December Note from the Parkdale Board President

Presidents Message Parkdale

Hello, Parkdale Neighbours!

It is my privilege to begin my term as President of the Parkdale Community Association (PCA). Let me begin by introducing myself and my family. My name is Amanda Affonso and I have been a Parkdale resident since 2014. My family and I moved to Parkdale from the community of Northern Hills, where both my husband, Jason, and I served on our community association board. Our daughter is eight and loves living by the river and visiting with our neighbours. She decorates our front door and keeps our free little library stocked for everyone. I joined the Board a year ago, primarily because I wanted to advocate form more amenities in our community including a community school and grocery store. Joining the PCA Board was a very direct way that I could influence Parkdale.

This is an exciting time for our community as we celebrate a major milestone. Parkdale is turning 65 years old on December 29th. We have community members that have been here the entire time, some left and returned, and others have just joined. I’m excited about celebrating Parkdale and I hope you will be interested in some of the ideas we have to mark the occasion throughout 2019.

While turning 65 years old is a happy occasion, we are at a turning point for the future of the association. While I am grateful for the hardworking board members and committee volunteers who ensure programs and events are welcoming, fun and engaging for our community, we are struggling financially to keep our aging infrastructure intact and the PCA building operating. Developing our outdoor skating rink and maximizing our building use have both stalled due to lack of funds and our ability to demonstrate financial stability. I am convinced as a community we will come together to find a solution to our financial issues and make the right recommendation and decision for Parkdale.

Each month I will provide an update to the community on the pressing issues and financial vitality of our organization. The biggest challenge we have is keeping the lights on at the community centre. The operating costs associated with running a building are colossal. For many community associations like PCA, The City provided a building with the expectation that programming, services, maintenance, and lifecycle investments will all be delivered by the community association. Our Parkdale Community Association is the primary provider of civic services in our neighbourhood without the support of the property taxes paid by our own members to fund such amenities. This is an issue I am passionate about and I know there are others who echo this sentiment.

PCA is incredibly good at convening the community. A great example is the Kids Soccer Program. We have hundreds of kids participating and we do this successfully and generate a small profit. The challenge we have is generating enough revenue to keep our building functioning and to support the lifecycle costs of aging infrastructure. I mentioned that we moved here from Northern Hills Community. Like the PCA, they have a Planning and Development Committee to review development applications and participate in city consultations. They have a Soccer Committee to provide program opportunities for their residents. Unlike the PCA, the Northern Hills has almost 80,000 residents to draw membership dues from. In Parkdale, we have only 2,600 residents in 1,100 residences, a much smaller base to draw memberships and recruit volunteers. Not to mention, to be expected to deliver on the same civic responsibilities.

Building a financially sustainable future for Parkdale is no easy task. We need your help. There are three specific ways you can help.

The first is to get involved. We need a volunteer to fill a critical role as Legal Advisor. This doesn’t need to be a Board member, but we need someone who can provide advice and counsel as we navigate our options on the use of our building including leasing agreements and public use policies as stipulated by The City.

The second is to purchase a Parkdale Community membership. Membership grants you voting rights during our annual AGM, but more importantly it funds the community programs we offer including the Parkdale Soccer Program. Purchase your 2019 membership online at Family membership is only $26.25, single is $21.00, and senior is $5.25. For more on the benefits of membership

And the third is to engage and shape the future of Parkdale. As I mentioned, we are at a critical state and we need your input on several tough decisions for the future of our community association. I encourage you to contact our Council Representative, Druh Farrell, and ask her to become an advocate for grassroots community programming. Community associations need champions on Council looking for creative ways to make small associations viable.

I look forward to connecting with you and encourage you to reach out as well. As we move forward together to build the best Parkdale possible, we will positively engage with The City, our residents and our local businesses.

Amanda Affonso

Twitter @affonsoamanda