is “2GETHER”: 2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate—a great opportunity for the professional disciplines who advocate for the public realm to discuss and learn about building more equitable, accessible, and inspired communities. Please see the OALA website for more details on keynote presentations and education sessions, as well as a joint awards soiree evening.
I look forward to seeing many colleagues in person on September 21st and 22nd.
Steve Barnhart, OALA, CSLA