Minutes of Meeting, January 15, 2009, at City Hall

 

Present: Jane-Anne Anderson (Whalley CA), Darlene Bowyer (Port Kells CA), Bonnie Burnside (Whalley CA), Ann Cassidy (Bolivar Heights CA), Linda Isaac (Bridgeview in Motion), Esther Johnson (White Rock-Surrey Naturalists), Karen Kreis (Surrey ASC community developer), Sonia Nazar (Bridgeview in Motion), Barb Paton (Semiahmoo RA), Mike Proscow (Country Woods RA), Grant Rice (South Westminster RA), Wally Sandvoss (Port Kells CA), Fred Weber (Ocean Park CA), Velma Wilson (Cloverdale CA), Rosemary Zelinka (Elgin Ratepayers and Coordinator for Surrey ASC).

 

1. Appointment of Chair

Darlene Bowyer was appointed Chair for this meeting.

 

2. Approval of Agenda

The Agenda was approved as circulated.

 

3. Neighbourhood Improvement Matching Grant

Renate Gepraegs, the City’s Beautification Coordinator, described the grant program and purposes. She mentioned Jim Dier’s book, “Neighbor Power” as an inspiration for this program. This year, the program will have $25,000 for which community groups can apply that wish to improve their neighbouhoods and build community spirit. The groups must prove at least half the funding, which can be calculated in terms of volunteer labour as well as money. Criteria already identified in the initial report to Council include demonstrated neighbourhood support, being located on publically owned and accessible land, low maintenance project, and safely implemented by volunteers. She invited input to additional criteria which will be used to assess the applications. The consensus from the community participants was that:

* Grants should be dealt with on a first come first served basis;
* Grants should not exceed about $1,000 normally;
* These grants would be awarded very quickly, maybe in a two week period;
* Groups wanting additional funding would be considered but in a slower process and might have to wait until towards the end of the year. Renate would also refer larger grant applications to more appropriate City funding programs e.g. the Beatification program, Community Art Matching Program. Renate will list City grant programs on the City’s website;
* The community should be represented on the grant awarding committee.

Concerns were raised that:

* The community groups receiving grants need to be bona fide and accountable;
* Insurance for volunteers should to be addressed;
* We need to ensure that the funded programs are of real community benefit.
* $25,000 is insufficient. However the majority of participants felt this would be a good start.
* Port Kells has been trying to interest the City in providing matching funding for its project of eight heritage markers for some time, without success.

Renate thanked participants for their input and advised that she would be reporting to Council on the detailed criteria for the program, probably in February. Participants thanked Renate for allowing them to have input to the criteria, which augers well for City - community association cooperation.

 

4. Any other Business

(a) The Coordinator provided an update of activities by the Executive since the last general meeting. Karen Kreis has been hired as our community developer until May, on a part-time contract funded by last year’s United Way grant. Karen will be working on some city-wide workshops. The first of these, on Sustainability in the Home, has received a $500 grant from the City. Karen will also organize community development activities in Newton, where we are intending to hold a number of community meetings to encourage the public to get involved in community activities and maybe form groups to undertake projects that benefit the community. Karen will also make application on our behalf for additional grants.

(b) Bonnie Burnside reported that she and Karen are working with SFU regarding the Sustainability in the Home workshop and it may be possible to hold the event in the SFU theatre, with displays etc. in the corridor outside. SFU is apparently introducing a sustainability program and are very interested in the potential for this event. Surrey ASC’s costs may be considerably reduced by this cooperation. This approach was generally supported by those present.

 

5.NextMeeting

The next meeting on February 19 will be our AGM. Notices will be sent out within the required time limits, advising of the location of the meeting.

 

6. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 8.55 pm.