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If you have any questions on any of the information in this communication please direct it to me at vgccpresident@mtsm.blackberry.com or (204)792-2530.

On September 15th, on a closed group page made up of Kildonan Estates, Harbourview South and Bridgewood Estates Families, a note was posted advising these residents of our Board meeting on Sunday, September  21st and that this would be a very important meeting for them to attend as there will be a discussion regarding the $800,000 the City has given to the Community Centre. This note further says the community needs to have a say on how this $800,000 will be spent and offers free babysitting to all who attend.

On September 16th a post was made on a public website (Elmwood / East Kildonan - Preserving our Past, Planning our Future). 

Please be advised this meeting is a regular board meeting of the Valley Gardens Community Centre and  there is no discussion on the agenda of the City giving our community centre $800,000. 

Even if this discussion were on our agenda there are very clear instructions in our Constitution on how matters such as these should be dealt with. This would not be offered out to the community for discussion until after the Board of Directors has discussed it and approved it in principal.  Once that occurs an ad-hoc committee will be appointed by the President to study the feasibility of the project. This committee will provide a detailed written report to the Board within 60 days; upon acceptance and approval of the report by two-thirds majority of the Board a Special General Meeting must be called within 60 days at which time the report will be submitted to our entire membership, not just a few, for a two-thirds majority final approval.

The community is certainly welcome to attend any of our Board meetings; however, any member wishing to appear on the agenda must give notice to the President at least seven days prior to the meeting.  The executive committee will have the right to deny any such request with written confirmation stating the reasons for the denial.  

There have been other comments made on the Elmwood / East Kildonan - Preserving our Past, Planning our Future Facebook page regarding the current administration of the Valley Gardens Community Centre. The following will address some of these comments.  

(1)       The VGCC President did not ask the Vice President to make a motion to remove any board member. There was a discussion between the President and Vice-President regarding clarification of process in the event a board member is not following protocol / board constitution (i.e. acting on behalf of the VGCC Board when not authorized).  

(2)         Many discussions have occurred regarding the Outside Building, currently used by the 1st John De Graff Scouts. A decision was made by the Board, to submit for a renovation grant to renovate this building to both make it a better place for the scouts and to possibly use it as a source of additional revenue; as we would be able to rent it out for smaller functions and meetings. The application was submitted and was approved by the City of Winnipeg.  

            There are no plans to add a stained glass window. The Board, in partnership with the Valley Gardens Art Group, applied for a Youth with Art grant through the Winnipeg Arts Council & Winnipeg's Public Art Program and were one of the successful recipients.

The Winnipeg Arts Council describes this program as follows:

            ”WITH ART matches artists with community groups to collaborate on projects based on community goals. Exploration and the art-making process are central to the program.   Community groups from diverse sectors who have a history of working together are invited to apply. 

Youth WITH ART is modeled after the established WITH ART program and focuses on youth aged 6-21.
Youth-engaged community groups who would like to collaborate on youth-focused art projects are invited to apply."  

            There have been no definitive plans about what our specific project will be but public consultation did start at our Family Fun Day on August 23rd when our artist, Ursula Neufeld, spoke with some of the people throughout the day to get some sense of what might interest them. This was to be the first of many public consultations. One idea was to work on a mural for the Players Box on Rink one which faces Antrim Road. Ursula has been involved in doing many mosaic murals around the city, one of which is on the Red Road Lodge at the corner of Main and Logan, as well as Hugh John A McDonald School. This is an excerpt from her webpage.  

            Ursula Neufeld is an innovative and collaborative mosaic artist whose creations adorn schools, community buildings, homes, and playgrounds.  Ursula’s work has been shown in galleries and gardens throughout Canada, including Wayne Arthur Gallery, Cre8ery, Assiniboine Park Conservatory, and Uma’s in Gimli.  One of the fundamental aspects of Ursula’s community mural collaborations has been to give voice to participants who are creating the artwork, so that their ideas, interpretations, and dreams make up the subject of the finished art.  Recent works include large, exterior community murals at Red Road Lodge and Hugh John MacDonald School in Winnipeg.  Ursula has conducted workshops through ArtsSmarts, Arts Junktion, University of Winnipeg, and Daniel McIntyre St. Matthew Community Association.

 (3)       The hockey rinks are not unusable. As part of our funding agreement with the City of Winnipeg we are required to pass an inspection every year. At no time have our hockey rinks been deemed unusable by the City of Winnipeg.  

(4)       Valley Gardens Community Centre has been providing services to this community since 1977. The purpose of our Community Centre is to provide a broad range of recreational and leisure activities for persons of all ages residing within our catchment area, through the management and operation of the facilities and grounds. As times change, and as our population has changed, we have tried to offer other programs to accommodate these changes. The Scouts are a very important part of what we offer to our community.  

            Sports are also a large part of our Community Centre.  However, of the money collected during registration for any of the sports programs, VGCC only keeps the non-refundable Admin Fee ($50.00).  Of the $161,788.67 collected for all the sport programs in 2013, Valley Gardens Community Centre retained approximately $10,758.23, which is approximately 6.7% of the total money collected. The graph below provides an overview of our sports income / expenses from 2013.

             As you can see, the majority of the money ($113,648.36 or 70.2%) that was received at registration was paid out to the various sport associations, such as River East Minor Hockey Association, Phoenix Soccer, Red River Valley Sports League (Hardball), etc.. The remaining $37,382.08 (20.1%), was used to pay for other sport related expenses such as; refunds, transfer fees, equipment, referees, etc.  

            The City of Winnipeg gives the Valley Gardens Community Centre a yearly Operating Grant of approximately $79,000.  This money is used to pay for the basic operating expenses of the Community Centre, such as; hydro, water, small repairs, non-sports related equipment, etc.  The Operating Grant does NOT PROVIDE money for any Valley Gardens Community Centre employees, including the full-time Groundskeeper/Maintenance Person.  

Our only other sources of revenue include hall rentals, fundraisers, donations, and Family Fees that individuals pay at registration. The Family Fee is collected at registration and is a "bond" that a volunteer activity will be provided to the Community Centre. These activities can include assisting with jersey handouts for hockey trials, working in the canteen, chaperoning pre-teen dances, Family Fun Day support, Breakfast with Santa, etc.. Some of these individuals just tell us we can keep the money, other individuals will not fulfil their volunteer activity and their bond will not be returned. We are very fortunate that many of our volunteers fulfill their volunteer activity.  

(5)        In the city's 2014 / 2015 budget, money had been set aside for a splash pad to be built at Valley Gardens Community Centre. You can imagine our disappointment when we learned, through our local newspaper, that the splash pad was being relocated. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach Councillor Steen, the VGCC President finally connected with him to be told that a decision had been made by the City Administration to build the splash pad at the Concordia pool location. He indicated he would arrange a meeting between him, the City Administration and the VGCC President to discuss this. Nothing happened. The VGCC President has tried through various methods to determine why this decision was made but had not been successful. On August 6th the VGCC President received an e-mail from Ken McKim, Project Management Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development Department, advising the Splash Pad was to be built at the Elmwood-Kildonan Pool because it was a "better site due to on-site maintenance and life-saving staff, washroom and change room access and efficiencies for maintenance operation”. The VGCC President responded to Mr. McKim and thanked him for the communication, but expressed disappointment with this decision and the decision-making process.  

            The VGCC President received a call from a friend who advised that Councillor Steen had posted a reply to them on Facebook on or about August 12th that said there was all kinds of good news coming to Valley Gardens Community Centre and there would be some money for improvements. The VGCC President immediately placed a call to Councillor Steen. Councillor Steen advised that meetings had been occurring between him and Councillor Russ Wyatt discussing plans for the Valley Gardens Community Centre. These plans involve installing a splash pad, resurfacing a hockey rink (or rinks) and work on soccer fields (or field). The budget for this work is apparently $800,000.00.  

            While the Valley Gardens Board appreciates the significant capital investment, we are deeply concerned that we have not been a part of the consultation process. Councillor Steen has indicated that these improvements call for a reconfiguration of our current infrastructure which, of course, will impact both our programming and current renovation plans. (We were recently approved for a Renovation grant to improve one of our buildings. We are now told this building might be demolished!). It is unfathomable to us that decisions are being made for the VGCC site without any consultation or approval of the VGCC Board, the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres or the City of Winnipeg Community Services Department. There is a process in place for Community Centre redevelopment. This process is not being followed.  

(6)       The loss of the BMO contest was not the fault of this administration or the players. Everyone, including this administration, did the best they could to keep this Valley Gardens Community Centre soccer team front and centre.  

(7)       The breakdown of other registrants in our sports programs for 2013 were:

              R2C       1

              R2G       79

              R2K        439

              R2L        16

              R3W      319 (Kildonan Estates, Harbourview South and Bridgewood Estates).

(8)       Communities can certainly request to be reassigned to another Community Centre, however, there is a process that would be involved, which includes moving boundary lines.