David Dodge, EFCL District B

David Dodge EFCL Past President and past district rep for Lago Lindo, Kilkenny, McLeod, Evansdale, Northmount, Londonderry, Steele Heights, Balwin, Killarney, Delwood, Glengarry, Rosslyn, Belvedere community leagues in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Rob Agostinis

Monday, November 12, 2012

District B News & Update on November Board Meeting

Well it's been a very busy month. As a volunteer at the EFCL, it seems there are limitless opportunities to serve on committees and work on community issues.

Regular General Meeting
The EFCL held its Regular General Meeting on October 23 at Britannia Youngstown Community League. You can still download the meeting package here. The membership did decide to have a third meeting each year so the EFCL can pass its budget in a timely fashion. If you have any questions about the meeting please let me know.

District B News

In district news we were very sad to learn of the passing of Margaret Day's husband Les Day. He passed away at age 80 after a short fight it cancer. Margaret Day has been an active community league president and volunteer in Londonderry for decades and we offer our sincere condolences to Marg at this most difficult time.

Welcome to Troy Kalita, the new president of McLeod Community League and it sounds like Lago Lindo is getting a new president as well with news of Ralph Guido leaving the position as president. And after getting funding contributions from Area 17 and the City of Edmonton Steele Heights is still waiting for crucial funding from the province to resurrect their hall.

Committee Work

Edmonton Minor Hockey Association Strategic Planning

I am representing the EFCL in the EMHA strategic planning process which we view as a good opportunity to attempt keep community connections going in hockey in Edmonton. The EMHA is challenging itself to look to the future and improve on one of the most successful hockey programs anywhere. Community Leagues still have 120 rinks in the Edmonton area and community leagues still offer a tremendous opportunity for kids to skate and try hockey. We'll let you know how this goes. By the way the EFCL suggested to the hockey folks that they opening game of Minor Hockey week be played on an outdoor rink - we're not sure it will happen, but what a neat thing this would be for hockey to return to its outdoor roots on this historic year.

Renewable Energy Task Force Redux

Seven community leagues
are participating in the
EFCL's solar and energy
conservation program.
Photo David Dodge
I represented the EFCL on Edmonton's Renewable Energy Task force that wound up its work with a report earlier this year. It was the work of the task force that inspired the EFCL Solar and Energy Conservation program now underway at seven leagues in Edmonton. Part of the task force has been reassembled to provide reaction to the consultants who are now preparing a draft renewable energy program for the City. As you may recall about 18 community leagues applied for the solar and energy conservation program that had only seven spots. Hmmm.

Edmonton Journal Community Advisory Committee

I also serve on the Journal's community advisory committee. The paper is looking for ways to connect with community and a business model that works in the age of the internet. The Journal wants to interact more effectively with community, involve the community more in the news process and collect feedback to the Journal on new ideas they are working on. The Journal tried to connect with readers by encouraging them to contribute ideas and content to the Bridge - it didn't work. We'll see where this goes.

Communities in Bloom

On October 10 I joined Mark Stumpf-Allen of Alberta Avenue and Stephane Labonne of the City of Edmonton in making a presentation on community leagues to the National Symposium & Awards Ceremonies held in Edmonton.

EFCL November Board Meeting Update

Download the EFCL November Board Package (section #s refer to the board package) 
Each month in the board package you will find our reports, all of the recommendations to the board and a full record of all decisions made at the EFCL. You can also find copies of letters we send and summaries of recommendations coming to the board from the planning committee. Don't forget our elected District B Representative on the Planning Committee is Ron Favell from Killarney Community League. You can reach him at 780-456-4706

Here I am with
EFCL Allan Bolstad,
executive director
at Leagues Alive.
Photo Rob Agostinis
With Councillor Kim Krushell and
EFCL VP David Gibbens.
Photo Rob Agostinis
Russ Dahm of the Chamber of
Voluntary Organizations at
EFCL's Leagues Alive with
me, David Dodge.
Photo Rob Agostinis

3.1 Leagues Alive Conference

The Leagues Alive conference seems to have been a big hit with community leagues with good attendance at most of the sessions and some very good suggestions for improving the sessions for next year. The lunch with City council was popular with leagues and councillors alike. It seems trade show attendance is down however, so we will be evaluating that component of our fall event. If you have any feedback please send your thoughts to us now.

5.1 Living Local Arts and Heritage Program

The board appointed Maureen Esch as the EFCL jury representative for the Living Local Arts and Heritage program this year. The Deadline is December 1 for grants up to $20,000 to  undertake arts or heritage projects in your community. The community must raise 1/3 of the cash to get the grants.

5.3 Name the District - Time to get creative

Let's face it "District B" is just not a great handle for our district name and it tells you nothing at all about where we are located or what makes our area unique. To this end the EFCL is asking the districts to recommend names for the districts before the new year to help people recognize our districts. We will retain the letter "B" in our district name, but we are looking for some description, creative ideas for the name of our district. Please send your ideas to me ASAP: president@efcl.org
How about the North Central Lake District, or possibly a historical reference?

5.4 Dates for next two general meetings

Mark your calendars the EFCL has set the dates for its next two general meetings: January 30, 2013 for  the first of our new year's meetings and May 29, 2013 for our AGM.

5.5 Four leagues sign up for Rink Roof Pilot Projects

Four leagues stepped forward indicating they wanted to participate in the Rink Cover pilot project. Belvedere, Eermineskin, Jasper Park and Grandview Heights all came forward before the deadline and qualified for a small amount of seed funding from the EFCL. If their project goes ahead each league qualify for $20,000 from the EFCL. If a project does not go ahead the funds will be split amoung the leagues that actually go through with their projects. There are a lot of details to work through to make this work for the league, the community and the city, but we are hopeful that this may be a way to provide a very useful year-round facility that is still community league scale.

5.6 Civic Engagement Practices

The EFCL is asking the Mayor and the City Manager for a meeting, or a series of meetings to discuss new ways of interacting on civic issues. The EFCL is very proud of our efforts in recent years to up our game in terms of representing leagues on city-wide issues through the work of the EFCL Planning Committee and numerous other committees, but we are constantly stretched in terms of our capacity to respond to requests for input and even worse sometimes we are not afforded the time for due process properly consider issues and get feedback from our leagues. A pile-up of issues in recent weeks has meant leagues are frustrated, some city councillors are frustrated and the EFCL is frustrated. So we intend to seek out some creative solutions to increase the opportunities and the quality of our input on issues.

5.7 Cell Tower issues

The EFCL Planning Committee has developed some principles for consideration by the City for siting cell phone and other towers in the city. This is definitely tricky since the cell towers in particular are regulated by the federal government, but with increasing numbers of towers going up to serve ever increasing demand for remote digital communications the principles call for good process, adequate notice and a consistent application of city policies in such matters.

8.6 League Attendance at EFCL General Meetings

This board package contains graphs and an analysis of which members have been attending general meetings at the EFCL. The good news is that attendance is definitely growing at EFCL general meetings. Our district has one community league that have attended 10 out of the last 10 EFCL general meetings: Evansdale, okay, okay that's my league. In addition Rosslyn has attended 8 of 10 and Killarney has attended 7 of 10 meetings. The general meetings are held three times a year and it's your change to have a voice in the policies of the EFCL. Remember the league can send any representative to these meetings, it does not have to be the president. 

8.7 Community Development Officer's Report

Community Swims

Of interest to folks in Area 17 and Area 2, our community consultation is set for January 23, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. The City has agreed to provide a venue for the meeting but have not identified one yet.
The City is proposing a new structure for community swim contracts. As proposed, communities will no longer be required to sign a rental contract. Rather, communities will be asked to acknowledge their inter- est in being involved in the community swim program in their local pool. The Department will calculate the program fee based on the enrolment seasonally and leagues or area councils will be billed monthly. Communities will remain enrolled, for both the winter and summer seasons, until they notify the Department (Facility Booking Unit) of their intent to withdraw.

8.8 Planning Advisor's Report

1. Low Density Zones & Mature Neighbourhood Overlay

Leagues were very interested in changes here. About 20 leagues wrote the City about changes. 
Council will hear from the public on January 28, 2012 at Executive Committee of City Council. City Administration is organizing an Open House at City Hall, Nov 20th, 4 pm – 7:30 pm. Community Leagues wanted workshops, but that can't happen until after January 28, so the EFCL is organizing a workshop before the January 28 executive meeting.

3. Vacant School Sites

The Oct 15, 2012 Public Hearing resulted in all 8 sites being approved by Council for Seniors Housing, but not without several amendments to the motions recommended by Administration. EFCL members provided significant input. (please see the report in the board package for details)

10.2 EFCL Letter on Food and Agricutlure Strategy

This item is actually from last month. With almost no time to gather additional feedback or to share this city strategy with community leagues the EFCL commented on the Food and Agricultures strategy that went to report and before council at hyper speed. EFCL Past President David Gibbens served on the committee and had some deep reservations about the report of the committee, but we had no time to consult with our members. The EFCL indicates that this is "a forward-looking step" in our letter to City Council, but we recommended against accepting the policy at this time. This incensed one council member. It also prompted one of our members to write an email that provided a different take on the reports recommendations. Council passed the strategy.
You can read our letter in the November EFCL Board Package on page 38.
Here is an email I received from Lisa Jimmo after the board meeting from the President of Horse Hills Community League. It offers a slightly different assessment of the strategy:
Hi David,  
I was reading your current blog and feel that I must comment on the entry regarding the City-Wide Food & Agriculture Strategy.  As you are likely aware, I am also a member of the Advisory Group with David Gibbens.  In my view, this is a high level strategy document and provides a good framework for the future Food Council to develop detailed projects to implement that will bring about cultural change concerning local food within the City.  It is not an implementation plan but a starting point.
I do not believe that more time will add to the end product.  I may not agree with every word of the document but I attended all meetings and provided my input.  It is a reasonable and sensible compromise between a lot of differing viewpoints and I do support the final strategy.  Council gave over two years to bring back a product and that is a reasonable expectation in my view.

I feel that the EFCL should be looking at this strategy and saying "this is where we see the EFCL & the member community leagues contributing"  instead of saying that you need to be told where you fit in.

Preservation of agricultural land is an agreed upon objective - so that is a commitment.   How much land needs to be saved has to be done in concert with the Area Structure Plans.  You need to see the whole picture and not pre-judge the ASP's.  Because of this focus on saving agricultural land, anything good in the CWFAS is being lost.  
Saving agricultural land within the Urban Growth Areas is a nice to have; it is not key or foundational in my view.  It is only a part of the overall view.  Agribusiness in the form of greenhouse production needs to be developed as well as encouraging individuals to use what is in their backyards and neighborhoods. Encouraging more institutional use of local ingredients needs to happen.  There are more opportunities for creative land use than preserving large tracts of land.  The Edmonton Energy & Technology Park holds a large amount of "good dirt"  & its use is never discussed.  I support the farmers who want to retain the land they own for farming.  I also support the farmers in our area who feel that there is "good dirt" other places and want to move on.  
Make no mistake, however, this strategy does not address the needs of the vulnerable and disadvantaged - that needs to be done.  This is a strategy for those who are better off.
Lisa Jimmo
Horse Hill Community League
There are certainly divergent opinions on this issue as reported in the Edmonton Journal.
As we indicated in our letter the idea of community gardens, farmers markets, food hubs are all encouraging suggestions. It's when you get to the issue of protecting farmland that the going gets really tough. At the EFCL we strive to have excellent processes and to engage our members. It is far better to have the time and capacity to hear from our members in matters so important. Hopefully by communicating more with council and administration we can find even better ways of engaging our citizens in meaningful dialogue on important issues.

That's it for this month. If you have any comments please contact me anytime at president@efcl.org

David Dodge
President, and District B Representative
Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL)

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