New deck, new kitchen, new roof and new trail at Gabriola Commons
There’s a whole lot of construction and renovation happening down at The Gabriola Commons.
Thanks to an anonymous donation of $50,000, the Vancouver Foundation donating in $10,000, $1,200 raised at The Commons Trade Fair, the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT) donating $1,000 and the Gabriola Lions’ Club donating $4,000, the volunteers at the Gabriola Commons will be able to tackle a number of projects which have been waiting for financial opportunities to happen.
Victor Anthony, Chair of the Gabriola Commons Foundation said, “when you are volunteer-driven and fund-raising dependent, you get what you get and lately we’ve been doing pretty good. It’s a beautiful thing.”
At the most recent Commons Coordinating Council, the group decided on where some of the donated monies would go.
Village Trail begun with help from GaLTT
Victor explained the Council portioned off $1,000 of the $50K donation to be put towards beginning of The Commons portion of a Village corridor trail.
The Commons portion of the trail is, Victor said, “going to be quite nice, five feet wide with a nice finished surface suitable for strollers, scooters and bicycles.”
To help get the ball rolling, GaLTT gave the Commons $1,000. The Commons has $2,000 budgeted for the trail. (Photo: Susan Yates, representing the Trails and Green Spaces Team at The Commons, receives a cheque for $1,000 from GaLTT president John Peirce. The funds will be used to begin construction on the new corridor trail which will run east-west across The Commons from the Huxley Park to the Rollo Seniors’ Centre.
Photo courtesy Victor Anthony)
The plan is to start where the Commons property abuts the Huxley Community Park and connect through the Commons to the Rollo Seniors’ Centre.
Right now there is a well-worn deer trail connecting from Huxley. Rick Cranston has already provided a carving which will be a feature part of the gate between the two properties.
Victor said, “We’re going to get as far as we can with the $2,000 and see what happens after that.”
New deck for main
As the main house at the Commons was in need of a new deck, the Council allocated in the neighbourhood of $5,000 to replace it.
“The Lions’ Club of Gabriola gave us $4,000. We had $1,100 set aside from the Trades Fair and the balance [required to finish] will come out of the $50,000 we were given from the donor. [Construction] is almost done. In a very short order.”
In true Commons resourcefullness, the wood that which is still usable from the old deck has been stacked up for future use.
Living Roof completion on Sustainability Centre
Victor said, “we want to do something with the Sustainability Centre. That project was stalled, it was a gift, we didn’t have the finances to finish it, we had to fundraise just to get a roof on it.”
The building is a timber-frame donated to the Commons by the Island School of Building Arts, located on the west end of The Commons.
Victor explained $2,000 has been allocated to clean up the stuff that is currently stored underneath the building.
“We’ll have to find another place to store all of that, clean it out and take $2,000 and finish the living roof part, which is the roof on the east side of the building. Then we’ll get a gravel floor down so that it can at least be used as an outdoor shelter until we can begin the real work of finishing it out.”
Of note, if anyone has a few yards of suitable gravel they are willing to donate to the Commons to use for this purpose, please contact Victor.
“We intend to start using it even in it’s most basic form.
set for Completion
A fairly substantial portion of the $50K donation had been allocated for the Community Kitchen to be built in the former dairy barn.
Just recently, the Commons received a $10,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.
Victor said the Commons is also going to be applying to a federal matching funds grant, which the Commons qualifies for. Using the dollars from the anonymous donar and the Vancouver Foundation as the Commons portion, they could potentially get a matching amount from the federal government.
Victor said, “if we get that matching money, we figure we can finish the thing and open the doors which will be amazing.”
The kitchen will be available to all Gabriolans for uses such as processing and dehydrating foods, preparing “community kitchen” meals, or running classes in “Food Safe” techniques or ethnic cooking.
Judith Roux, a member of the Commons grant-writing team said, “The Community Kitchen project lies at the heart of the Commons. We are thrilled to receive this funding.”
Victor clarified the kitchen will be a commercial kitchen only in the health inspection requirements it will need to meet.
In spirit, the kitchen will be a community kitchen and is not going to be used for commercial purposes.
The next Commons Coordinating Council (open to the public to attend) is scheduled for 7 pm upstairs at the Commons on Tuesday August 7.