December 15, 2012
Members of the Landscape Ontario Board of Directors held their monthly meeting at the offices of the Niagara Parks Commission on Nov. 21.

Present at the meeting were Phil Charal, Brian Baun, Gerwin Bouman, Dave Braun, Paul Brydges, Terry Childs, Tim Cruickshanks, Peter Guinane, Lindsay Drake Nightingale, Ryan Heath, Mark Humphries, Steve Macartney, Chris Mace, Gary MacPhail, Brian Marsh, Bob McCannell, Gregg Salivan, Stephen Schell, Mark Williams, Peter Vanderley, Alan White, David Wright, Tom Intven and executive director Tony DiGiovanni.

The Niagara Parks Commission arranged for a bus to take board members of LO, the Regional Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Hamilton, and Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association on a tour of the proposed site of Flora Niagara 2017. Everyone was impressed at the potential for the international horticultural exhibition. After the tour, project leader Michel Gauthier updated the group on the status of the show; sponsorship and funding support are currently being sought. Special guest Donald Ziraldo attended the meeting to show his support for the project.    

Board president Phil Charal commented on how important it was to tour the Niagara site to see the possibilities and the vision of Flora Niagara. “Being the lead agency on the Flora project has already benefited LO from a government and public awareness perspective,” said Charal.  

After the tour, the board of directors held its regular meeting. Items discussed include:
Paul Brydges reported on the progress for Landscape Ontario’s garden at Canada Blooms. Many members are coming together to ensure that the industry and association is showcased in a professional way at the show.  

Brydges also reported that Dean McLellan of the Dry Stone Wall Guild hopes to build a 25 ft. lighthouse on the LO grounds, as a basis for a festival and training program. This idea will be vetted by the building committee before it comes back to the board.   

As part of the finance committee report, Brydges announced the recipients of the extra promotion funding that is available each year:  
  • $10,000 was awarded to support London Chapter’s Veterans Memorial Highway Project. This will be in the form of a matching grant.
  • The Waterloo Chapter was awarded $5,000 for the annual school yard greening project and an additional $3,500 for participation in Skills Canada Ontario. The Chapter also received $1,500 to support Green for Life branding at the local home show.

Tony DiGiovanni updated the board on various projects and activities of the home office. His report included the following items:
  • We are entering a partnership with a company called Casa Guru that has the exclusive contract to market a directory of services on the Home and Garden TV website. Only LO members will be featured on the HGTV site.  
  • There will be a renewed focus on Chapter relevance. We are looking to deploy staff resources with the goal of enhancing association relevance at the local level.  
  • One of the members, Adam Bienenstock, called to pass on a tip that members could save considerable money by renewing their vehicle licenses before December.   
  • We have started a discussion with the Pan Am Games to see if we can promote Landscape Ontario members by participating in the games. One of the ideas is to build garden vignettes in the theme of the 41 participating companies.
  • The new rules covering owners and managers in the Construction Rate codes were clarified. See this issue of Landscape Ontario magazine on how the rules apply.
  • There was a discussion on the new EI changes affecting the industry. All members are asked to keep the home office informed about possible negative consequences.
  • The Green Infrastructure Coalition is making excellent progress. Mark Cullen’s Trees for Life Alliance is now officially part of the Green Infrastructure Coalition. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority agreed to provide staff support to both organizations. Trees for Life had an excellent launch ceremony.
  • OALA and LO will investigate working together to determine the merits of a Practice Act for Landscape Architects and a Name Act for Landscape Designers.  
  • LO’s Garden Centre Group has entered into a partnership with LS Safety to develop employee training videos.   
  • Sheridan Nurseries will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. The company will build a display at Canada Blooms depicting 100 years of horticulture.  
  • The Christmas Tree Growers Association has declared National Christmas Tree Day.
  • The negotiations on the LO property continue, as we explore severing and selling 23 of our 46 acres.   
  • We received a delegation from China interested in the Smart about Salt program.
  • The Flora Niagara project met with Peter Kent, Jim Bradley, all the Niagara region mayors, Boards of Trades, president of Niagara College, Ted Chudleigh and many others. We also delivered a presentation to 150 tourism operators.
  • LO is managing the International Society of Arboriculture Ontario.
  • There is a renewed effort to promote Prosperity Partners as a common business language for all of our professional development activities.
  • We are involved in advocating for a share of any agricultural risk management program.  

Phil Charal discussed improving provincial executive board communication. He explained that the board minutes will be summarized and distributed to all board representatives, as well as to all members through Landscape Ontario magazine. He also noted that it is the job of every representative to be a conduit on the association’s board functions.    

Past president Tom Intven supervised the board elections. Each year in November all positions are declared vacant. The following were nominated to positions for 2013: Paul Brydges as treasurer, Warren Patterson for second vice president, Dave Braun as first vice president, Phil Charal as president and Alan White as CNLA representative.