Summerlea Elects a New Board

On May 14, Summerlea Community League held its Annual General Meeting at the Carrington Village West Social Centre. Special guests were Andrew Knack, our Ward 1 Councillor, and Lorne Dach, the MLA for Edmonton-McClung, accompanied by his constituency manager Ashley MacInnis.

President Christine Belter opened the meeting by welcoming the attendees and guests and taking us through the activities of the past year.

Next, Chase Jingles, our neighborhood liaison led us through the elections of the board for next year. Finding new people to volunteer for positions is a perennial issue and this year we will be reviewing our by-laws which places restrictions on the number of consecutive terms that someone can hold.

Andrew Knack came with a list of news and topics and responded to our questions. We talked about the City’s plans to reduce speed limits, photo radar policy, the West Edmonton Mall footbridge over 170th Street, West Edmonton Mall signage, the status of Summerlea Park as a surplus school site, and the LRT plans.

A big shout-out and thank you to our sponsors for their support:

  • Italian Centre for the snacks and refreshments
  • Blue Willow Restaurant, Famoso Pizza, Sawmill Restaurant, and H&W Produce for gift certficates

Report on the Community Garden Workshop with the City

The community garden group was formed in the last few months, and on May 15 we had our first meeting together with the City. Erin Isaac from the City of Edmonton was there and so was Jeanetta ( cgfacilitator@sustainablefoodedmonton.org ) from Sustainable Food Edmonton. Chase Jingles, our neighborhood liaison was also there to help and facilitate. We filled the meeting room at the Jasper Place Library.

Handouts were passed around and Jeanetta explained the value of assigning roles to committee members. Starting and running a community garden takes different talents and interests, from recruiting members to handling money. Some people will enjoy certain tasks more than others. As we are all volunteers, it’s important to avoid burnout.

However, we can put off role assignment for now because our first task is about goals and big picture. Erin presented an overview of the two initial documents that we will pull together—Vision and Terms of Reference.

West Meadowlark has a “bee hotel” in their garden
  • Vision defines our purpose for having the garden. So, besides our personal desire to obtain some gardening space, how will the garden benefit our community?
  • Terms of Reference lays out our decisions about how we will operate, who can participate, standards and enforcement, how we will get started and evolve. It’s all in the context of our neighborhood, and what we are prepared to take on. Obviously, there is no one way to do things (thank goodness) and we have much latitude in our style and approach.

Where we will not have so much freedom of choice is the garden site. After submitting the Vision and Terms of Reference, we’ll submit architectural plans of the garden layout and location. We’ll have to present a few options because the City and utility companies might have plans and issues that we don’t know about.

Erin encouraged us to look around and visit other community gardens in person or online, to get connected with other community gardeners, and to join Sustainable Food Edmonton.

Erin is going to send templates and examples for Terms of Reference and we’ll post a link.

The next meeting is on May 29 at 7 p.m. (see event details) to discuss the vision and terms of reference.