Annual Report 2002:

We have had an active year, executing our largest-ever Earth Day planting in April, and holding a very successful summer musical concert for the 7th straight year. We have been active in the East Fraserlands development process, publicizing the beaver dams, and arguing that this development could help with day lighting of streams, providing improved habitat, and providing eco-educational benefits in our neighbourhood.

One major activity of ECPC this year was working with the city staff on repairing trails using capital plan funds. As of this writing, 90% of the major trails in the park have been resurfaced after many years of neglect. City staff have a detailed map of which trail sections to rebuild with remaining funds, and have assured us it will be completed soon.

We also asked that the three lookouts be heavily cut back and cleaned up as they had become quite overgrown. This was done, and city planners have walked the park with our members to document southern facing public views to be protected in future.

In October, our committee asked again that the city install a Kerr Road crosswalk, and we repeated this request throughout the year. It was installed in the summer of 2002. We also requested that an external gate be placed on the entrance to the Kerr Road parking lot. Funding for this is an issue but we have been told it will be installed soon.

Problems include graffiti and vandalism, as well as continuing growth of invasives like Japanese Knotweed. The long-term health of Avalon pond and its drainage into a creek is a question as is the amount and number of nesting birds and how we can increase them. Dog debates have settled down, but no resolution has been reached. Waste is less of a problem as we have been supplying bags. We also posted a new trail map in the centre, reprinted our trail map, and have developed an educational handbook.

The movie shoot that took place in the park late this summer was a major issue for our committee and the CHCA board. We received strong support from the board in debating this proposal and in trying to develop benefits for the park out of this event. Only through direct inquiries and challenges to some city staff (as well as the support of other staff like Lori MacKay) were we able to secure a $2500 donation from the film company. The shoot took place with little disruption and damage.

However, the way this whole issue was handled alerted us to the fact that the Parks Board does not see us as full and true “co-managers” of the park. We held a special session in the park in July to discuss this issue and check if our vision of urban sustainability was supported by our members. It was, unanimously. We then agreed that we needed to improve, expand and formalize the working arrangement with the city so that we are not undercut in this way again. We are writing a “basic services agreement” that will lay out what maintenance the board must do each year, and are going to sign onto the “Park Partners” program at the highest level of management authority possible.

The passing of the 2002-2005 capital plan budget means that the city will fund a $60,000 management planning process for the park. Getting this into place has been the long term vision of the committee, and we need ongoing support from the board in the next year or so to make a good plan emerge. Thanks to the board for its support of our committee, financially and morally, in the last and coming years.

Finally, our committee lost its most gracious leader and stalwart member when Donna Tilley passed away. We are all impoverished by her passing, but will try to carry on in her spirit and towards her vision of an urban wilderness that benefits its community.