Help fund the Commons reservoir

Submitted by the Commons Reservoir Project Team

Wednesday, October 2 2019

The Commons is urgently ramping up fundraising efforts to build a 25,000 gallon rainwater reservoir to protect rapidly dropping water levels in the pond and surrounding sensitive ecosystems at the Commons. The total cost of the project will be approximately $50,000 and it needs to start now. 

Bob Andrew, a member of the volunteer group spearheading the project, said “we can’t ignore the need any longer. Over the recent summers, the water level in the large pond has dropped dangerously low, to the point that we have had to turn off the tap, before harvest, to all of the gardens on the Commons. We are facing many challenges: developing the agricultural potential of the land with the water needed by all of the community gardens and orchard, while needing to protect the wetlands and forest in two large, sensitive ecosystems identified by the Islands Trust for permanent protection. We need to act now!”

The reservoir will be located between the west parking lot and the field where the Night Market is located and will collect rainwater from nearby roofs. The water will be used for irrigation and ensure that the pond and wetlands are protected. The reservoir will also store water for a sprinkler system so that the barn can be developed into a theatre and performance space. Another bonus of the project will be a large “stage” for outdoor performances on the broad concrete top surface covering the reservoir.

Work on the project needs to start soon this fall, as we see the winter rains beginning early. 

Linda St.Clair said, “Our goal is to raise enough to complete the construction of the reservoir in time to fill it over the winter. Generous donors have given us a good start on our goal.” 

The reservoir project team is grateful for initial donations from the Commons South Gardeners and the Farm Team from sales of produce grown on the Commons over the years ($6,000), the Nesters’ Community Card program ($5000), and community members. 

These contributions have started to fill the reservoir “standpipe” to a total of $12,800.

As seen on the front page of this Sounder, the Village Liquor Store has designated the Commons as the 1% member for October, so 1% of October Sales will be donated to the Commons Reservoir Project.

And, Lynn Bowerman anticipates making a major donation from the proceeds of the Farm to Table Feast.

The Commons is a non-profit society and a Registered Charity. 

Its 26 acres are held in trust for the use and enjoyment of present and future Gabriolans, while guided by the Agricultural Land Commission and the Islands Trust. 

The Commons is known as “the place where land and people meet” and its lands and buildings are stewarded by all of us on behalf of us all.

Most Gabriolans are familiar with the open spaces near the farmhouse and Community Kitchen where the Commons welcomes community events such as the Spring and Fall Fairs, the Mid-Week Night Market, the Farm to Table Feast, and the recent Cultivate Festival. 

Several community organizations, tenants such as the Tool Library, PHC and our Community bus, all find the Commons a great place to call home as well. 

Less known are the rich ecosystems to be discovered as well as the community allotment gardens and the tree fruit and blueberry orchards that provide organic food for islanders.

We welcome donations of any size and will provide tax receipts for those over $10. 

See the Gabriola Commons webpage or contact Judith (rouxmackay@gmail.com) for more information.