Happy New Year! GECA Update 2018

NEW PRESIDENT & SECRETARY NEEDED

If you attended the last AGM, you heard me say that I could not carry on as GECA President forever and this was always intended to be an interim position to help bridge a gap to a more permanent individual.  Quite simply, my “real job” and my family obligations keep my wife and I swamped on a regular basis and it’s not fair to you as a resident, or GECA and our Board as an organization, that we can only run this post off the corner of our desks.  The community deserves someone who can devote more time and attention to the needs of our neighbourhood, our website updates and properly scheduled and run Board meetings.  

Given that moral suasion hasn’t had the effect I’d hoped,I need to announce firmly now that Roxanne will be stepping down as Secretary and I will be stepping down as President no later than the next AGM in May.  I strongly encourage you, if you have any time or interest in giving back to your community, to contact us before then to put your name forward for one of those posts.   Between now and May we would be happy to run through the role with the new individual(s) and train you on the use of our website, where to access files in Dropbox, key Town contacts, and the like.  I don’t want to simply leave GECA in a vacuum after the May AGM, but that is what will happen if nobody steps up.  I sincerely hope we have a caring resident in our midst who has both the time and desire to help impact our community in a positive way.

GECA FEES & BUDGET

It’s that time again…GECA fees for 2018 are now due and we would appreciate payment by no later than April 30th.  Reminder that you can pay on our website via the PayPal link.  Once again they have remained static at $125 and we have some hard decisions to make as a community going forward.  2017 was the first year in a long time that we had to tap into our reserve funds to balance the budget…owing to much higher irrigation costs for our islands and boulevards (Town of Cochrane water charges) along with higher than expected landscaping costs.  While we all chose to live here for its views, topography, natural beauty and much-more-prolific greenspace versus other communities… the reality is that costs money to maintain and beautify and we cannot simply continue charging the same fee that existed 15 years ago and expect to remain sustainable.  Nor can we realistically or fairly expect our separate condo associations to pay any more towards GECA, or expect less in current fee rebates, when the lion’s share of boulevards and islands are being maintained in Gleneagles East and West.  

Your GECA volunteers have been diligently looking into options with the Town and with our landscaping options, trying to determine how to make our dollars go further.  We would consider all options including a separate fee hike only for residents of Gleneagles East and West, or simply returning responsibility of all Gleneagles greenspace back to the Town, knowing that the quality and abundance of our beauty would likely not come close to the standards we have come to enjoy.  Either way, the well is only a few years away from running dry and hard decisions will need to be made sooner than later—we welcome any and all of your suggestions or comments at president@geca.ca or secretary@gec.ca.  

JONES ESTATE

The parcel (for those who aren’t familiar, it’s that large patch of vacant land between the Estates and the Vistas, near Highway 1A) has been sold and is once again up for development consideration.  GECA and several passionate stakeholders from the various condo associations have successfully argued twice against development of this property (currently zoned Urban Reserve) and are prepared to do so again.  Previous developers had been looking to purchase the land only conditional upon rezoning approval; however the current owner has purchased it with no such approval in place and is essentially rolling the dice with our current council, in spite of it being largely elected or re-elected on a “slow down growth” mandate.  We believe that the current developer’s argument of “no development is NOT an option!” can be refuted quite simply with the fact that “no development is ABSOLUTELY an option”.   

Quite frankly, Cochrane has tons of existing and future-approved developments already on the books and if a home builder is that keen on putting their stamp on our town, there are plenty of other places to ply one’s trade without tearing up an existing 20+ year community where families have grown roots, wildlife have come to appreciate and seek shelter in the existing open spaces, and Mother Nature (touch wood) appears to have left our sleeping dragon of a mountain to rest peacefully for a decade or more.  Why scratch its back and anger it?  

The developer has contracted Quantum Place Developments (“QPD”) to engage with our community in advance of making a formal application for rezoning and we expect to know more soon, as GECA and your condo associations are meeting regularly with QPD and the Town of Cochrane to obtain updates.  In the meantime, we encourage you to visit www.qpdengage.ca/jonesestateland to join their mailing list and learn more about their plans as they become available.  We also encourage you to actively remind your Mayor and Councillors about the platform on which they were elected and that they are under no obligation to approve any development on this land that does not appear to reflect the wishes or best interest of either our community or the Town at large.  GECA and its Board will remain vigilant at all future engagements with both the developer and the Town in an effort to preserve our status quo.  

VEHICLE BREAK-INS

Hopefully you have not been victim to a break-in recently but many have.  The serenity of Gleneagles and the friendliness of our neighbours makes it easy to let our guards down and leave our vehicles and homes unlocked…but sadly this is not 1960 Mayfield, it’s 2018 Cochrane and  no community is immune to thieves and scoundrels anymore.  Many homeowners have reported recent theft from vehicles and garages in our community, particularly over the Christmas season when out of town guests were visiting and when presents and valuables tended to appear in back seats more often than normal.  

You are strongly encouraged to keep your vehicles locked at all times, leave no valuables visible, keep the entry door from your garage to your home locked and, where possible, do not leave your garage door link from your vehicle in plain view.  Once a thief is in your car, it’s just a push-button away from the inside of your garage and all those valuables, if you make it easy for them.  

If you are not already a member of our Facebook community, please join us at “GlenEagles Cochrane Block Watch Community Page”.  It’s a closed group but just send moderator Mark Smith a quick FB message to let him know you live here and would like to join.  

DOG POOP

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” were the immortal words of Bing Crosby but if he’d walked through Gleneagles towards the end of December his dreams may have been shattered by the overwhelming presence of brown!  Please dog owners, it’s not rocket science — be a responsible and respectful neighbour and dog owner and pick up after your pooch!  Nobody’s suggesting you follow them 20-feet into the ravine to scoop the poop, if that’s where Fido decides to relieve himself (although that’s technically still the appropriate action) but at a bare minimum can we please remove it if it’s on the sidewalk, pathway or visible from those places?  

TOWN SEEKS VOLUNTEERS

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community (but only after you agree to be GECA President or Secretary!), Cochrane is seeking volunteers for “Public At Large” members for a selection of various committees.  You can obtain more information by clicking here https://www.cochrane.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=410 and then selecting the relevant hyperlink to the committees page or phoning/e-mailing Lori McLain.

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