An open letter to Fairview residents from the Community Garden Committee regarding the garden site location

An open letter to Fairview residents from the Community Garden Committee

As previously announced, the baseball diamond site behind the community building has been chosen for the community garden site. The committee is still going through the application process with the City of Calgary.

Community members can rest assured that the community garden committee put in a lot of research, thought and care into the selection of this site. Over the past year, we have completed a full site assessment and ranking on all City green spaces in Fairview, we have surveyed the neighborhood, asked for your feedback, and contacted homes with a sight line of the proposed site. The committee has exceeded the requirements of the City’s application process to engage with the residents of Fairview. We want to thank everyone who has sent us their feedback or come out to a meeting over the past year.

We would like to take this opportunity to openly address concerns brought forward about the chosen community garden site.

We have heard a number of concerns regarding the removal of the diamond. Below we have addressed the main concerns brought forward by the community regarding the use of the baseball diamond site.

Concern: Removal of a space that promotes physical activity

The removal of the baseball diamond will of course remove the option to play baseball on a baseball diamond, but plenty of space for physical activity will remain on and around the site. Gardening is an outdoor activity as well, and many sports and games (including a casual game of baseball) can still be played in the green space behind the community building and in adjacent fields. There has also been a reduction in baseball enrolment and move towards regional-based leagues (rather than community-based) that has led to a major reduction in usage of the site. We’d like to see this under-used site become a well-used site again by making changes that will benefit the whole community.

There will also be the potential for more activity-based infrastructure to be added to the space in the future. Examples of potential additions could include an outdoor rink, small skate park, tennis court(s), basketball court, outdoor adult exercise equipment and more. So, while the nature of the activity may change, the site will remain a space that promotes activity and a healthy lifestyle. The Community Association is interested in pursuing other such concepts for this site.

Concern: Transition of demographics in Fairview (increase in young families)

The Community Association is very committed to creating and improving spaces in Fairview for the benefit of all residents, young and old. Recent work on playgrounds and park spaces for kids, park improvements for everyone, off-leash spaces for dog owners and the new seniors initiative shows this commitment. We also want to focus on spaces for young adults, older adults and teenagers, quiet spaces for quiet folk, and activities for people who maybe don’t enjoy organized sports.

While of course families with young children are an important demographic in Fairview, our community is so much more than just one demographic, and we should be reflecting that in what we do as a CA and a community, especially in our infrastructure.

The addition of a garden is something that will be usable by all generations, and truly caters to the unique makeup of demographics of our neighborhood. We believe that a community garden has at least as much value for young families as a baseball diamond does, and also offers value to our middle aged, and older residents.

Suggestions: Why not at the other (west) end of the field?

Currently, the entire field behind the arena is a part of the baseball diamond. No matter which corner of the field the garden is placed, the diamond itself would not be usable due to the outfield requirements.

In the case that we would remove the baseball diamond, it would free up the space for many more possibilities for our community. We would not be losing a space for outdoor physical activity, but rather transitioning a single-use activity site in our community to a site that has the potential to house multiple activities and serve all the residents of Fairview and their varying interests. Because of its proximity to schools and Indefinite Arts, the garden would also be in a prime position for various partnerships and educational opportunities. The community garden will be the beginning of a new space in the heart of Fairview where the community can come together.

While the exact placement of the garden in the space behind the community building is still being explored, we believe that this is the right step forward for our amazing, evolving community, and we are really looking forward to seeing all that this space can be unfold over the years to come.