GENERAL UPDATE - Post-Tornado - OCTOBER 2, 2018
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Over the past twelve days, the Trend Arlington Community Association (TACA) has been very proud to have served our community in these challenging times. We will continue to do so throughout the days, weeks, and months ahead. Although this has been a hard time, it has also been a remarkable time. Our community has forever grown stronger and closer. Despite all that we’ve lost, we will reap the benefits of this greater community spirit for a long time. As we’ve said a lot lately, despite the mess, it’s still the greatest place to live in Ottawa.
At this time, we wish to provide our community with a general update on several matters of importance and interest. We hope to provide a much more detailed report on current and pending actions very soon, including a thorough extension of gratitude to the large number of organizations, businesses and stakeholders who came to our assistance when it was needed.
CLEARING TREES & DEBRIS
From the morning after the tornado struck Arlington Woods on Friday, September 21, TACA was actively involved in the organization and deployment of volunteers and chainsaw teams to clear yards and public property of debris and fallen trees. Thanks to the “instant partnerships” we struck with our wonderful neighbours at Arlington Woods Church and the amazing relief efforts of Samaritan’s Purse, as well as the over 200 volunteers that TACA recruited, we were able to provide organized and effective relief efforts to dozens of families. We were in regular dialogue with City representatives and Councillor Keith Egli, to ensure these efforts were as safe and effective as possible. As of Friday, September 28, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue have taken over the clean-up and volunteer efforts, with the new Incident Command Centre now set up at Woodvale Pentecostal Church. Please visit the City of Ottawa Tornado Recovery Resource page:
FOOD & SHELTER
Many residents and families in our neighbourhood have been displaced from their homes, and are continuing to face challenges with meeting simple daily needs and resuming routines. Through the generosity of our community and local support organizations, TACA would like to continue supporting our community’s needs by helping to coordinate and financially support some of this relief. Through our close connection with FAMSAC Emergency Food Shelter, we can help residents get a delivery of an emergency food basket. Through the initiative of local residents like Lisa Wright, we’re hoping to make school lunches for kids from affected families. If you are in need please complete this simple Google Form:
We are also in communication with several residents and relief organizations who are offering up space in their homes for people who have been displaced. We know that asking for help is sometimes just as hard as being in need of help, but we ask our community to help us provide that support by getting us in touch with those who might benefit.
OUR TREES: A MEMORIAL & RE-PLANTING
It is hard for people who live outside of Trend Arlington to fully grasp what the loss of hundreds of our trees means to each of us. Mercifully, no one died in this devastating storm. But to most of us, it absolutely feels like there has been a death. Our trees mean that much. And the future of these trees - those that have fallen, those that remain, and the vast empty space between them – is a clear point of concern to us all.
As your community advocates, from the moment the tornado struck the Trend Arlington Community Association has been actively involved in collecting accurate information from residents about the trees and through discussions with City officials. While these are very early days, we wish to let our community know that the TACA Executive are in meetings this week with the Mayor, with our MP Chandra Arya, with Councillor Keith Egli, with other officials at City of Ottawa’s Public Works & Environmental Services, to have a discussion on the future of our trees and forest, as well as a fitting memorial. We are also in regular communication with former TACA President and community activist James O’Grady, who has already initiated a robust re-forestation plan that will be discussed in this week’s meetings, and which our fundraising campaign will continue to support. We are also fortunate that there is a City of Ottawa forester who lives in our community, who will be joining us on this worthy effort.
We will provide more details in the week to come, but we wish to reassure everyone that we have already received numerous assurances and offers of support from these officials, including a confirmation that a large number of our fallen trees have already been put on reserve for our community’s future use. We are also monitoring and involved in many conversations about a fitting memorial. We absolutely intend to strike a larger conversation about all of these matters soon, after we get a reliable sense of the parameters from local officials.
OUR FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN & OTHER SUPPORTERS
In the days after the tornado struck, TACA launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed to support several short-term and long-term elements of our relief efforts.
To date that campaign has been quite successful, and we have raised almost $9,000. The stated objectives of the campaign had been to support:
a) an emergency fund for immediate needs of affected residents;
b) an investment in upcoming TACA programming, so that we might be able to lift our community’s spirits with a celebratory event;
c) a fitting memorial; and
d) costs associated with re-planting.
The TACA Executive has not yet had time to formally meet in order to begin allocating these funds, except to offer assurances for small requests as received from the community (e.g. covering costs for volunteers who have been making lunches for affected families; delivering food baskets). We have also been approached with a request to extend the funds’ support to affected families in Craig Henry, which we absolutely will. Those families are also members of our larger community. We wish to assure you that these funds will be democratically and conscientiously allocated, through TACA’s Executive as well as the possible additional of a Special Committee. We welcome suggestions for how to use the funds, especially if anyone wishes to let us know of immediate emergency uses. Please visit our fundraising page here:
Here are just a few measures that TACA will be putting in place in the near future so that we might best serve and advocate for our community:
• Radio campaign: Thanks to the efforts of local resident Shana Levin, we have been granted a significant amount of free broadcast time on Ottawa’s Jewel Radio (98.5 FM). Members of the TACA Executive will be broadcasting frequently to inform the City of Ottawa about what’s happening in Arlington Woods: telling our story, letting people know what we need, and extending our thanks to businesses and organizations who stepped up.
• Special Committee on Property Development: TACA is will be striking a Special Committee to serve in a protective and pre-emptive manner against the likelihood of property developers attempting to take advantage of our neighbourhood’s situation. We do not want to see our entire neighbourhood transformed into something that it is not and was not. We will be bringing this concern to the Mayor in our meeting this week.
• If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we have an amazing community that is engaged in each other’s well-being. TACA wishes to seize this opportunity to open up a wider and more consistent conversation with our community. We will be launching new measures in the next few days and weeks to better communicate with as many residents as possible. These measures will include a new membership drive, door-to-door introductions, and the building of a new and more effective TACA website.
• Please be sure to “Like” us on Facebook to receive regular updates: https://www.facebook.com/TrendArlington/
• Subscribe to our email mailing list via the “Subscribe” tool in the right hand sidebar on our current website: http://trendarlington.ca/
We live in an amazing community. Let us be grateful for that, and let’s take care of those who need us.
The Executive of the Trend Arlington Community Association