AGES donates $63,000 as final contribution to The Commons

Virginia Hayes

Gabriola Commons

Wednesday, September 5 2018

As if a fun-filled, highly successful Fall Fair on a gorgeous sunny day were not enough, the Commons received a very significant donation and some important news.

With stunning musical fanfare courtesy of the Ken Capon Memorial Marching Band, Heide Brown and Shelagh Huston, representing the Amazing Grace Ecological Society (AGES), presented the Commons with a donation of $62,993 - which, needless to say, was quickly topped up on the spot to an even $63,000 by others.  AGES was established about 12 years ago by the late Jay Mussell, Shelagh and Heide to found the 27 acre Commons, formerly a goat farm.  

Bob Andrew and K. Louise Vincent, current co-chairs of the Commons Trustees, introduced Heide and Shelagh, noting the long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship between AGES and the Commons.  AGES is now dissolving, its fundraising and support work ready to be turned over to those currently stewarding our unique community commons for the people of Gabriola.

AGES’s final assets, represented by a large orange “pumpkin”, were handed to the Commons trustees, to be allocated as follows:

• About $20K will start a legacy fund, the principal to be help in perpetuity and the interest income to be used to foster future fundraising according to written Ethical Directives.

• About $30K is to be placed in a Maintenance Fund to care for the physical fabric of the Commons in future.  Part of this will help alter the hedge and parking area and generally “beautify” the land and amenities, reducing volunteer labour needs over time.

• The balance of about $10K will be placed in a Vision Fund, to assist Commons stewards to uphold the Commons Guiding Principles (see and click on the Field Guide). A covenant is being prepared to be registered on the Title of the property, with a Stewardship Agreement and Plan as integral components.  The AGES funds will bring visibility to both our local and the Global Commons movement by creating opportunities and events that foster the Gabriola Commons philosophy, vision, goals and challenges.

AGES leaves us with a question: What is the transforming role of the commons, locally and globally, in creating new possibilities and capacities for a brighter future beyond “the market and the state”?

Shelagh and Heide capped this Fall Fair presentation with an act that is great for the Commons and for them – they tossed their “pumpkin” figuratively to the people of Gabriola, c/o the Commons Trustees, declaring, “We’re retired!” 

And a footnote: the cobwall on the property is to be refurbished starting next week. Originally built ten years ago by Pollen Heath and Lisa Butler, they will be returning to apply their skills. A replastering event is scheduled for September 22. Contact Pollen for the details or watch the Commons website, Communiqué, and Facebook page.