With 2022 being touted as the ‘Year of the Garden’ by the Canadian Garden Council, Elnora experienced a presentation by avid gardener Carolanne Halstrom of the Trochu Arboretum at their latest meeting on Thurs. March 10.
She shared that not only is it the Year of the Garden but communities across the country are encouraged to put their spin on the topic under the theme colour of red to celebrate the Centennial of Canada’s ornamental horticulture sector and honour the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association’s 100-year anniversary.
For Elnora and other surrounding municipalities, Halstrom has been approaching councils at Trochu, Delburne and Kneehill County to see how they can engage.
Halstrom shared the Arboretum will now be registered and visible online to be put on the virtual map to attract visitors.
The arboretum will be packaging poppy seeds as gifts to be sent to everyone in the community.
Elnora councillors were on board, seeing this as an opportunity for some lightheartedness after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would brighten up the town,” said Mayor Jul Bissell.
They suggested Halstrom get in touch with the local school to have participation from students and see if they could go door-to-door to drop off the packages.
The poppies being used are called Canada Pride which consists of a red and pure white petal with yellow centres as well as a mix of traditional poppies included.
Council passed a motion to provide up to $100 for the poppy seed packets.
Census numbers revealed
Statistics Canada recently released the 2021 census collection results.
Administration presented Elnora’s stats, sharing the local population went down 3.4 per cent when compared to the 2016 population.
This percentage is equal to 10 people.
CAO Wesgate added that there is a pro to this otherwise non-beneficial change in number as levies are based on population which means the village won’t have to pay as much per capita in some areas including requisitions as it’s a more updated reflection of the population.
The downside is that grants will be cut for the same reason.
Council passed a motion to accept this as information.
Mileage rate increase
With the recent spikes in fuel prices recently, CAO Wesgate felt it was necessary to re-visit the mileage rate paid by the village.
Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and the City of Red Deer have increased their rate to $0.61 per kilometre.
Council agreed to do the same for now and agreed to revisit it in the future.
Community garden relocating
The Elnora Community Garden, managed by Elnora FCSS, was originally sited west of the Public Works Shop located at 142 – 1st Ave.
It was closed in 2018 and moved to the current site at 519-4th Ave. as community gardeners were unable to access the site on demand as it was only open during staff work hours (not on evenings or weekends).
The current site has 10 small plots and was said that the soil is hard and of very poor quality.
The plots on the west side have a lot of rocks, debris and broken glass.
Last year, due to the extreme drought, all the gardens failed due to a lack of water.
There has been an increasing demand for garden plots and, it was noted the original site could be re-activated.
In 2021 the village, with Municipal Stimulus Program funding, fenced the perimeter of the Public Works shop site to secure the Village assets, leaving the original Community Garden site available on an ongoing basis.
The soil is of good quality and public works staff can set up a seasonal water tank to support this space.
Council asked if the communication tower would interfere with this space but administration shared that it would not as the tower would be located east of the shop if accepted by the Municipal Planning Commission whereas the garden would be on the west side.
Council passed a motion to move the community garden to this space beside the public works facility where 12 new garden plots will be made.