Two projects in running for community grants

Emma’s Acres and Waterfront Educational Eco-Centre part of cross-country competition

Emma's Acres is among two Mission projects in the running for the Aviva Canada community fund.

Two Mission projects are among 385 which are part of Aviva Canada’s community fund competition.

Voting for the 2015 Aviva Community Fund ended on Saturday, with people voting online for the projects, designed for positive change in communities all across Canada. The ideas each fall within at least one of the three categories: community resilience, community health, and community development. There are two funding levels: under $50,000 and between $50,000 and $100,000.

Finalists will be announced on Nov. 3.

The two Mission projects are Emma’s Acres and Waterfront Education Eco-Centre on Hatzic Lake.

Emma’s Acres is an agricultural social enterprise business located in Mission that is managed by the LINC Society (www.lincsociety.bc.ca). LINC employs victims and survivors of crime, ex-offenders and offenders. Vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown naturally without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on property leased to LINC by the District of Mission.

With 4.5 acres cleared thus far and two 95-by-36-foot heated greenhouses in place, Emma’s Acres will be the first small lot farm growing year-round in the community. It sells locally at the Mission City Farmers’ Market, the Deroche Farmers Market and to local businesses.

Some produce is also donated to non-profit societies in Mission including the food banks and the community kitchen. The proceeds of the sales at Emma’s Acres goes towards funding the LINC Society’s work in the community, in particular its work with survivors of serious crime.

Emma’s Acres wants to upgrade its drip irrigation and get electricity to the site, so it can build a cold storage facility. The soil needs to be amended with lime, compost and manure to boost production. This will cost approximately $45,000.

The Waterfront Educational Eco-Centre is proposed at Camp Luther on Hatzic Lake. Camp Luther has a long history of running summer children’s camps, events and hosting guest groups since 1950.

“We value getting people into the community while enjoying the natural world. Unfortunately, while the facility sees thousands of visitors each year, the property lacks an outdoor sheltered area for people to utilize and take in the nature and its surroundings during poor weather,” the submission to the competition says.

The goal of the project is to build an enclosed waterfront educational eco-centre shelter as an important step in educating and promoting wildlife and the environment.