BHNA wraps up first year in ‘hood

Considering the organization didn’t exist eight months ago, the Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association (BHNA) has had a stellar year. Kate Tennier, the Gerrard and Woodbine-area resident behind the group, said the success of the organization is largely due to timing. “I think the feeling is that there was really a need for an organization like this.”

In June, the ‘I’m a Local’ campaign was launched as the first initiative of what was then called the Gerrard-Woodbine Neighbourhood Association. The program has local residents sign up for a membership card, which allows access to various discounts at businesses on Gerrard between Bowmore and Devon (although the association covers the area from Coxwell to Glenmount Park Road, from the railway down to Eastwood/Corley). There are over 170 households signed up for the card so far, with an average of two more joining every week.

Over the summer, the group held a vote to ‘Name the ‘Hood’, with the final tally settling on Beach Hill (the name was in the lead before the condo at the corner of Gerrard and Woodbine was named).

Several benches were installed in front of partnering businesses along Gerrard. The BHNA has plans for more benches, as well as flower gardens around the base of new trees, which are set to be planted at the end of sidewalk replacement in spring of 2013. Tennier said the planting will be dependent on when the sidewalk work is finished – if it is too late in the summer, it will have to wait for the following year, although fingers remain crossed in the neighbourhood that everything will go smoothly, and work will be completed by June. Other possibilities being considered for the area include murals, and urban farming where space allows, she said.

The BHNA now has a semi-official structure, with a steering group, several members-at-large and about a dozen project coordinators. The idea, said Tennier, is to have the organization set up so that it’s not dependent on any one person.

The most recent event, in early December, was the inaugural Beach Hill Bake-O-Rama, organized by BHNA members Mary-Ann Setterington, Connie Crane and Michelle Ostafin. The event drew over 40 residents baking for the event, and almost 20 took part in the live bake-off. Many appetites were satiated, and almost $900 was raised, which will go towards beautification and events in 2013.

“The response was phenomenal,” said Tennier. “It was just a ton of fun.”

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