This page is dedicated to the history of Sakaw Gardens project.
In September of 2020, a local resident and gardener, Myrna Peters, stepped forward to present the idea of establishing a community garden and Millhurst Community League accepted Myrna as the Sakaw Gardens Director. After a call for further volunteers, the first meeting of the Sakaw Gardens Committee took place on October 26, 2020 with Sustainable Gardens and CoE Neighbourhood Resource Coordinator Jay Row. Shortly thereafter, we began the process of developing site plans and obtaining City of Edmonton permission to develop the garden.
With a full board of 12 community members we proceeded with the proposed location behind the Sakaw rink shack. This decision was based on our 2015 needs assessment that first asked if the community wanted the rinks maintained and then what else they would like to see at the Sakaw site. Based on the survey a decision was made to maintain the ice rink and since it was not possible to use the leased land for an ice rink and a garden, it was decided to put in a basketball court on the south and east side of our skate shack. The full sized basket ball court was developed under the direction of community member and site project manager Joel Bauer.
For three years Millhurst Community League installed and maintained a snow banked rink along with staffing the rink shack. Unfortunately, after three years of low attendance and gradually cutting back the times the shack was open, the decision was made in 2019 to only have one rink location in the Millhurst community, which is beside Meyokumin School.
In our 2015 survey the #1 item that was wanted if the rinks were not maintained was a community garden which brings us to the development of Sakaw Gardens.
Phase 1 of the garden build began in the spring of 2021 after going through the City of Edmonton Community Led Construction process. The first priority was clearing the site and establishing garden plots as quickly as possible, so that gardeners could take advantage of a full season of gardening. Within 8 days of breaking ground on May 28th, gardeners were planting their first seeds. Throughout the summer, mulch was laid between the beds, the food bank plots were planted, and construction of the public use orchard area was completed. Total volunteer hours from inception to completion of phase 1 is estimated at 2500.
The first week of March brought exciting news that we received an Accessibility Grant of $10,000 and a Canadian Community Revitalization Fund of $110,000 which will allow us to move forward with Phase 2 & 3 foth a completion date of October 2022.
Phase 2 of Sakaw Gardens includes;
Pat’s Path and Planters: Pat Whaley was a community volunteer who was involved in many of Millhurst Community League’s events and projects. Because she was in a wheelchair during the last years of her life, she would have been unable to access Sakaw Gardens. As a tribute to her volunteerism and spirit, we will establish an accessible path and wheelchair accessible planter boxes. This area of the garden will be called Pat’s Path and Pat’s Planters
We are currently reliant on the municipal water supply for Sakaw Gardens. In 2022, our goal is to build a rain collection roof, with water storage and an overflow “dry pond” to mitigate water use at the garden.
Rabbit predation of our produce was a significant problem in 2021. Therefore, we plan to put in a 4’ fence which will have unlocked gates so that the garden is still accessible by the public.
A sitting area is needed at the Sakaw Gardens site, both for gardeners and other community members enjoying the garden. We will create a treed sitting area, and place benches and picnic tables around the garden and under the rain collection roof.
Phase 3 of Sakaw Gardens includes;
Installation of a commercial gazebo between Sakaw Gardens and the existing Sakaw Park playground.
Six benches with wheelchair accessibility.
Sept 8 2020 Myrna offers to start community garden
Nov 5 2020 First Committee Meeting
Nov 19 Submission of Strategy phase to City of Edmonton (accepted Nov 30)
Jan 2021 Submission of concept plan (accepted March 12)
April 14 Project manager circulated plan to appropriate CoE departments
May 19 Final approval of design
May 21 Final site meeting with city personnel
May 24 Plotted garden area
May 29 Broke ground. Cleared sod (volunteer bobcat operator)
May 29-30 Tilled and flattened site
May 31-June 1 Building, placing and filling 9 high garden boxes
June 2-4 Building, placing and filling/leveling in ground plots
June 4-6 Building, placing and filling/leveling school and food bank plots
June 8 First plots planted
June 12 Building cement pads and placing water tanks
June 6-30 Placing tree mulch between beds
July 11 Clearing of orchard area in preparation for trees
July 15 Planting of orchard trees and shrubs, native plants.
July 19 Removal of debris piles
Oct 16 & 17 Annual Clean Up
Oct 20 Phase 2 Project Request Form submitted to CoE
Nov 9 Strategy Phase of Business Plan accepted
Nov 16 AGM