Business Items    Item #:   4. b.            
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 04/19/2021  
Title: Community Garden Annual Report - Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society - Walker
Presenter: Jamie-Lynn Scobie
Department: Economic & Business Development
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Request for Decision Summary
The Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society and the City reached an agreement on June 11, 2018 whereby the Society would construct, operate and maintain a community garden on City land under a License of Occupation.  As part of this Agreement, the Society is required to provide an annual report to City Council on the community garden project.  Administration is working with them toward a 5-year extension to their License of Occupation which expires on December 1, 2021.

Proposed Motion
 
That the Community Garden Annual Report be received as information and that the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society be thanked for their efforts.
Background/Analysis
The Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society (the Society) approached the City in early 2018 asking for assistance in finding a suitable site for a community garden. The desire was for a location with some visibility and convenient access for City residents. The site selected is approximately 0.39 acres on City-owned land immediately west of King Street and north of the Christian Fellowship Church. The Society and City entered into a Licence of Occupation Agreement for a term to end on December 1, 2021.  The Society has requested a 5-year extension of the Agreement.  Administration is now preparing an extension based on the success of the community garden project and the positive response in terms of community support. 

Attached to this report is the existing Licence of Occupation Agreement and their original business plan. Also attached is a map showing the location of the community garden and draft site plan for the community garden prepared by the Society. The Licence Agreement and proposed extension provide for the use of the lands at no charge to the Society. The Society is solely responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of the community garden. The Society will rent garden plots to interested residents and provide such guidance and other support which contribute to the successful performance of the community garden.  As well, the Society will continue to provide an annual report which summarizes the activities, financials and any other information requested by the City with respect to the community garden during the term of the Licence. 

Following are some facts related to the development of the Community Garden project:
•In 2019 – 30 garden boxes were constructed; demand exceeded supply and the remaining names were placed on a waiting list for the following year.
•In 2020 – 16 additional garden boxes were constructed and again, demand exceeded supply and the remaining names were placed on a waiting list. 
•For 2021 – 16 more garden boxes are scheduled to be built before planting begins on the Victoria Day weekend.  All of the 46 existing garden boxes have already been leased and a waiting list created for the 2021 Phase 3 build-out.  
 
The Society is coming before Council to make a presentation (attached) on their 2020 operations and activities as required by their Licence Agreement with the City.  The presentation will be made by Moira Juleff, Treasurer of the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society.  Also streaming this live Committee of the Whole meeting will be the following Community Garden committee members: Barbara Byers, Heather Shewchuk, Ashleigh Munro, Alison Munro, Anne Montgomery, Orion Blackwell and Anika Gutowski. 
Options/Alternatives
The five year extension to the Licence of Occupation is intended to provide sufficient time to complete the Phase 3 build out and continue to assess interest and performance of the community garden. If there is strong demand from residents, there may be opportunity to expand the program at another location.
Consultation/Engagement
The community garden initiative was brought forward by the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society and was subsequently ratified by their membership. Eligibility to rent a garden plot is open to any resident of Spruce Grove.
 
Implementation/Communication
The term of the Licence of Occupation extension is 5 years ending on December 1, 2026. The 2021 growing season continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols will also see the completion of the Phase 3 build out. It is expected that all of the garden boxes will sell out again this year. As per the Development Permit Application, The Society will also complete the planter box that is required beneath the signage facing King Street and any other outstanding items. The Society has built upon their original communications plan to continually create awareness of the community garden project and raise the profile of the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society.
Impacts
The Society has successfully extended its outreach into the community by providing gardening opportunities, education and other support to residents who may lack a suitable yard or would benefit from mentoring. This has also provided an opportunity for expanded social engagement and involvement by residents in their community. Once there is more certainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, The Society may act upon the opportunities that they have cultivated for liaison with schools as part of their field curriculum.

Fiscal Impact
Financial Implications:
There is no financial requirement from the City. The money collected from the plot rentals are used to maintain and operate the Community Garden project. The construction required for the 2021 Phase 3 build out is entirely covered by corporate sponsorship and volunteer time.  Attached is the 'Independent Practitioner’s Review Engagement Report' for the Community Garden Fund as provided by Tober Hembling & Associates LLP for the Society's 2020 annual audit. 
 

Attachments-Y
Community Garden PowerPoint Presentation to City Council 2021
Site Plan and Location of Community Garden Project
THA LLP - Engagement Report - 2020 Audit
TBA LLP Schedule of Receipts and Disbursements of the Community Garden Fund - 2020 Audit
2018 Signed Agreement - Community Garden - Spruce Grove and District Ag Society