Introduction

The new reality is that meetings -  for the foreseeable future and more likely permanently - will be mostly held online, including Community Association meetings and AGMs. This has several advantages:

  • It can be held at any time of year, in any weather
  • Participants can be anywhere there is internet access
  • It allows those who are vulnerable to health issues or have mobility issues to attend

Online Tool Consideration

In addition to a meeting moderator (as would run an in-person AGM), running an AGM requires a technical "host" to organize and run the technology side of the meeting who has experience with the online tool including setting up security, control who can speak, being able to mute interruptions and,  if necessary, eject someone disturbing the meeting.

There are many tools out there for online meetings, but only some are geared up to being capable of holding a meeting with potential interruptions for a large group of people and to be able to record the video, audio and chat (online text discussions) and - if the group is sophisticated enough - manage online minute taking and inputs from the participants.

Realistically you also need a paid subscription to the online meeting tool both for sufficient time (e.g. more than 40 minutes) and to have access to the required features

Requirements

  • Able to host the largest possible audience for your meeting
  • Restrict who can attend via meeting specific password and (desirable) email address
    • Ideally have participants register and verify their name and email addresses
  • Tech host can control
    • Who can speak (select primary speaker)
    • Block audio interruptions
    • Who can present their screen
    • Block high-jacking the screen
  • Able to record the video, audio and chat windows
  • Ability for participants to direct chat comments to a specific person or group (e.g. moderator, organizers)

At this time we would recommend only business class on-line meeting tools (vs. party sharing or personal sharing tools (e.g. Skype))

  • GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar
  • Zoom

We do NOT (currently) recommend:

  • Google Meet (marginal security & control)
  • Microsoft Teams (unknown, changing rapidly)

However, we do expect major improvements on control and security within 6 months from every vendor (e.g. Zoom has set the standard)

How we did it

With COVID-19 postponing our usual AGM date of sometime in March or April, the 2020 KBCA Annual General Meeting was held on June 18,2020 as it's first Online AGM using GoToMeeting (from LogMeIn) online meeting technology and was a success. It was recorded and is available on YouTube

Information on how we modified our AGM process and procedures and how to use the GoToMeeting technology are available here:

38 people registered and 23 members of the community attended, in addition to the KBCA Directors.

Highlights

  • COVID-19 - the City had the KBCA close the Community Centre on April 6. Currently, under special arrangement with the City of Ottawa, the Main Street Community Services (https://mainstreetcommunityservices.com) is using the Community Centre during July & Aug for their autistic and developmentally delayed clients. We have been working with the City in recent weeks to fully re-open under Stage 3 Provincial and Ottawa Public Health guidelines in early September. Initial response from our existing Community Centre users is they are keen to return
  • Clublink/Kanata Golf Course - the KBCA worked to assist the greenspace committee form a separate non-profit organization - the Kanata Greenspace Protection Coallition. The KBCA still participates with Kevin McCarthy as a director of both the KBCA and the KGPC. The KGPC has gone on to do major fund raising, hiring a Planner and Legal team, who participated in the recent court case between the City of Ottawa and Clublink to require that Clublink honour the 40% agreement. A judgement is expected sometime in October.
  • Renovations - The KBCA has brought on a new Community Centre Coordinator, who has expertise in project managing renovations and much of 2019 and early 2020 was spent on detailed plans, costing and quotations from suppliers and renovation services. Renovation of our 1st floor storage room is complete with industrial shelving, a caged lockable storage area and custom storage options based on our clients needs. A plan for 2020 was tabled at the AGM, but put on hold pending a better understanding our financial position due to COVID-19 impact, for which a public meeting will be held in the fall (tentatively Oct 15)
  • Ecology and Sustainability - our participation in the Neighbourwoods Tree Inventory program continued in 2019 as did several ecology/green initiatives & workshops with the Ecology Ottawa and Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City (OBEC), which were put on hold for 2020 with COVID-19
  • The Beaverbrook Heritage Walking Tour will be held (with COVID-19 safety measures) on Labour Day Weekend 2020
  • Hydro-One issues with vegetation management concerns were addressed for several properties on Penfield, with the aid of Jenna Sudds and KBCA contacts @ Hydro One
  • The proposed development at 1131 Teron came up again with a new buyer (Montreal apartment builder/developer) with modified plans in Fall 2019, which resulted in community consultation, primarily with the Bethune Condominium. We have just learned that the Montreal Developer has re-sold the property (sale will close in Sept). This suggests that with COVID-19 and work from home as the future of high tech that the development is no longer viable.

The KBCA had two guest speakers who outlined their services during COVID-19 in separate presentations (within the online meeting)

  • The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (Michelle Hurtubise - Exec Director)
  • The Beaverbrook Regional Branch of the Ottawa Public Library (Jennifer Evans - Coordinator,  Beaverbrook Branch)

Looking for

The KBCA needs additional Directors, Volunteers and part time paid staff

Volunteer:

  • Treasurer
  • Tech Director
  • Communications Director

Paid part time:

  • Tech support (Mailing apps (e.g. mailerlite), Website, Google Apps management, VOIP, FB, Twitter

Documents and Presentations

 

The Community Emergency Response sub-committee of the FCA has been set up to provide resources, best practices and discussion on how Community Associations can help their communities and be "the last mile" in working with the City and local Agencies to provide in-community support.

  • Resources and best practices will be on a series of pages and topics organized under the "KBCA Community Emergency Response - Home" page.
    • Initially these pages will be hosted on the Kanata Beaverbrook Community Association web site for speed of updates
    • This will include contacts to those in Community Associations, the City and local support agencies and organizations
  • Discussion will be by a googlegroup (e.g. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • Email subscription will be via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - to which Community Association members can subscribe

Background

In the last 5 years the Ottawa and surrounding area has seen a dramatic increase in major emergencies that impact one or more (or all communities). This includes major Spring floods on the Ottawa river, in 2017 and 2019, the Tornados in Sept 2018 and now COVID-19.

While first responders; Fire, Police, Paramedics, Search & Rescue and then front line professionals - (e.g. the Medical profession) are the primary providers, there is a significant role for communities (and Community Associations) to play in providing essential services within our community, particularly over the long recovery period we are about to experience. For COVID-19 this includes:

  • Identifying families and individuals who need need help
  • Food and medical supply delivery
  • Running errands
  • Phone support to isolated individuals
  • Coordinating "the last mile" within the community with local agencies (e.g. Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, Food banks)
  • Putting the call out and coordinating in-community volunteers
  • Support for those who need to self-isolate
  • Poster/road sign/door to door notices for those who are not tech-savvy

For more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COVID-19 is changing the way we feed ourselves and how food reaches our table.

While we are all trying to avoid in-store shopping, the vulnerable may not feel they can safely leave their home, for any reason.

Online ordering demand has exploded, but the major chain stores' systems have not been able to meet demand and will not be able to in the next several months - for technical, supply chain and staffing reasons.

The Food "Supply Chains", which have different chains for retail grocers and restaurants/hotels, have seen the restaurant/hotel demand collapse - and have been struggling to get their food to consumers vs. throwing it out. An example is Dairy Farms throwing out milk as reported 2 weeks ago.

This is also hitting local Farmers hard, particularly with the uncertainty of if or when the City of Ottawa and private Farmers Markets will open in 2020. The Easter markets were cancelled

Food Option - online resources

How and where we source our food has is changing on an almost daily basis.

Online ordering from the major grocery outlets has quickly become unreliable. This is being realized by the Major Grocery chains and they are in the process of providing priority online and phone ordering for Seniors and those who are vulnerable

Based on how the food supply chain currently works and the state of online ordering design, this is not "fixable" in the next couple of months. What you can order varies from day-to-day. What is actually in your order when you pick up or have it delivered is unpredictable. In some cases, your order will be delayed without notice or even cancelled.

We suggest you consider leaving online ordering and delivery to those who need it most.

In-store shopping was chaotic in the days after "stay at home" was declared, but has been improving steadily.

If you take appropriate sanitation precautions and pick your day/time, in many cases, there are short line ups and few customers in-store. There are also tools to help you with wait times: COVID-19 - Supermarket Waiting Times

While store shelves are relatively full today, there are coming disruptions, such as meatpacking plants suspending operations due to COVID-19 infections in their workforce.

So be prepared.

There are increasing  options for food sources that should be considered, including direct from individual farms, food distributors, restaurant supply distributors and even restaurants - [coming article "Food Source Options in Kanata"]

Ordering Food Online or by Phone - new priority services for the vulnerable and seniors

Farmboy and Metro are rolling out (in next several days) online/phone ordering priority for those over 60 and for anyone who is vulnerable. Expect to see the other major grocers (Loblaws, Costco, Walmart, Sobeys) following in coming days

Metro, other grocers give priority e-commerce access to seniors, other vulnerable shoppers | Globe & Mail

Ordering Food Online for the rest of us - not ready for prime time

My family has been an occasional user of online food ordering in the last 2 years for pick-up from local grocery stores. In mid-March, we decided to become more regular users, ordering/pick-up from the online Loblaws website (which is PC-Express "under the hood"). The goal for our family was to minimize in-store shopping.

Booking pick-up/delivery time slots - not enough capacity

While it was easy to book a time slot in mid-March for pick-up 3 days later, by the following week, that had changed to 12+ days. Recently, Loblaws/PC Express has capped the number of days in advance that are available for booking time slots to 14 days, and new free slots disappear faster than online ticket sales for a rock concert.

It's clear that online food shopping from the major chains and from independent delivery (Instacart, inabuggy...) and the in-store capacity to fill online or phone orders are overwhelmed, as confirmed in recent articles:

 What you can order vs what is in stock - not easy to use and unreliable

Using PC Express as an example:

  • What is offered online is a fraction of what is available in-store. Finding specific items is difficult and time-consuming
  • What you can buy when ordering online appears to be limited what is in-stock at that time. For our order over the Easter weekend, they had no whole fresh chickens available, but several sizes of fresh and frozen turkeys, which I had not seen in prior weeks
  • Selecting an item shown in your online order does guarantee it on pick-up/delivery day
  • Independent Delivery organizations like Instacard, Inabuggy & HireMyHusband are all putting their own food pickers in-store, competing with in-store shoppers and the store's pickers
  • Items in your order available on the day of pick-up/delivery appear to be lower priority vs.stocking store shelves for in-store customers

As an example, with our latest order (April 17, 2020), we had several items dropped as unavailable. As a test, after pick-up in the store parking lot, I went immediately into the store:

  • I found 3 of the "unavailable" items on the shelf
  • Loblaws item substitution is limited on online orders, particularly on meat, fish and poultry
    • No substitute was offered for the "unavailable" fresh turkey I ordered. However, in-store they had a variety of fresh chickens.
    • They offered no substitute for the "unavailable" pork tenderloins, yet they had multiple pork loin roasts in-store available at $1.99/lb

Suggestions

If you are not "vulnerable" to infection, consider leaving online grocery shopping in the major grocery stores to the vulnerable who need home delivery and do in-store shopping once a week or more

Beware the potentially higher costs and no better order/delivery reliability than the store service for the independent delivery services

If you are buying for more than just your immediate family, explore other online/phone food sources. There are increasing options for pick-up and delivery for large orders for comparable cost and higher reliability [coming article "Food Source Options in Kanata"].

In-Store Shopping - Improving each Week

The first week or so after the official "Stay Home" message, in-store shopping was crowded, plus grocery stores and shoppers were not practicing safe distancing or sanitation.

For most of the major grocery chains, that has improved substantially. This includes:

  • Limiting the number of consumers in the store at the same time, with lines with distance markings of 2 m
  • In-store distancing marks when lining up for checkout
  • Wipe down of self-serve checkout regularly
  • Disinfecting carts for you or providing do-it-yourself disinfecting
  • One way arrows, particularly in narrow sections
  • Shields between you and the cashier

We've also tried different times of the day/week. It's relatively easy to find times where there are short wait times and responsible consumers in the store. Some recent examples:

  • Sunday about 3 pm
  • Monday through Wednesday, particularly from 6:30 pm to 8 pm

Then there are times which will be predictably busy, such as:

  • 11:20 am any day
  • 4 pm this past Friday, where the line went from 20 to 50 people in minutes

While there appeared to be "non-vulnerable" people using the "seniors and vulnerable" hour before general opening initially, we're hearing that has improved substantially.

 Suggestions

  • Go when you know the store will be relatively empty. There are now store wait time tools such as COVID-19 - Supermarket Waiting Times, which does cover Ottawa & Kanata
  • Stay away from the largest stores. for example:
    • On April 21, 2020, @ 3 pm, the Walmart on Fernbank in Kanata/Stittsville had a 35-minute wait, while Loblaws Centrum had a 10-minute wait time
  • If you are uncomfortable with relying on physical distancing and washing hands, use a face mask, gloves and disinfectant wipes (take in a ziplock) and know how to use them
  • If you find the store or the consumer behaviour in-store is not safe for you, then leave your basket/cart and walk out

Other useful links

<online order/pickup/delivery options>

<stores and hours page>

This page has been created to be a resource for Facebook Groups or any other Social Media to provide a single location for daily updates, key web links and files on COVID-19 that doesn't get lost in the deluge of postings.

This resource has been created for the Beaverbrook Community, but as we live in Kanata North, within Ottawa, it covers information relevant across Ottawa.

If you see something that is incorrect, or missing, please let us know - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NEW

  • Mar 30
    • Neighbours Helping Neighbours - reaching those who need help

Daily Updates

Web Links

- Government of Canada

> Travel Advisories

> COVID-19 - Being prepared

> Self Assessment

- Ontario Government Public Health

- Ottawa Public Health

- Jenna Sudds (Kanata North Councillor)

> Daily Updates

> Key Contacts

> Volunteer/Need Help

 - COVID-19 Information

> WHO (World Health Organization) LINK

* Use of drugs to control fever (e.g. Ibuprofin)

> Medical Journals with COVID-19 content (no paywalls)

* The Lancet

* Journal of the American Medical Association

* New England Journal of Medicine

* British Medical Journal

* Annuls of Internal Medicine

* Canadian Medical Association Journal

> Other Resource pages

UK Coronavirus Handbook - Open Data/Source UK Resource page

 - Financial Information

> Personal

* Fed/Prov Personal Financial Support 27 Mar 2020

* Income cut off? Here's how to access the aid you need

* Summary of EI Changes due to COVID-19

* EI Application Quick Reference Guide

* Canada - Economic Response Plan

> Business

Canada Business App - smartphone app with detailed info for small business owners

 - COVID-19 Data and Analytics

> Maps and Visuals

* Univ of Minnesota - Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

* Financial Times (UK) - COVID-19 Analysis

* COVID-19 Canadian Outbreak Tracker

File Resources

  • COVID-19 Notices you can post on your door LINK
  • Door Hanger/Postcard to ask Neighbours if they need help LINK
  • Guidelines for how you can stop COVID-19 Transmission in your community LINK
  • Food and Pharmacy Online Ordering, Pickup and Delivery options - Kanata/Ottawa LINK
  • Champlain Health list of local grocery stores that deliver LINK

How You Can Help

Organizations looking for Volunteers

Donations

  • Food Banks - the immediate need is high and will only increase in coming weeks. Donating money is preferred as the Food Banks deal with Food Wholesalers at a substantial discount and the Banks can order exactly what they need.

Give Blood

Unfortunately, despite Blood Services Canada being VERY aware of COVID-19 and sanitation procedures, many regular blood donors are cancelling appointments. This is creating blood shortages which are becoming critical. So sign and give blood.

To donate immediately, sign up to donate at the Canadian Blood Services Donor Centre - 1575 Carling as they have daily appointments available.

Help Local Businesses & Employees

The impact on local business, particularly hotels, restaurants, pubs - anywhere where groups of people go - complete shutdown. If we don't support them, they won't be here after the crisis is over.

How can I help?

  • Buy local
  • Order online from grocers for pick up - avoids crowded food stores and ensures the store "pickers" are fully employed. This is the future of grocery shopping - so now is the time to get with the program. Food and Pharmacy Online Ordering, Pickup and Delivery options - Kanata/Ottawa
  • Invest in your favorite local business - If you don't need to buy now, buy a gift card for future use.The Kanata North BIA has set up a Shopify Site, which is open to local Kanata North Businesses to provide gift cards

Kanata North Buy Local Shopify Site