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1969 - 1981 (Creation)
- Vansittart Area Association Inc.
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The Vansittart Area Association was formed on November 29, 1971 by citizens living in the Vansittart Avenue area who were opposed to the widening of the street beyond 34 feet between Dundas Street and Devonshire Avenue. At the time, the Mayor and City Council felt that in order to receive a 75% subsidy for reconstruction from the Provincial government that the road width would have to be increased to 40-46 feet. However, members of the general public feared such a width increase would not only increase truck traffic on residential streets but would affect the beauty and grandeur of Vansittart Avenue, a historic and principal street in the heart of Woodstock. Over the next three years much debate raged over the reconstruction of Vansittart Avenue with much discussion happening between the Vansittart Area Association, chaired by George A. Calder, and city council and public works department, local organizations such as the Men of Trees and other “Area Associations”, several provincial Ministries, and the local MPP and the local MP. Concerns raised related to not only the future width of the street, but the preservation of the trees along the boulevards, planting of flowers within Vansittart park, and the possibility of a ring road or truck by-pass to alleviate truck traffic along residential streets such as Vansittart Avenue.
The Association’s hard work and perseverance would eventually pay off. On April 4, 1974 City Council passed By-law No. 4827-73 which approved the reconstruction of Vansittart Avenue at a width of 34 feet, with work being expected to start in the spring of 1975 with provincial funding assured. On April 29, 1974 the Association was officially incorporated and given the name “Vansittart Area Association Incorporated”. Some of the main objectives of the newly incorporated Association were to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and owners of real property in the Vansittart Avenue area; to co-ordinate the efforts of property owners and other organizations on matters of common interest; and to encourage community cohesiveness and maintain the stability of neighborhoods, with particular emphasis on preserving and restoring the residential character and quality of the environment of the Vansittart Avenue area. The Executive was made up of:
George Alston Calder - President
Thora Harvey - Vice President
Ray Kenneth Murray - Secretary
Thomas Ozzie Ramsay - Treasurer
Over the next four years the Association actively provided their input on the Official Plan for the City of Woodstock as well as the Official Plan for the County of Oxford with specific emphasis on transportation policies for the city, home occupations and the importance and necessity of historical building sites and conservation districts. The Association also provided their input on the Dillon Report, which was the internal traffic study for the city of Woodstock, and worked with other “Area Associations” such as the Devonshire Avenue Group and the Northdale Group to tackle traffic and construction issues within the city. The Association would also voice concern over train noise and the city of Woodstock’s proposed Anti-Whistling By-law; the proposed choice of the street lighting for residential streets; and Timard Properties Limited’s application to the Land Division Committee to sever three lots of the former, “Carbide” Wilson property which was previously owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese as St. Joseph’s Academy.
Reconstruction of Vansittart Avenue did not occur until 1978 with Aztec Contractors Limited of London, receiving the tender for the work. Once the construction work was finally completed in 1979 little is known about the existence of the Vansittart Area Association Inc. However, as of 2012, the work of the Association has ensured that Vansittart Avenue has remained a historical and visual focal point within the city of Woodstock.
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