Enhanced Landscape Maintenance (ELM)

Enhanced Landscape Maintenance (ELM)

Enhanced Landscape Maintenance (ELM)

This October, you will be asked to reaffirm the Enhanced Landscape Maintenance program by voting “YES” to continue the tax levy. Your vote will determine how our community handles its environment in the future. Here is everything you need to know about the flowers and landscape maintenance in Edgemont and the fees associated.

Q: Where can I go to find more information on the ELM program and research the City of Calgary’s “Enhanced Maintenance Program”?

A: Follow the link to the City of Calgary website:

https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/programs/enhanced-landscape-maintenance/participate-in-enhanced-landscape-maintenance.html

Q: What neighbourhood maintenance/beautification is the City of Calgary currently responsible for, and how has the City of Calgary’s strategy/funding for it changed?

A: In the last few years, some of the following changes were made to the Parks Department for regular greenspace maintenance:

  • Community green space maintenance reduced in some areas.
  • Flowers are planted in some regional parks, a few community entrances and downtown areas.
  • Irrigation was reduced overall.
  • City contractors now cut grass in public spaces about 10 times per year  
  • The number of trees to be planted or replaced was reduced.
  • Maintenance for tree and shrub beds (pruning, adding wood chips, etc.) was reduced

Q: How is community care currently paid for in Edgemont, and how do we compare to other communities?

A: Homeowners in some communities are frustrated with the amount of maintenance in their communities by the City and have had to implement their own enhanced maintenance plan to keep their communities looking maintained to a higher standard, thereby keeping their property values steady.

There are two strategies

  1. Automatic funding through title: Residents Associations and Homeowners Associations have access to funding through mandatory fees on title put in by the developer of the community before it is turned over to the city. Some communities in Calgary that operate this way are The Hamptons, Mackenzie Towne, Auburn Bay, and Tuscany, etc.– the costs and amenities are non-negotiable and are guaranteed. This plan is most often found in new or emerging communities that were given the opportunity to plan for this current funding reality.
  2. Homeowner Tax Levy: Edgemont and other more established neighbourhoods in the city do not have a built-in funding system. Instead, communities without automatic funding models have to get majority community support to add a tax levy from every homeowner to support an enhanced level of maintenance.

In 2015, thanks to an independent initiative from concerned residents, a LEAF (ELM) petition was initiated.  A survey of Edgemont homeowners was done by a large number of hardworking Edgemont resident volunteers with a common vision to gather the 67.5% support required to add a small yearly tax levy to all Edgemont homeowner’s property tax bill. This is to cover the maintenance of the Edgemont public green spaces to a better level of maintenance than the City’s regular maintenance. Edgemont’s current agreement is expiring this year, and the community will now vote on whether or not to continue with the ELM program.

Q: What does this program cost Edgemont residents, and what does that investment get us?

A:  $7.00 per month or $ 84.00 per year per household is all it costs the residents of Edgemont to have regular maintenance and enhanced maintenance.

Q: How does the Edgemont Community Association recommend we proceed, and why?

A: The Edgemont Community Association supports the ELM program and endorses the continuation of the program because of the tangible and intangible benefits it brings to the community in keeping our community enriched, livable and desirable.

It is the Association’s strong recommendation that the ELM program be approved for another 5-year period, in order to ensure our quality of life and to protect against the risk of dropping property values due to un-kept parks, tot lots, green space, boulevards and medians.

With the ELM Program

The program allows the community to have regular grass mowing every 7-10 days, (about 20 cycles per year), enhanced turf maintenance, aeration and fertilizing of greenspaces, boulevard and median turf maintenance, beautiful flower displays throughout the community, irrigation in most parks based under city guidelines, regular tree and shrub bed maintenance, evasive weed and pest control, as well as beautiful winter displays.

Without the ELM Program

  • All flowers pots will be removed, and these areas will be seeded back to grass
  • Some of the flower beds will be removed at the discretion of the area supervisor.
  • Irrigation for parks will be on an as-needed basis, at the discretion of the area supervisor
  • Grass-cutting would be done by City contractor about 10 cycles per year
  • There will be reduced tree well and shrub bed maintenance
  • There will be minimal tree replacement (about every second year). The City will not be replacing trees in medians moving forward
  • There will be weed spraying only if deemed to be a necessity by the city
  • No winter displays.

Follow the link below for more information:

https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/programs/enhanced-landscape-maintenance/participate-in-enhanced-landscape-maintenance.html

The ELM Committee and the Edgemont Community Association has received many phone calls and emails from residents telling us how much they love the program and want it to continue knowing what will happen to their property values if all the enhancements are removed.

Here are a few of the comments the Association has received: 

“Thanks, Jo-Ann, for taking the time to provide your insight and detail.  I will definitely give 311 a call regarding pruning! Please pass along a shout out to Able for all their hard work so far.  They are doing a great job considering our current COVID situation.”

“I will definitely keep my eye out for details around the 5-year reaffirmation vote - as I will be sure to cast a "YES".  - Becky

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the great work you have done to enhance Edgemont. We now look like a cared-for proud neighbourhood rather than a neglected one.” - Judy

“Just wanted to tell you we had an anniversary party at our home on the weekend. Many of our quests commented on our wonderful planters. They could not get over how beautiful they were and without exception, said that the small monthly fee we pay for them is well worth it. I totally agree” - Susan & Morley

Every trip through Edgemont this summer, whether by car or on foot, I am filled with thanks for the ELM program! What a difference this program has made to our community. The flowers are gorgeous and the whole program is so much more well-kept than before the ELM/LEAF was initiated. The difference is striking! The new look along with placing in Avenue Magazine’s Top Ten Communities in Calgary (again!) and the young families moving into our community for the excellent schools, exudes the new vibrancy in our community.” – Betty  

“Kudo’s to the ECA. As a retired employee of the City of Calgary I know with all the budget restrictions, the City has cut funding to the parks department drastically and no longer will keep up the green space in communities the same as they did in years past. Communities are left on their own to keep the green space looking good and have beautiful flower displays keeping property values stable. The tax levy of $ 7.00 per month is a no brainer! That $ 0.23 cents a day! I hope the community continues to make Edgemont the envy of the City. (one less fancy coffee a month)” – Albe

Q: As an Edgemont resident, what are my next steps if I want to contribute to this conversation?

As an Edgemont homeowner/taxpayer, you get to participate in a walk-through information session and a “Community Reaffirmation Vote” for ELM (Enhanced Landscape Maintenance) at the Edgemont Community Centre on October 30, 2020. With an alternative date of November 20, 2020 if there are complications due to    Covid19 restrictions on October 30, 2020

Check the ECA website for voting times closer to the dates above

From the City of Calgary website:

https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/programs/enhanced-landscape-maintenance/participate-in-enhanced-landscape-maintenance.html

Every five years, communities are required to re-evaluate program participation by holding a public meeting. The community must vote to confirm ongoing support for the tax levy. A 50 per cent (plus one) simple majority vote of the property owners in attendance at the meeting will be required to continue with the levy. Community members who own property are able to vote, and must attend the meeting and provide validation of their property ownership (e.g.: property tax assessment) and a government issued photo ID.

Should at the public meeting, a vote 50 per cent (plus one) to no longer support and participate in the ELM program occurs, the current ELM program will continue until the second triggered petition process is submitted to the City and voted on by Council.

A vote 50 per cent (plus one), in favour of discontinuing the ELM program, this then triggers a second community petition process;

  • This process would then follow the Local Improvement Bylaw petitioning process;
  • During the second petition process, community members have an opportunity to request a new petition from the City, to canvases their community to solidify whether the community at 66.7% will not continue to maintain their enhanced landscape maintenance program;
  • Should this second community petition not reach 66.7% of votes against the tax levy, the tax levy will remain intact.

You can find out more about it on our website at www.edgemont.ab.ca or If you have any questions/comments/concerns about the ELM Program before then, we would be happy to hear from you via email at askleaf@edgemont.ab.ca.

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