History of the AWWCA

Anniversary Cake

In the Beginning—1998 and 1999

Concern over the building of monster rental houses in 1995 prompts Linda Grigg and Joy James to form a steering committee in the summer of 1998. A name, logo, and byline are chosen. Modeled after the association’s byline, Building Community Block by Block, a block-representative system is organized, with 100 representatives.

The first meeting of the new grassroots association is held in September 1998. Its mission is to provide an effective collective voice for resident homeowners about issues that directly affect their lives.

A membership campaign includes a survey of members’ concerns. A good-neighbour brochure is produced for distribution in the community. Twelve committees are struck, including a New Entrance to McMaster Committee. By the spring of 1999 regular newsletters are in production, co-ordinated by executive-committee member Rick Grigg. Bright yellow window signs with the AWWCA radianthouse logo and the message Because We Care make their debut.

Several executive-committee members sit on the McMaster Area Task Force, and 250 residents attend a community consultation April 14 to review a draft report produced by the task force. After the meeting the final recommendations are presented to the City of Hamilton planning and development committee. An implementation committee begins its work.

On May 19, 1999, close to 80 members of the AWWCA gather at Dalewood School to finalize the constitution and bylaws, and the steering committee delivers exactly what they had set out to deliver:

An established association with a fully registered membership of over 300 resident homeowners, along with a network of block representatives, plans for election of an executive committee, a healthy bank balance, accounting mechanisms, and a structure for administering an association like the AWWCA.

President Phyllis Tresidder noted: “We’re putting ourselves in a position of knowing about and guiding change in our community rather than having to react to changes brought to bear by others.”

Property standards and noise are identified as the chief concerns of members. Also noted is the increasing number of rental properties.

Membership levels reach 350 by the autumn of 1999.

Entering the 21st Century—2000

St. Catharines residents living close to Brock University contact AWWCA executive-committee members for advice. The AWWCA suggests they work with the police. The Hamilton Police Service reports that the AWWCA is likely the first university-area neighbourhood association to form a working relationship with their local police service. It appears Brock University’s neighbours will be the second.

The AWWCA supports an initiative of the Kirkendall neighbourhood regarding regional and provincial environmental controls, particularly the process of reviewing Certificate of Approval applications for Discharge to Air by industry in our region. A supporting letter is drafted for presentation to council. The initiative is supported by most other neighbourhood groups in Hamilton.

The Regional Municipality of Hamilton proceeds with an environmental assessment for the newly proposed Main Street West entrance to McMaster University, including its impact on surrounding neighbourhoods. The process includes studying traffic patterns, transportation routes, and land-use issues. The need for a neighbourhood plan is noted, and the AWWCA is represented on the Community Advisory Committee that ensues. We circulate a petition regarding housing concerns due

to the double cohort and present it to the university’s board of governors. Our neighbourhood concerns are also reported by The Hamilton Spectator.

The 30-foot steel and concrete structure proposed by the city parks department to provide shade at the children’s playground in Churchill Fields is opposed by residents, and the city plants six trees instead.

AWWCA members monitor liquorlicense applications and successfully have them modified or withdrawn.

AWWCA president Phyllis Tresidder is named Woman of the Year for community service by the City of Hamilton.

Executive-committee member Lauren Arkell redesigns the newsletter, and charter executive-committee member Janet Woodward takes over co-ordination of the newsletter with the summer 2000 issue. Because We Care buttons are produced. E-mail communication with members is noted in the newsletter for the first time. A letter of introduction to the AWWCA is produced.

The AWWCA joins with the McMaster Students Union and the McMaster Faculty Association to persuade the university to stop displaying third-party advertising on its new Mactron sign, to turn the sign away from the residential area, and to limit its hours of operation.

The AWWCA executive agrees to subsidize members for two years up to $100 per year for the cost of a resident making an appeal for a cause that reflects the general principles of the AWWCA.

Pollution of Dalewood Creek from sewer spillage results in an education campaign in the newsletter by AWWCA member Bill Farkas to support the construction of a combined-sewer overflow tank to protect public health and the environment. An environment committee is formed.

Neighbourhood planning begins. The AWWCA also participates in a new Coalition of Ontario University Neighbourhoods to lobby provincial and federal authorities.

Inappropriate real-estate ads promoting single-family homes as investment properties are reported to the Real Estate Council of Ontario and the Hamilton-Burlington and District Real Estate Board.

Paid-up membership grows to 375.

2001—the Environment and McMaster Take Centre Stage

The AWWCA’s environment committee is led by executive-committee member Stefania Miller. Executive-committee member Kenneth Sherman, also on the environment committee, organizes a press conference to call upon the “new City of Hamilton to prioritize the cleanup of Cootes Paradise from sewage runoff at a Sterling Street overflow pipe in a ravine near Whitton Road.” The committee organizes the first neighbourhood cleanup of the ravine area and starts to mobilize support for the new city government to make it a priority to install a holding tank to keep combined-sewer overflows from spilling sewage into Dalewood Creek.

Arrangements are made to store AWWCA newsletters permanently in special collections at the main branch of the Hamilton Public Library. Our newsletter designer resigns, and newsletters are contracted out in 2001.

McMaster’s President’s Advisory Committee on Community Relations presents its first community-service award to Betty and Jim Bechtel, who were among the founding members of the AWWCA.

Executive-committee member Betty Bechtel works closely with Hamilton police, providing regular police and security updates to members through the AWWCA newsletter and via e-mail. She is invited to represent the AWWCA on the police superintendent’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Executive-committee members Linda and Rick Grigg organize a petition leading the Committee of Adjustment to deny six applications to enclose five garages on Ward Avenue and one on Royal Avenue at student-rental properties owned by one person. The removal of six off-street parking spaces would have added to parking problems, and the gross floor area would have been more than twice the maximum permitted.

In a meeting with Councillor Marvin Caplan, the AWWCA asks him to arrange for “no truck” signs to be installed on the residential streets around Dalewood School and Prince Philip School and asks for enforcement of the ban.

McMaster University Staff Association members vote to strike and ask the AWWCA to act as a community liaison to mitigate negative effects the strike might have on the surrounding neighbourhood.

Community groups, including the AWWCA, write a letter of concern to the mayor and council about the cosmetic use of pesticides. Vandalism and graffiti are noted as problems and solutions proposed.

Executive-committee member Loreen Jerome’s first essay for a new section of the newsletter, The Way We Were, appears in the autumn 2001 issue.

The City of Hamilton includes the AWWCA on notices of applications for variances. Loreen sorts through them on behalf of the neighbourhood. Two successful interventions by executive-committee members are the result.

Executive-committee member Carolyn Kinsley writes a letter to the Committee of Adjustment and attends the hearing to help defeat a variance application by Vector to erect a large, double-faced rooftop billboard at 1685 Main St. W.

On Nov. 19, 2001, the AWWCA is incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario.

On to 2002

The AWWCA meets with Mayor Bob Wade and points out McMaster’s draft campus plan does not include student housing, on or off campus, and asks him to introduce bylaws to control the conversion of single-family houses to rental units. It was noted that the McMaster Area Task Force Report states that a reduction in the concentration of student housing is necessary to maintain balanced neighbourhoods. The AWWCA also raises concerns with the city and the university about the approaching double cohort in 2003.

AWWCA members Bob and Michelle Edmonds volunteer their expertise to redesign and lay out the newsletter. The board chooses a name for the newsletter: Neighbourhood News & Views. The new format, launched with the spring issue, includes a masthead for the first time. It shows Janet Woodward as newsletter coordinator, Carolyn Kinsley as copy editor, and Malcolm Horsnell as editorial consultant.

After being denied a variance in 2001, Vector applies for a variance at 1685 Main St. W. for another type of billboard 49 per cent larger. Phyllis and Warren Tresidder attend the Committee of Adjustment to present the AWWCA’s letter of objection and respond on behalf of the AWWCA. This application is also denied.

George R. Allan School celebrates its 75th anniversary, and the AWWCA gives it coverage in the spring issue of Neighbourhood News & Views.

The AWWCA meets with MPP David Christopherson to discuss, among other things, the noise and lights from Highway 403 that disturb nearby residents. Mr. Christopherson had previously asked for a noise study. He pursues the issue and announces in September that light baffles will be installed.

The city places signs at 23 combinedsewer overflows warning of possibly contaminated water. After two community meetings sponsored by the AWWCA, the city announces it is prepared to do an environmental assessment and endorses the establishment of a Community Advisory Committee made up of volunteers from Ward 1.

The AWWCA joins the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods, an umbrella group of community associations in Ontario formed to give a strong, unified voice at the provincial level.

The city begins a study for a secondary plan for Ainslie Wood and Westdale to control future land use, including redevelopment. This initiative is welcomed by the AWWCA which, since its inception, had lobbied for such a plan.

The AWWCA’s first annual spring cleanup is spearheaded by Dmitri Malakhov, a Grade 12 student at Westdale Secondary School.

Phyllis Tresidder is one of the four judges who chose the new name Chedoke Cootes for Ward 1.

At the annual general meeting, Friends of the AWWCA is introduced as a new class of membership. The revised constitution and bylaws are introduced and passed. Craig and Kleri Warren are presented with the first Because We Care Award, which is highlighted in the winter 2002 issue ofNeighbourhood News & Views.

And Then It Was 2003

The AWWCA’s second annual spring cleanup is held on April 26. It is organized by student Dmitri Malakhov, one of the AWWCA’s newest members, having just reached the minimum membership age of 18. The McMaster Students Union works with the City of Hamilton waste-management division to sponsor the second “dump and run” for pickup of household items discarded by students moving out of the neighbourhood; the AWWCA advertises it in the spring issue of Neighbourhood News & Views.

The Ainslie Wood Westdale Secondary Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, and the Infrastructure Master Plan are expected to be completed by June 2003. ASPECT (Ainslie Wood Westdale Secondary Plan Executive Committee and Team), a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, includes board members Phyllis Tresidder and Michael Bordin.

The AWWCA formally opposes to city council a proposed bus-fare increase, arguing for sustainable principles.

The AWWCA receives national press coverage when The National Post cites a story about the double cohort from the autumn 2002 issue of Neighbourhood News & Views, and the CBC interviews past president Phyllis Tresidder on housing pressures created by the double cohort.

The AWWCA follows through on recommendations from professional planner Ed Fothergill, hired in the spring of 2002, which include holding quarterly meetings with the Ward 1 councillor. City planning staff agree to meet with the AWWCA to review and hear comments on site-plan applications. Developers and city staff now realize it is good practice to consult the AWWCA before major development applications are made in our neighbourhood.

The AWWCA supports and promotes Trees Count, a program of Environment Hamilton, to gather information about our community’s trees. A comprehensive tree inventory of 1,391 trees in Westdale is carried out in the summer by more than 30 community volunteers, most of whom are AWWCA members. Our community was the first in Canada to have this program.

Liz Millar’s term of office as president ends September 2003. She is recognized for expanding the AWWCA’s contacts with other university cities and for representing the AWWCA at the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods, community workshops, Neighbourhood Watch, the Graffiti Abatement Project, and meetings with the mayor, city officials, and McMaster University’s administration and students. Rob Payne is voted in as president.

Rob discusses issues surrounding student housing at length in an article in the fall 2003 newsletter. On-campus student housing has declined to 20 per cent of full-time students from 24 per cent in 1980. Rob meets with McMaster’s vice-president of student affairs to discuss student-housing issues and urges the university to include future housing requirements in its planning documents and share these with the surrounding residential community.

The Westdale Village Policing Centre opens to assist community members, including students.

City council passes new backyard and property-standards bylaws.

2003 brings us to the completion of five years as an association.

Bring on 2004

New Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie reports on his work with the university administration to prepare a student-housing plan using a participatory model. The AWWCA has three board members on the McMaster President’s Advisory Committee on Community Relations.

Mr. McHattie arranges a meeting with new Mayor Larry DiIanni, AWWCA board members, and representatives of local MPP Judy Marsales. We identify student housing as a primary issue for residents of Ward 1. The mayor expresses interest in our suggestion of a downtown campus. AWWCA member Jurek Kolasa reports on the work of a lobby group of residents who live adjacent to the soon-to-becompleted McMaster Learning and Discovery Centre. Their intervention produces a more attractive building.

In May, the third annual AWWCA-sponsored spring cleanup and the first annual rail-trail cleanup take place.

The spring 2004 issue of Neighbourhood News & Views reports the findings of Environment Hamilton’s Trees Count audit done in the summer of 2003. Community volunteers, most of them AWWCA members, gathered information on 1,391 trees in Westdale. Ten community members form a committee of the AWWCA to review the Trees Count report and make recommendations about appropriate actions to protect and enhance Westdale’s urban forest.

The AWWCA keeps in contact with Waterloo and Kingston, and Waterloo hosts a Town and Gown Symposium.

Kenneth Sherman, the AWWCA’s representative on the Transportation Master Plan, recommends traffic calming and bike lanes for Westdale, and they are included in the plan and later installed.

The AWWCA suggests that the McMaster Students Union and McMaster University administration could improve the safety of off-campus student housing by encouraging student renters who feel they are living in unsafe conditions to let city inspectors inside, emulating a model at the University of New Brunswick, where the student union visits each prospective offcampus student house to approve it before it can be included in the university’s listings. After five hearings, over six years, before the Ontario Municipal Board, McMaster’s decision to sever and sell greenspace along Main Street West between Dalewood and Forsyth Avenues is overturned. This is due to the intervention and leadership of AWWCA president emerita Phyllis Tresidder.

The City of Hamilton names AWWCA police liaison Betty Bechtel Woman of the Year for community service. AWWCA president Liz Millar is presented with certificates from the City of Hamilton and the AWWCA for her community service. MPP David Christopherson presents the AWWCA with a framed certificate congratulating the association on its fifth anniversary. The AWWCA recognizes the contributions of Linda and Rick Grigg as they move out of the community.

At its Pinnacle Awards ceremony, the Canadian Public Relations Society presents Bob and Michelle Edmonds with an award of merit for Neighbourhood News & Views and certificates of recognition to Malcolm Horsnell, Carolyn Kinsley, and Janet Woodward for their work on the newsletter.

The AWWCA and Mr. McHattie meet with representatives from CP Rail. The company agrees to move their stockpile of smelly railway ties to an area away from nearby homes, allowing residents a more pleasant summer experience in their backyards.

Halfway Through the Decade, 2005

CTA banner in Westdale

Under the leadership of AWWCA president Rob Payne, the AWWCA enters into a formal partnership with McMaster University and the Westdale BIA to form the Campus Town Association (see banner), a not-for-profit organization focusing on improving the quality of life for all residents. The strategy is to find ways to combine McMaster’s international reputation for innovation with the many skills of people living in the community. The vision is to develop our neighbourhood as the model for campus towns in Canada.

In February, again through Rob’s leadership, Guelph, Kingston, Ottawa, and Windsor come together with Hamilton to form the Town and Gown Association of Ontario. The AWWCA is the first official member. A symposium in Guelph has Hamilton well represented with attendees from McMaster, the Hamilton Police Service, the Mohawk College neighbourhood, and Councillors Brian McHattie and Terry Whitehead.


AWWCA member Penny Palmer organizes a volunteer group to initiate a splash pad in Churchill Park. They hold a community meeting, gather signatures on a petition, and fundraise.

Churchill Park splash pad

In the spring, the AWWCA launches a contest to select the area’s most popular asset, accompanied by stories from three members on why they chose to live in this area. Winning entries are published and prizes announced in the autumn issue of Neighbourhood News & Views and posted at awwca.ca.

The Ainslie Wood Westdale plans (including the Official Plan Amendment to adopt the secondary plan, the community strategy, and zoningbylaw amendments) are approved by Hamilton’s planning and economic development committee on July 5 and approved by council on July 13. One of the key aspects of the community plan calls for intensification along major arteries such as Main Street West to allow threeor four-storey development with commercial use on the ground floor and housing above. The intent is to provide student housing in appropriate areas and reduce student housing in single-family homes. For three years AWWCA members and board members have been volunteering hundreds of hours representing the AWWCA on ASPECT (Ainslie Wood Westdale Secondary Plan Executive Committee and Team).

A community forum is jointly hosted by the McMaster President’s Advisory Committee on Community Relations, the MSU, the City of Hamilton, the AWWCA, the Westdale BIA, and the Hamilton Police Service. Representatives sign a 2005 policing plan with four goals in mind: reducing graffiti, reducing property crimes, improving road safety, and identifying and addressing disorderly persons. In addition, bicycle officers are deployed on Friday and Saturday nights from late September to the end of October to spot liquor violations and to identify large parties likely to violate the noise bylaw.

AWWCA board member Dmitri Malakhov, the Westdale BIA, and Staff Sgt. Scott Rastin organize a graffiti removal day.

McMaster starts building a 390-bed residence on campus.

Mr. McHattie is instrumental in reviving the City of Hamilton’s treeplanting program. Three hundred native trees are planted in Churchill Park, in addition to 467 trees planted in the neighbourhood. This follows several years of co-operation between AWWCA members and other area residents, various environmental groups, and the city. In 2002 a 300-year-old oak on Barclay Street had to be cut down; a replacement oak is planted in June of 2005, as a result of the efforts of the Westdale Tree Committee, a committee of the AWWCA formed in 2004. AWWCA members campaign to encourage homeowners to accept free city trees. The AWWCA promotes Tonnes for Trees, a program to reduce greenhouse gases, and the goal is exceeded. A program to help residents garden without pesticides, Green Yards– Healthy Neighbourhoods, is launched with Joyce Killin as the AWWCA’s liaison.

Board member Carolyn Kinsley writes to the co-chairs of the Royal Botanical Gardens’ review committee expressing our concerns about the future of Churchill Park.

The AWWCA introduces a new format for the annual general meeting so that members can meet one on one with city, police, and McMaster representatives before the formal meeting.

2006—Another Huge Year

The Hamilton Police Service (HPS) adds the new position of West Town crime manager and launches Operation Hush to deal with noisy pedestrian traffic. Warning signs are posted in the community so that offenders can be issued a fine on the spot.

Dmitri Malkhov

The AWWCA recognizes Staff Sgt. Scott Rastin for his work developing and implementing many new initiatives for our neighbourhood. These include the community-enhancement report, where community members can submit concerns or identify positive situations worthy of recognition, and forging a partnership between the university, the MSU, and the HPS to provide additional patrols on weekends around the university. Responding to a sudden spike in break-and-enters in Ainslie Wood and Westdale, Sgt. Rastin sets up a special squad that succeeds in decreasing these crimes compared to the previous year. He collaborates annually with community partners to develop a police business plan. He is recognized for his work with AWWCA board member Dmitri Malakhov to establish the Adopt-A-Box Program for graffiti reduction, launched in 2005.

Sgt. Rastin initiates an off-campus student restorative-justice program, called the Community Accountability Program. The MSU and McMaster administration provide funding for two years. Volunteers from the AWWCA help form a panel to develop ways for students to make amends.

The spring community cleanup celebrates five years of community residents helping to tidy up their neighbourhood.

The Edmonds, who designed and laid out Neighbourhood News & Views on a voluntary basis from 2001 to 2006, move out of the community, and the newsletter is contracted out once again.

The AWWCA launches its own website at awwca.ca, and the Town and Gown Association of Ontario launches its website at tgao.ca. These are two great resources for information about our neighbourhood and similar neighbourhoods.

Residents’ concerns with the Welcome Week pajama parade prompt the AWWCA to write to the MSU. This results in a meeting with the MSU president and promises of changes for the 2006 fall parade. The AWWCA is represented on the parade committee by board member Janet Woodward. Councillor Brian McHattie fast-tracks Churchill Park’s splash pad, and the city completes it in September.

Thanks to AWWCA board members Loreen Jerome and Carolyn Kinsley, the AWWCA influences the new city sign bylaw in four areas: posters will be allowed only at designated information kiosks or on approved poster sleeves; new rooftop signs will be banned; flashing or animated signs will be banned, except as specifically permitted under the bylaw; all mobile-sign operators must be licensed.

Details of the new purpose-built student complex being erected on the site of the old CNIB building are unveiled. The project is expected to be the first multi-use residential building in Canada to have LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum status—a rigorous environmental designation. Another proposed project on Ewen Road, to house 560 students, raises concerns including height and inadequate parking. The AWWCA writes to Mr. McHattie about residents’ concerns.

The pajama parade is a much better experience than in past years. Among other things, extra police patrol the parade route, a bylaw officer ensures property standards are adhered to, and student crews clean up the parade streets. The Student Community Support Network provides handouts for students on community relations. Community response is still mixed, so the MSU and residents continue to collaborate on improving the experience for everyone.

The Adopt-A-Box program, in its second year, is promoted by AWWCA board member Dmitri Malakhov. It has been so successful that most of this year’s cleanup involved garbage pickup rather than graffiti removal.

New AWWCA board member Ira Rosen forms a committee of the AWWCA to work with the city, McMaster University, and community members to help improve enforcement of, and response times to, property- standards bylaws.

The AWWCA partners with the City of Hamilton, the HPS, the MSU, McMaster University, and the Westdale BIA to recognize students who make a positive contribution to the community. A record of 502 paid-up members of the AWWCA is set in March.

Issues Come to a Head in 2007

The building of a new stadium on campus highlights a long-time neighbourhood concern: the university’s lack of an internal traffic plan and its illegal use of neighbourhood streets for heavy trucks. Led by AWWCA president Rob Payne, community meetings highlight the university’s awareness, as far back as 2000, that the Sterling Street entrance did not meet the city’s truck-route bylaws and was therefore off limits for heavy trucks. Despite this, up to 200 trucks per day travel on Forsyth Avenue to reach the Sterling Street entrance. The AWWCA asks the university to collaborate with nearby residents and the city in designing a transportation plan that works for all groups. The issue comes to a head in the fall. City council rules that the university must monitor the time and number of trucks using the Sterling Street entrance, pending completion of several capital projects, and that all truck traffic must stop by Jan. 31, 2008.

The city hires two bylaw officers for proactive enforcement of the new sign bylaw.

Investors continue to buy family homes despite a surplus of 152 vacant rental houses. The AWWCA has a display booth at Westfest for the second year and at Westitalia for the third year, both in Westdale Village. These initiatives are led by AWWCA board member Loreen Jerome, with support from Earl Jerome.

McMaster’s new David Braley Athletic Centre invites community memberships through AWWCA e-mail notices and Neighbourhood News & Views.

Inspired by the AWWCA’s community-assets inventory in 2006, in which walkability topped the list of residents’ explanations of “what makes Westdale great,” and a motion by Councillor Brian McHattie requesting a citywide pedestrian committee be established, the Ainslie Wood/Westdale walkability committee is formed. Led by AWWCA vice-president Alice Sabourin, with great support from Mr. McHattie, the committee becomes a pilot program with the city to promote walkability.

Based on residents’ concerns, the pajama-parade route is diverted from streets with many student rental houses; other ideas are implemented, and the AWWCA sponsors a booth where the AWWCA’s Because We Care buttons are distributed.

Over 200 residents attend the AWWCA’s annual general meeting in September, where Mayor Fred Eisenberger speaks about achieving town and gown balance in our community. Outgoing president Rob Payne is thanked for four years of excellent work, and John Wigle is voted in as the new president.

In late 2006, The Hamilton Spectator reports that the Ministry of Education has designated Westdale’s Dalewood Middle School and Ainslie Wood’s Prince Philip School “prohibitive to repair.” AWWCA president Rob Payne sends a letter of concern to Hamilton School Board trustee Judith Bishop and Mr. McHattie. A committee is struck with parent-council and AWWCA representatives to develop a preferred school plan for the West Hamilton area in advance of the next board review. Mr. McHattie notes that it is critical for the community to have full input in any board decision.

Milestone—10 Years in 2008

As of Jan. 31, heavy truck traffic has ceased on our residential streets, and the university has agreed not to pursue an extension of the temporary agreement. As a result of the AWWCA’s involvement, a new focus on collaborative solutions to traffic issues has been established.

TownGown WorldIn January, the AWWCA is selected as a best-practice community by TownGownWorld, a website dedicated to exploring planning issues that affect near-campus communities.

In April, 80 residents attend a meeting initiated by Councillor Brian McHattie to discuss the future of Churchill Park; every city park goes through a master-plan review every 20 years.

AWWCA member Mary Louise Piggott emphasizes that the meeting is to find out what those who use the park would like it to look like in the future. Additional trees planted in late 2007 bring the total to over 600 new trees in Churchill Park in the past three years. Most plantings were done by AWWCA members, who received notices of upcoming plantings via e-mail.

Stroud Road Park reconstruction is complete. It concludes efforts started by Kenneth Sherman in 2001 to improve sewage-overflow systems emptying into Cootes Paradise. (A community advisory committee working with the city had recommended a 15,000-cubic-metre underground storage tank be constructed in the park.) The reconstruction of the park means that excess rainwater and sewage are no longer discharged into Chedoke Creek and eventually Cootes Paradise. Additional park amenities are added as part of the reconstruction, including 38 new trees.

Earth Day cleanups, now organized by board member Janet Woodward, continue for the seventh year; the number of stations is increased to four, supervised by AWWCA board members. AWWCA members and others also participate in the annual West Hamilton rail-trail cleanup, organized by Ken Sherman.

Because We Care

Because We Care stickers are produced in the spring to replace our buttons; among other uses, they are given out at the AWWCA’s booth at the Sept. 3 pajama parade, which has been rerouted once again.

A new brochure encouraging readers to “make yourself at home in the west end” is published by the Campus Town Association (a partnership between McMaster University, the Westdale BIA, and the AWWCA) to promote the benefits of West Hamilton living. The brochure is used by McMaster representatives when they meet with leaders and employees of the federal government’s materials-technology laboratory, CANMET-MTL, relocating to Hamilton’s McMaster Innovation Park. Former AWWCA board member Alice Sabourin was instrumental in the creation of the brochure.

Streamlined procedures for bylaw enforcement are introduced by city staff and communicated to AWWCA members in April. The pilot procedure reduces compliance time for litter, waste, and property maintenance from 24 days to 11 days.

A program to recognize outstanding McMaster students who live in the community continues for the third year; it was launched in 2005 by the AWWCA, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Police Service, the MSU, McMaster University, and the Westdale BIA. At a gathering April 30, 13 students receive letters of appreciation for their contributions to Ainslie Wood and Westdale.

In May, AWWCA president John Wigle writes to Mr. McHattie summarizing our preferences regarding public elementary schools in the area.

The AWWCA supports keeping both Dalewood and Prince Philip Schools open, despite their prohibitive-to-repair rating. The AWWCA thinks that having academically excellent, walkable schools in the community attracts families and helps to keep Ainslie Wood and Westdale stable, balanced communities.

Hamilton Health Sciences announces that it proposes to close the emergency department at McMaster University Medical Center to adults. In response to an online poll on the AWWCA’s website, the AWWCA establishes the Access to the Best Care committee, headed by AWWCA member Dr. Ken Ockenden. The ABC committee publishes its report in June (see awwca.ca. Commitments are made to follow HHS plans closely and report to members.

In June, the AWWCA supports light-rail transit through the west end to reduce single-vehicle use, concentrate economic development along the Main West corridor and downtown, and make other neighbourhoods more accessible for students to live in and commute to the campus.

The AWWCA’s 10th-anniversary celebrations take place on June 28 on the main stage at Kidsfest (formerly Westfest) in Westdale Village. The City of Hamilton and the AWWCA each present Janet Woodward with an award In recognition of her service. A board member in charge of membership from the earliest days of the association, since 2000 Janet has also co-ordinated publication of Neighbourhood News & Views.

A record 570 paid-up members is reached on Aug. 31.

We thank AWWCA board member Lavinia Welsh for assembling this history. Originally published in the 2008 Spring and Autumn newsletters