Jones Estate Update – Please Come out & show your support Nov 13 @ 6pm

Nov 10, 2018

The Jones Estate is almost done – or is it?

This upcoming Tuesday November 13 at 6pm, Town Council once again meets on the Jones Estate with the original intent as put forward by Councillor Wilson of putting this issue to rest once and for all.

Concernedly, Administration is now introducing new concepts into the proceedings that have not been raised previously including;

    1. Later in the process the applicant can ask for the current proposed solution of the one dwelling approval to be changed when they apply for the development or subdivision permit
    2. The applicant is able (apparently) able to appeal two different bodies, including the Subdivision Development and Appeal Board (SDAB) or the Municipal Government Board (MGB)

This has the potential eliminating any further input “with no additional input or approvals from Council.” All this comes out with only a single full business day for our Town Councillors and and our community to respond.

Once again, we are asking the residents of Gleneagles to get up off that couch and show your support by showing up at the Council meeting Tuesday evening. Now more than ever we need each others support.

The complete Agenda for Tuesday and bylaw revisions can be found here.

https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=314

Please share this with your friends and neighbours and friends in Gleneagles.

Thank You,

Ron Douglas

President – Gleneagles Community Association

president@GECA.ca

GECA Early November 2018 Update

Parks

In our continuing efforts to manage our expenditures it’s been decided to have removed 5 GECA maintained garbage cans in & around the Gleneagles Landing green spaces as well as one island on Gleneagles View. The cans around Gleneagles landing will be replaced by a single bin of a style that the Town is currently using and the town will be responsible for emptying and maintaining the bin going forward. This change should be occurring within the next 4-6 weeks which allows the Town time to obtain and install the new bin before removing all of the old ones.

The benefits of this include:

  • elimination of costs for having to retain a contractor to empty and maintain the bins,
  • avoidance of any conflicts and the ongoing discussion around the Town’s zero waste management strategy,
  • the replacement bin will repositioned for dog walkers and the associated pet waste,
  • the replacement bin will have a lid for controlling odours,
  • duplication of costs between your GECA fees and your municipal taxes for maintaining the bins is also eliminated.

In other conversations with the Town Parks department some of the discussions currently underway include: Grinding the stumps on Gleneagles View in the traffic calming island and replacing with grasses or shrubbery, adopt-a-park options, self watering flower islands/pots to reduce future irrigation costs, as well as potentially returning some of the maintenance of other green space areas back to the Town (subject to community approval).

Jones Estate

It’s almost over. Maybe. At a recent Council meeting Town Council instructed staff to rewrite Bylaw 25/2018 to allow only a single residence on the Jones Estate lands. Once that comes back to council for 2nd and 3rd reading this issue should not come up again. The reality is that we will have to be vigilant and diligent until this is passed. The developer’s proponent that brought the latest proposal forward has issued a strict “no comment” to the media regarding the matter. A “Tip of the Hat” needs to go to Councillor Patrick Wilson for proposing the idea and Councillor Alex Reed for withdrawing his motion which enabled the current approach to move forward.

As always, if anyone has any questions or ideas, please feel free to email me at president@geca.ca or my work email at rondouglas@royallepage.ca .

Ron Douglas

President

Gleneagles Community Association

October 2018 – Jones Estate Bylaw Council Meeting October 22

It’s now confirmed that this upcoming Monday October 22 our elected town council is debating and giving 2nd and 3rd reading to the bylaw that will start the process of allowing the Jones Estate to be developed – if it passes.

The meeting starts at 6pm. If you can, please attend and demonstrate to our councillors your continued support for our neighbours and our community.

Please get the word out and make to the time to attend this upcoming Monday evening! It is extremely important for everyone on Council to see for themselves the people they represent!

Thank you
Ron Douglas – President
Gleneagles Community Association

October 2018 – Jones Estate – Council Vote delayed 2 Wks

We were informed this afternoon by Town Administration that the 2nd & 3rd Reading for Bylaw 25/2018 will not be proceeding next Tuesday October 9th, 2018 as originally proposed.
 
Administration has now identified Monday, October 22nd, 2018 as the next available date for the formal consideration of this bylaw – but this date doesn’t appear to be confirmed.
 
Stay Tuned
Ron Douglas
President- Gleneagles Community Association

September 2018 Updates

Recent Garage Sale

The Gleneagles Community Wide Garage sale happened on September 8 with just over a dozen homes participating. I know that we received a lot of feedback from shoppers about how much they loved this idea, appreciated being able to walk between several sales, and all loved our neighbourhood. It was also a great chance to meet some neighbours. We’d like to thank all of the volunteers and hosts for making this event the success that it was, and hope that we can do it again next year!

GECA 2.0

What do you want our community to be? If you have any thoughts or ideas, please let us know. With legacy challenges continuing around cost increases, delinquent accounts, and funding cuts GECA needs to evolve soon,  if not in 2019. We watch the Facebook page (Gleneagles Community Block Watch) or feel free to email me directly at president@geca.ca with your thoughts ideas & suggestions.

Jones Estate

If anyone read the Cochrane Eagle on September 13, there was an article that provided a good overview of the situation, as well as a summary of the presentations provided by a number of residents, condominium boards as well as Gleneagles Monday Sep 10. If you haven’t read it, we suggest you do so. A link to the article is here.

https://www.cochraneeagle.com/article/gleneagles-development-holds-record-public-hearing-vehement-resident-opposition-20180913

It has been confirmed that the 2nd reading and council debate will occur at the council meeting scheduled for Tuesday October 9, 2018. There are two possible outcomes from the 2nd reading; 1) it will be defeated and this ends this application; or 2) it can be approved at which time it will be scheduled for third reading. It is remotely possible that that this third reading can occur this same meeting ion October 9, 2018.

We are once again asking for everyone to attend this council meeting on October 9 to ensure that your elected representatives know where you (& Gleneagles) stand.

Grave Pit Operations Information Update – Gravel Pit Relocation (1)

Town staff has provided the following information with the intent of ensuring that everyone has access to the same information and has a clear understanding of what is taking place on the south side of the river.  A number of different activities are currently taking place, including the relocation of the gravel pit, the bridge construction and the development of a new community.

Staff from the town also visited the gravel pit operations during the week of Sep 10 and noted the following findings from their tour:

  • Gravel operation is working within the parameters of the Town’s Noise Bylaw
  • A water truck is regularly deployed to mitigate dust concerns from the operation
  • During the site tour, decibel levels were measured on site at several different locations, including adjacent to the crusher, and all met requirements of the Town’s Noise Bylaw
  • Operator also conducts regular noise test at the perimeter of the operation  
  • The operators are currently preparing their site to relocate their base of operations, moving from a location where James Walker Trail will be built next year (currently digging their wash ponds)
  • The base of operations will include the wash plant, office and weigh scale
  • Green Drop is committed to working with its neighbours to address any concerns with its operation
  • The Town will continue to actively monitor the relocation and operations of the gravel pit

At this time we have not been informed whether the Town will do any noise testing from Gleneagles. At this point GECA has received feedback from a number of residents about the increase in noise levels, and as well concerns have been stated about the dust. We would ask that members of the community contact the the town immediately if noise levels change, or they notice additional dust from the operations. As always, please feel free to keep GECA informed.

Town contact

Drew Hyndman
Senior Manager, Development Services
Direct: 403-851-2563  

Town of Cochrane
101 Ranchehouse Rd, 
Cochrane, AB, Canada  T4C 2K8
Drew.Hyndman@cochrane.ca   

 

Bears & Apples – It’s that time of year to be bear smart!

Fish and Wildlife and the Town of Cochrane is asking residents to remove any bear attractants in the yards such as bird feeders, berries and fruit.  The bear that was hanging out on the island on Gleneagles Close last weekend (Sep 3) has 4 apple trees on it.  Another (or the same?) bear was also caught  on camera this morning (Sep 6) in the park behind Gleneagles Terrace, and there are fruit trees in this park as well as many people’s back yards.

Fish and Wildlife recommends that attractants are removed (i.e. bird feeders), fruit trees are picked and any fruit on the ground is removed as well.

Domestic fruit trees are not a natural source of food for bears. They are acknowledged as a major bear attractant, and bring bears into our community. Please do not enable the bears by not tending to your fruit trees.  Attracting bears to your yard can also result in opportunistic bears obtaining other human foods such as garbage and pet food.

Thank You

And here we go again…

The developer of the Jones Estate is once again hosting a public open house, at the Cochrane Ranchehouse in the Hall of Vision on Wednesday September 5th, 2018 from 5:00 – 9:00 PM. Project team members from Quantam will be on hand to answer questions that you may have about the different aspects of their application. Gleneagles (&Cochrane) residents are invited to attend and check out what is being proposed. 

Please know that at his late date, Quantam is not in a position to incorporate any feedback that might be provided by residents, nor address any new concerns that are raised. In effect, this is a presentation, not a dialogue.

Based on the feedback from the membership received at our last AGM, GECA’s position remains unchanged and is opposed to Quantam’s proposal. An inquiry has been sent to see if any information has changed in their proposal since the July 9, 2018 Council meeting. This being said there still remains a very small window to submit your concerns after this Open House but before noon on Thursday September 6 to the Planning Department as well as our Elected Councillors and Mayor.

In order to ensure that your comments are received and registered in time for the September 10 Council Meeting, please submit your comments by noon on Thursday September 6 to;

nicole.tomes@cochrane.ca

jaylene.knight@cochrane.ca

Summer 2018 Update

Gleneagles Community Association – Update Summer 2018

GECA 2.0

Many Gleneagles Homeowners both at the AGM and via various forums have expressed a desire for “more” from GECA. We’d like to understand what the means. Please submit your ideas and thoughts to president@geca.ca where we’ll start to think about and consider options that would work for everyone in our community.

In the short term, GECA (without changing bylaws or increasing fees) can support community events in Gleneagles as long as two criteria are met. The first being that the event is self funding and the second being that there are volunteers to run it.

GARAGE SALE – The first example of this is that on Saturday September 8, 2018 – there will be a Gleneagles wide community Garage Sale. Clean out your storage rooms, closets and even your garages and come sit a spell. Don’t have anything to sell? Then why not take a wander and pick something up, or just say hi & introduce yourself to your neighbours!

Delinquent Accounts

As of July 25, 2018  – 77 (about 8%) of Gleneagles homeowners have yet to pay their 2018 HOA fees. GECA like everyone else these days is feeling the financial pressures and we encourage everyone to contact info@geca.ca if you haven’t yet paid your fees and to make arrangements to do so. GECA has alternatives to collect the fees, but these alternatives are time consuming, cumbersome and costly. Thank You.

Irrigation

GECA is taking a proactive stance in 2018 when it comes to water consumption (and its associated costs) for our green spaces. Leaks have been repaired, and reviews are ongoing with our new irrigation contractor to identify further leaks, and ensure that green spaces are getting an appropriate amount of water without over watering. Town Water bills are a significant portion of GECA’s annual budget and every liter saved translates to a direct savings for us.

If you see a park or green space getting too much or too little water, please let us know!

Proposed Jones Estate Development – Bylaw 25/2018

The proposed bylaw for the development of the Jones Estate lands passed 1st reading by Town Council on Monday July 9. Councillor Alex Reed was the only Councillor that voted against the First Reading.

Since this time it has been confirmed by Town staff have confirmed that previous submissions on this matter will not be accepted or considered for the second and third reading, and that only new submissions will be considered.

Accordingly, all old submissions must be re-submitted by Sep 6th as well as any new submissions as the public debate is currently scheduled for Monday September 10.

ASK: We’re asking all residents living in Gleneagles the area to send comments on to our Town Councillors before Sep 6. If you submit written comments, you may also have the opportunity to speak-up publicly during the council meeting on Sep 10, 2018.

Submissions should be balanced  between emotional, technical as well as social (i.e. comparing the proposal to Cochrane’s Strategic/Sustainability Plan).

An informal working group is ensuring that all of the condominium board’s as well the GECA submission is coordinated, collaborative and aligned.

 

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.

Deja vu all over again…

Hello Gleneagles, figured it was time for a couple of quick updates since our AGM at the end of May.  Thanks to all of you who were able to attend and the opportunity to meet some of you in person!  In no particular order…here’s what happening of interest to GECA of late:

JONES ESTATE REZONING APPLICATION (# umpteen…)

As you can see by the newspaper ad below, the proponent for development of the Jones Estate is coming back to council with another kick at the can to have our Urban Reserve rezoned to R-1 to make way for (at last count) 16 new homes on that 4 acre shelf.  As has been discussed on numerous occasions and for a multitude of valid reasons including ground stability, water table concerns, safety and noise issues, wildlife disruption and general aesthetics and potential property value impact…GECA remains fully opposed to development of this parcel.

Even if your Gleneagles home is not within view of this section of land…we are all affected in some way if the graders, cement trucks and hammers start rolling in…changing this lovely and peaceful section of land forever.  If you are able, we encourage you to visit the pre-filing consultation on July 5th at the Ranchehouse and express your disappointment over the continued push to develop this property…especially when the proponent has already noted a substantial cash offer for the land with an intention of keeping it as UR designation!  That amounts, in my opinion, to an admission of pure greed with no regard for the neighbouring residents or indeed all of Gleneagles.  

Thankfully our current council has thus far been empathetic to our submissions and in agreement that this parcel is not suitable for development.  However, this is an election year and while this current attempt may yet again be quashed before 3rd reading…a new council may be less forgiving and we encourage you to inquire about a new candidate’s position on the Jones Estate when you go to the ballot box this fall.

PARKS MAINTENANCE IN GLENEAGLES EAST AND WEST

As most of you are aware, on April 1st of this year the Town of Cochrane assumed control over the four major parks in Gleneagles…with GECA in charge of only the islands and boulevards.  Almost immediately we received a series of complaints about the quality of workmanship throughout our parks, ranging from uneven cuts, to sprayed trimmings everywhere, to deep gouges in the turf caused by heavy machinery.

We had a good meeting with Gerry Murphy of the Town the other day (after I exchanged several emails with Gerry and other town officials both elected and administrative) and received assurances that going forward things would improve.  While our residents must understand that it will never be as polished as when we paid our own private landscaper to do things for us (i.e. the town doesn’t trim/edge along resident fence lines), we can at least expect the grass to be watered appropriately and cut evenly without big messes left behind.

I am willing to cut our Town officials and contractors some slack while they work out the kinks of watering and mowing timing, and the best equipment to use in our parks.  But if you continue to see shoddy results, by all means let the town know your concerns and I do trust that Gerry and Brad will do their best to rectify things.  Again, we can’t expect a platinum standard of private groundskeeping, but we can expect the Town’s best.

If you have issues with any of the boulevards, islands or the strip separating Gleneagles Landing from Gleneagles View…those concerns can still come to GECA directly and we will advise our maintenance contractor.

SUMMER “GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS” GATHERING??

As indicated at the AGM and discussed briefly on the Gleneagles Blockwatch Facebook page, we have a small budget for a block party (park party) this summer for anybody who wishes to take on the task of organizing.  Realistically, with it already being the end of June, I’m thinking a weekend from mid-August to mid-September would be the most likely time a couple of volunteers could put something together.  If you have some time this summer and are looking for a great way to get involved and give back to the community by organizing a Sunday BBQ, let me know and we can help out with the costs of food, soft-drinks and maybe a bouncy castle or two for the kids.