Gabriola Commons fundraising to resurface main parking lot

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, January 31 2017

Over the weekend of January 23, 2017, the main Commons area parking lot was a sea of mud, says George Szanto, who is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Commons and has also worked for the last 12 years with the grant writing teams and in long-term planning. “It’s an area we want to clean up with something more permanent or people won’t be able to come onto it.”

Szanto says the Commons is a wonderful organization and it does a great deal for the community. “We work with a lot of good people. I started there because we were a bunch of people who wanted to have something happen and it sounded very attractive to me.”

The area is going to be flattened and three inches of driveway stone will be applied to it. “Everyone uses it. All the teams, the Yurt people and the people who have plots there. The People for a Healthy Community (PHC) uses it, and it’s used for overflow events and other places too like the school and any of the fairs.”

The lot will include 60 new spaces. “If you know where the boules court is, right behind that, and behind the timberframe building facing the Commons. So if you’re facing the Commons it will be to the right of that.”

Szanto says the demand for parking is due also to the community kitchen that’s gone into the Commons. “It demands a lot for parking and in the summer it’s tinder dry and we’re afraid of fires starting there.”

The new community kitchen was a result of a number of grants and massive hard work by many Commoners [members of the Commons]. Szanto says there are about 180 people who contribute their time, money or intelligence to making the Commons what it is.

“Everything from the Girl Scouts, woodworkers, to the PHC is housed there, but they’re not part of the Commons. There are also potters, GERTIE is housed there, and a large number of singing groups. It’s a very diverse space that lends itself to a diverse group of projects. The Village Food Market has been very supportive of us since we started the project. It was an obvious place to go for a substantial piece of the project.” The Commons hopes to raise $5,000 for this safe, off-the-street parking project.

Fundraising has enabled the Commons to pay down its mortgage from $480,000 to just under $50,000 in eight years. Szanto says there will be a lot more grant writing going on, which is different than fundraising because it is for specific projects like the parking lot. 

For more information about supporting the Commons’ new parking lot through the Community Card Program please visit the Village Food Market.