LEAF FAQs

LEAF- Top 11 Frequently Asked Questions

1.       Why do we have a LEAF program?

The LEAF program first began when the original developer of Valley Ridge, Barbican, finished their last homes and pulled out of the community.  As the developer had no more homes to sell, they ceased caring for the community shrub beds and public green spaces.  The City of Calgary’s normal budget for community maintenance (collected via Property Taxes) is very small.  The grasses were mowed only 3-4 times per year; the garbage was picked up infrequently from the green garbage bins, and was usually overflowing; the shrub beds were sadly neglected and full of weeds and dead shrubs; the tot lots grasses were home to many thistle plants; there were no flowers.

 

The Community was surveyed in the Valley Breeze to gauge support for the concept of a levy and beautification program.  The response was overwhelming in support, and over 100 people volunteered their time to canvass and create the original LEAF committee.  That original Committee’s goal was to organize the canvassers and community into sections, in order to achieve a successful petition.  The petition required 67% of the residents to vote in favour, and this was achieved in September of 2007, with the program beginning in the Spring of 2008.

 

2.       What is the purpose of the LEAF program?

The LEAF program’s purpose is to supplement the $40,000 allotted by the City with an additional $110,000+ of collected levies from the community residents, and to use that money solely for the purpose of maintaining and beautifying the public green spaces of Valley Ridge.

 

3.       What are the mandates of LEAF?

To ensure proper use of the funds, according to the guidelines set out by the City of Calgary

To provide landscaping to all residents of Valley Ridge, beginning with the common entrance way, and progressing further out in the three directions equally and as the budget permits.

To strive to consider the needs of the majority of the community; not our own wants or the wants of a vocal few.

 

4.       How much does LEAF cost?

The LEAF program’s cost is on the Title of every property in Valley Ridge, and costs the homeowner of that property $60/yr, or $5/month.  The LEAF committee is entitled to increase this amount by a maximum of 3%/yr.  To date, we have increased the fee one time, which adds an additional $1.80/yr for a 2015 total of $61.80 which is added to the Property Tax bill due on June 30th.

 

5.       What does my $60+/year cover?

Mowing of public grasses every two weeks, approximately

Green Garbage Bin garbage pick-up weekly

Fertilizing of all public grasses

Aerating of all public grasses

Herbicide spraying of public grasses if warranted and approved by the City of Calgary and according to their set standards

Purchasing of flower pots, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and raised planter bed supplies

Watering of grasses, shrubs and flowers

Maintenance of flower beds, shrub beds, tree wells, etc.

Snow removal on publicly maintained sidewalks which fall under City Parks jurisdiction.  (Mostly along the sidewalks adjacent to the soccer fields, but not sidewalks maintained by homeowners according to City ByLaws)

 

6.       Can I opt out of the LEAF program?

No. While the LEAF Program is in effect, no resident of Valley Ridge can opt out of the program.  In order to be successful, the original levy required 67% of residents to be in favour of the requested levy.  This was successful.

 

7.       When is the LEAF program up for renewal?

LEAF was renewed in April of 2013 for 5 additional years by a vote of Valley Ridge Residents.  The voting process required residents to attend the meeting in order for their vote to be eligible.  The residents in attendance voted in favour of LEAF 100% to 0%.  The next LEAF renewal vote will be scheduled for April 2018.

8.       What is NOT covered under the LEAF Program?

LEAF is operated under the Parks department of the City of Calgary.  Our control and budget can only be applied to the operations controlled by the City Parks department.  If other concerns arise, please call 3-1-1 to report the issue.  Examples of items NOT under the control or mandate of LEAF include, but are not limited to:

 

Irrigation- The irrigation system is controlled by the Water and Irrigation Department.  Please call 3-1-1 to report concerns

Trees- Tree maintenance and removal and replacement of dead trees are under the authority of the Urban Forestry department.  Please call 3-1-1 to report concerns

Fences- The VRCA Fence Committee was created to look into fencing issues.  With the exception of fences surrounding soccer fields, all fences in Valley Ridge are privately owned, and must be maintained by the homeowner/property owner.

Lampposts- Please call 3-1-1 to report concerns

Mailboxes- Please call 3-1-1 or Canada Post to report concerns

Community Centre or Schools- The VRCA and VRCES looked into the possibility of fundraising and/or advocating for these buildings, and has found this to be an impossibility at this time.  Please send concerns to the VRCA directly.

Garbage Bins- while LEAF is responsible for emptying the bins, LEAF is not responsible for the purchasing or placement of these bins.  Please contact the VRCA directly with your concerns or suggestions.

Garbage dumpsters at the plazebo- Please contact 3-1-1

Developer signs, advertising signs, real estate signs- Signage requirements are listed under the City Bylaw Department.  Please phone 3-1-1 with your concerns and a bylaw officer will be sent to the area to ensure proper usage.

Campers, personal garbage bins, boats, etc- Personal items cluttering driveways and roadways are listed under the City Bylaw Department.  Please phone 3-1-1 with your concerns and a bylaw officer will be sent to the area to ensure proper usage.

Snow removal along sidewalks which are not adjacent to soccer fields.

 

 

9.       Is LEAF run by paid staff?

No.  The LEAF Committee currently consists of volunteer residents from Valley Ridge.

 

10.   What is the relationship between LEAF and the Valley Ridge Community Association (VRCA)?

The LEAF program is sustained by money received by the levy via property taxes, and does not receive money from the VRCA directly.  The LEAF program would continue its existence even if the VRCA disappeared tomorrow, and functions separately.

However, in order to ensure that the LEAF program continues to work for the good of the community, and not in its own best interests, it was determined that the Chair of the LEAF program also be a member of the VRCA Board of Directors, and report its actions to the Board for feedback.  In addition, the VRCA approves the Terms of Reference for the LEAF Committee.  The VRCA provides access to it's website and community newsletter in order to keep the community residents informed and keep costs to the program down.  The two groups, while functioning separately, have a good working relationship, open communication, and the common goal of working for the good of the majority of the community.

 

11.   When do I find out what my Special Tax Levy amount will be?

The City of Calgary mails out a letter each November to all property owners in Valley Ridge.  This letter will detail the amount of the levy, and the fact it will be added to your property tax the following June.  The levy has been increased only once in the last 7yrs, and is only done when inflation affects LEAF’s ability to fund services.  The levy can ONLY be increased by a maximum of 3% per year.

 

Questions?  

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LEAF Committee

The LEAF Committee will post articles to the right of the page regarding LEAF details.  

The LEAF (Landscape Enhancement and Appreciation Fund) Committee is in charge of the Community's Beautification Program.  Updates are available during the Spring, Summer and Fall months in the Valley Breeze newsletter.  In November, residents will receive via mail a notice of a Special Tax Levy (the Beautification Levy) from the City of Calgary, which is applied to all properties in Valley Ridge and is collected via Property Taxes.

The current charge for the LEAF program is $61.80/year.