Board of Directors

A 14 member Board of Directors is elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting. The Board meets monthly to address ongoing and new issues, successes and concerns related to activities in and around Sydenham District.

2019-2020 SDA Directors

Meredith McDonnell - Chair

Donald Mitchell - Vice Chair

Laura Knap - Past Chair

Susan Thorne - Secretary

Jane Gordon - Treasurer

Patricia Cruickshank - Pump Editor

David Bath - AMS Municipal Affairs Commissioner

Justin Connidis

Ken Ohtake

Pat McNichols

Sandie Wood

Biographies

MEREDITH MCDONNELL, RN, BScN

Relocated to Kingston in 2013 to have a better place to raise 3 young girls.

My husband and I were fortunate to both find jobs at KGH and HDH hospitals, and wanted to live close to where we worked so chose to live in Sydenham District.

I was one of the many people that helped to mobilise and fight commuter parking proposed by the city 2 1/2 years ago, when the city wanted to sell spaces to commuters when there was adequate parking available in area parking lots for commuters. And most recently I helped to mobilise the community to fight for change of the current bylaws to protect our historic neighbourhoods; helping to organise the Town Hall meeting that was attended by more than 200+ Sydenham residents, as well as multiple meetings with City Staff and the Mayor to fight for adequate protection of stable neighbourhoods in Sydenham. I joined SDA in November of 2016 and am looking forward to mobilising the community and bringing it together.


SANDIE WOOD, MBA

Sandie is back living in her family home in Sydenham Ward where she grew up and attended Winston Churchill, KCVI and Queen’s. For many years, she has straddled her strong Limestone roots with working and raising a family with her Queen’s husband in Calgary. After the oil slump, she was pleased to be able to come home and continue her procurement career at Novelis (Alcan). Sandie and Creighton have two sons who recently graduated from Queen’s Engineering. Sandie joined the SDA Board in 2019, and looks forward to listening and lending her voice to advocate for the right balance between history and progress in this special community of ours.


KEN OHTAKE

Ken has lived in Sydenham District since 1967 - first as a student tenant, then as a “regular” tenant and finally as a ratepayer. The only role he has missed is that of landlord. A graduate of Queen’s, Ken has spent most of his career directing Kingston operations of non-governmental, social and health services including the Ontario March of Dimes and the Kingston Clubhouse and Activity Centre (Canadian Mental Health Association).

An active community volunteer, Ken has served on the Boards of the Kingston Access Bus, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Sydenham Public School Community Association, Sunnyside Children’s Centre, H’Art Studio, Citizens for Responsible Development in Kingston and the Church Athletic League of Kingston. Ken looks forward to contributing to the role that the Sydenham District Association can play in steering balanced development that respects resident families and other “permanent” residents and integrates the best, pro-social aspects of the vibrant student population. Balance is the key.


JUSTIN CONNIDIS

Justin has been a resident of Sydenham District (Old Sydenham Ward) and member of the SDA since 2004. Justin spent his childhood in Kingston, graduating from Queen’s law in 1979. From 1979 to 2004, he lived in Toronto, although he has maintained a connection with Kingston as an adjunct professor at Queen’s since 1988. Justin is Counsel to the Toronto office of Dickinson Wright LLP, an adjunct professor at Queen’s, and a business person. He is involved with several not-for-profit and charitable organizations as a volunteer and board member, including Wintergreen Studios, The Kingston Prize Association, Bedford Mining Alert and MiningWatch Canada, and Student Pro Bono.


JANE GORDON

Jane was born in what used to be known as Sydenham Ward at KGH, moved several times with her family to London, ON, the US and Europe, and returned in 1975 when she attended KCVI and Queen's University. After 17 years in the US where she obtained an MA in Political Science and raised a family, she decided enough was enough and came back yet again, in 2003. Since that time, she has worked at the University Hospitals Foundation Kingston and Queen's University (currently as the Curricular Coordinator for Clinical Clerkship, Undergraduate Medical Education), volunteered on a number of political campaigns and is an avid recreational runner/post-run coffee drinker (it's what makes the running fun). She has two sons, both of whom have graduated from Queen's, and her parents still live in the district as well.


SUSAN THORNE

Susan Thorne is a retired independent journalist, whose work has been published in over thirty Canadian and international professional and trade periodicals, newspapers, and general readership magazines.

A resident of the City since the 1970's, she has served on the volunteer boards of a number of Kingston organizations including the Children's Aid Society, Frontenac Historic Foundation, Kingston Montessori School.


PATRICIA CRUICKSHANK

Patricia moved to Kingston after living in Toronto for 40 years. After an early retirement from a large corporation she volunteered with her community organization and was the editor of their newsletter for 6 years. It published monthly, had paid advertising and a circulation of about 4,000. In 2010 she and her husband were drawn to the old world charm of the Lime Stone City and relocated to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and their cottage on the Upper Rideau. To get to know the people and community of Kingston, Patricia volunteered as a “Kingston Gets Active Ambassador” following that volunteering with the Public Health as a “Food Skills Ambassador”. She also volunteered in a number of activities after joining the Kingston New Comers Chapter.


DONALD MITCHELL

Don has been a professional Artist for three decades. He is presently the operations manager of Sydenham Street United Church, now called The Spire, which is actively transitioning into a hub for culture and community building. For three years Don has been on the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee. During that time, he has been an accessibility representative on many City policy and built-form projects. He’s lived in Victoria, Prince George and Terrace in British Columbia before moving to Ontario to live in Oakville, Toronto and Kingston. He lives in a long-time family home that his wife Michelle has known since childhood; and together they raise their children William and Adele, while enjoying the beautiful district walks to work, school and downtown. Don plans to participate and learn more about the municipal process through involvement with the SDA and its work on behalf of area residents.


LAURA KNAP

I attained my Master's degree in Architecture from the University of Waterloo and landed in Kingston following love. My husband and I moved to Sydenham District drawn by the area's walkability, and the magnificent texture and character of its streetscapes. We spend as much time as we can enjoying the Waterfront Trail and City Park with our two young kids.

I am passionate about the physical fabric of the city: its workings as an urban system, the architecture of buildings themselves, and the health of green spaces. I also bring with me a background in co-operative, not-for-profit leadership and with that an interest in building vibrant, diverse and engaged community.


DAVID BATH

I have recently completed by B.A in political studies and psychology at Queen's. Throughout my university experience I have been relentlessly involved in student politics, and advocacy on issues related to both students and non-students. From a more personal perspective, I grew up on a farm in Orangeville Ontario, and in my spare time I like to travel, play sports, paint, and advocate on issues that are close to my heart. I am excited to be involved with the SDA, and to be the voice of the students within our community.