LEAF stands for “Landscape Enhancement and Appreciation Fund”. The purpose of LEAF is to preserve and protect Edgemont’s most valuable assets, our green spaces that we all take advantage of and one of the reasons we all chose to call Edgemont home. The purpose of the LEAF levy is to supplement the minimal base amount of money normally spent by the City to provide basic care and maintenance of our public green spaces in our community. This does not allow for anything other than very minimal services, such as grass cutting. The additional monies collected by the levy are used solely for the purpose of maintaining, rejuvenating and enhancing the public green spaces of Edgemont, not otherwise looked after by the City.
Year One started off in May 2016 with a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation.
Even with our late start to the program we were able to clean up many of our green spaces of years of dead shrubs, organic debris and garbage accumulation. We aerated, top-dressed, seeded and started the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and weed control program in many of the green spaces as well. Our grassy green spaces, new flower containers and new and existing garden beds also received more frequent mowing and watering.
Every green space area that qualifies for enhancement under the LEAF program has been assessed for immediate and future enhancement needs. New display containers were placed and filled with flower arrangements and many new perennial beds were created. Shrub beds and pine tree beds were re-edged and mulched. The amount of work completed in Year One surpassed our expectations.
The program will take a full 5 years to complete as Edgemont is the largest community in Calgary, with the most green spaces and the highest number of entrances (7) into the community.
We started our program by addressing some of the high traffic entrances and bus routes in our community. These were the most visible areas to the largest amount of Edgemont residential traffic. As our program progresses each year, we will be enhancing more green spaces in the community. We will also be experimenting with seasonal displays which we hope will delight the whole community through the non-growing seasons.
The City Parks department worked hand in hand with their designated Edgemont LEAF crew, their outsourced work crews, their designated Edgemont Horticulturalist and the Edgemont Community LEAF volunteers to make Year One a success. The scope of work to be done in Edgemont is massive, but we all worked together for a successful Year One.
The City crews often told us that they appreciated the kind words of gratitude they received from residents as they drove or walked past them as they were working. They felt pride in their accomplishments of helping to beautify our amazing community.
The program was not without start up trials and tribulations but with our City Parks department and our Edgemont LEAF volunteer team we approached each issue as a team effort and were able to resolve the issues successfully.
As we progress we will eventually figure out exactly what horticultural species are suited to each of our unique, specific, growing zones. With our altitude, high winds, hail, heavy snow and short growing season, each area of Edgemont is affected differently. These all pose challenges even with lots of research into the various growing species available to us. We will work towards even greater success in succeeding years. We will consult with other LEAF communities in Calgary to aid in the long-term success of our program.
The LEAF program not only improves the esthetics of our community green spaces. It is hoped to encourage repairing and enhancing of private properties and for business owners to do the same. This creates and helps to maintain a healthier and happier community on the whole. With this in mind, the LEAF results will prove that beautiful landscapes benefit us all and in doing so are well worth the investment.