The Griesbach Community League welcomed a new president on Monday night.
Shelby Corley will take over as president from Brad Tilley.
Corley is a proud Griesbach resident who runs a consulting firm and is a mom to two young boys. She brings two years experience as board secretary to the position. Corley also served on the board of her professional association.
“I am excited to take over the president position and to build on the legacy that Brad has created over the last eight years,” said Corley. “I had heard about the great community league in Griesbach and got involved not long after my family moved here. I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent our neighbourhood along with the other amazing volunteers on the board.”
Tilley stepped down after founding the Griesbach Community League and then running it for eight years.
Tilley took a moment to reflect on his eight years of service to the community, which started when he and one of his daughters put flyers in neighbourhood mail boxes, asking residents to meet in the school gym.
“There were a bunch of people who showed up. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Tilley. “Its not just about the community league. I’ve also made a lot of friends.”
Carl Knowler, past president who has served with Tilley since the beginning, joked that Tilley finally deserves a break from his volunteer duties.
“Brad has been a pillar of this community,” said Knowler. “It really is a great community and we should all feel proud to live here.”
The rest of the new board members are:
Vice-president – Dave Loken
Treasurer – Aaron Gregson
Secretary – Erin Neil
Communications – Emily Senger
Civics & Community Development – Michael Ching Jiunn Chen
Fundraising – Norman Yee
Facilities & Structures – Don Napier
Memberships – Chelsea Rowland
Neighbourhood Watch – Todd Demaine
Parks & Community Gardens – Justin Laverty-Harrigan
Programs – Morgan Gauthier
Social – Cheryl Flaig
Sports – Bill Countryman
Volunteers – Li Pan
Members at Large – Carl Knowler, Kawtar Idrissi Machichi, Jason McCulloch
Local politicians pledge support on Sobeys lot issue
The community league was happy to welcome representatives from all three levels of government to the meeting: Edmonton Councillor Bev Esslinger, Edmonton-Calder MLA and Education Minister David Eggen and Edmonton-Griesbach MP Kerry Diotte.
Esslinger had good news to report on transit funding. The city received $1 billion from the federal government to fund its next phase of transit expansion, including the north LRT leg, towards the Yellowhead.
Sobeys was a big topic for our provincial and federal representatives. Both Diotte and Eggen commended Griesbach for its efforts to complain to the Competition Bureau about the neglected Sobeys lot.
Diotte has already met with league members on the issue and promised to support further action.
“I’m happy to work with the community however I can,” Diotte told community members.
Eggen said that the issue of restrictive covenants hampering commercial development is an issue not just in Griesbach, but in other parts of Edmonton, and the province.
“The nice thing is you are helping to bring forward issues that can help other communities in the province,” Eggen said. “I think this is something we can bring forward for Service Alberta and Justice to look at.”
Outgoing president Tilley said he will continue to pressure Sobeys, along with the new board members. “We are trying to do our best. It is a tough hill to climb,” Tilley said. “Believe me, this isn’t the end of it.”
Aaron Gregson, CGL treasurer who has been playing a large role in the Sobeys campaign, said he is still encouraging residents to submit a Competition Bureau complaint, if they have not already done so. The next phase after the media campaign is to meet with the province about restrictive covenants and with the federal government about the Competition Act. “We want to get to a scenario where the competition bureau can more thoroughly investigate,” Gregson said.
Eggen also said that the province is looking to tighten up laws around selling salvage metal. Such legislation is intended to reduce property crime, as was the case with stolen memorial plaques in Griesbach in 2017.
An early vision for the police training centre
Vice-president Dave Loken reported that the community league is in talks with the city and other stakeholders to look at future uses for the police training centre, once EPS fully moves out of that building in the next six months.
The community league is looking at the feasibility of taking a portion of that building over, possibly as a community hub with other city partners. “It would be great for us to have part of it,” said Loken. “Not having a community hall does limit what we can do. It could be another gathering place for us.”
The building has a large gymnasium and plenty of office space that could be used by the community league, the city and other non-profit partners.
However, Loken cautioned that talks are in the early stages. The community league, and the city, will have to do their due diligence before moving forward.
Development underway on Maple Leaf Pond, says Canada Lands
Canada Lands Company senior director Marvin Neumann shared plans for what will be called Maple Leaf Pond, the final lake to the west of the central hill.
The lake will have a hard edge that will create a maple-leaf shape, visible from the top of the central hill, he said.
When complete, the lake will include a multi-use trail around it, a skating pond, exercise equipment and plenty of benches and other seating.
Unfortunately, a soft real estate market means work on the lake, and other developments in Griesbach, is slower than initially planned, he said.
“I was hoping we would start more of it this year, but it will probably be pushed back a year,” said Neumann. “We’re just not seeing the uptake on the lots.”
Neumann also shared a plan for the southwest corner of the neighbourhood, along 137th Avenue, where the eventual LRT stop will go in.
The developers envision that as a higher-density area, with one or two residential towers, he said. The city would have to approve any plans before development moves forward.
“There is no point in having an LRT station if you don’t have anyone who is going to jump on the train,” Neumann explained.
Neumann also addressed resident concerns about slipping architectural guidelines in Griesbach, saying the softer market means some guidelines have to be altered to improve affordability.
“We are trying not to water it down or reduce it,” he said. “There are some things we need to move on. We still have another 10 or 15 years left out here. It is a balancing act. We started 17 years ago. People then had some different ideas about what houses should look like.”
He also addressed questions about a new monument or statue in the roundabout on Griesbach Road. Neumann said that is on hold for now, because of questions about who will pay for the monument upkeep once Canada Lands moves out of the Griesbach neighbourhood.
“The city does not like taking those [monuments] over,” said Neumann. “There is a maintenance agreement that is attached to that and I don’t want to burden the community league with those things.”