One of the many items that attracts homeowners to Cooper’s Crossing is the myriad of pathways and greenspaces in the community. When planning the development of Cooper’s Crossing, Westmark had a vision to create a fully walkable community with a vast amount of greenspace, including trees and shrubs, then what is dictated by the municipality.
Homeowners are drawn to a community that has ample space for residents to walk and play within the community. The pathways and greenspaces in Cooper’s Crossing are lined with shrub beds that hold an abundance of trees, flowering shrubs and flowers.
It’s very common for developers who create exceptional communities to create Home Owners’ or Residents’ Associations at the time of community planning. These Associations are created in order to maintain, and enhance, the community’s amenities, such as parks and greenspaces, as oftentimes the municipalities do not have the resources to provide the same level of care that the developer expects.
This is certainly the case with Cooper’s. With regards to the parks and pathways, the City of Airdrie assigns labour based on a certain acreage of greenspace without concern to what plants or vegetation comprise that area. Therefore, without the Residents’ Association funding additional park maintenance, our shrub beds would not be maintained to a high level. Furthermore, the City of Airdrie would not likely pay for the planting of annuals in the community. Therefore, the Cooper’s Crossing Residents’ Association (CCRA) pays the City to plant annuals in various areas of the community – primarily at the entrances. This additional park maintenance and annual plantings are paid for by the Cooper’s Crossing Residents’ Association fees.
It is important to note that as a community develops, it is the developer’s responsibility to plan, plant and maintain the parks, pathways and greenspaces (with approval from the municipality). During this time the developer contracts outside landscaping companies to plant and maintain the greenspace. This is why some residents see outside contractors maintaining spaces within Cooper’s Crossing. These contractors are not paid for by the CCRA.
Once a developer hands over each phase of the neighbourhood to the city, the maintenance of parks, pathways and greenspace become the responsibility of the City of Airdrie.
Westmark, through the early years of the development, paid an outside contractor to enhance parks maintenance to its high standard. After a few years, this approach was found to be challenging due to uncertainty regarding division of duties and responsibilities with the outside contractor and City of Airdrie Parks crews. This led to an agreement between the City of Airdrie and the CCRA to hire additional City Parks workers in the first two months of the season to get a handle on the new growth of weeds and to do necessary pruning of shrubs and trees throughout the community. This contract proved to be less expensive than hiring an outside contractor.
Today, the CCRA maintains a contract with the City of Airdrie Parks department to ensure that the parks, pathways and greenspaces are well-maintained. The CCRA contracts the City to provide four additional parks staff who are dedicated to Cooper’s Crossing parks maintenance for May and June of each year. This is in addition to the City Parks staff that work throughout Cooper’s Crossing and Morningside. The contact between the CCRA and City of Airdrie Parks pays for the salaries of the four additional parks staff for two months as well as the lease and management of two City vehicles for the same period.
In addition, the CCRA has a separate contract with the City of Airdrie Parks department for the planting and maintenance of annuals in some entrances and boulevards throughout the community. This program had been reduced over the last few years with the switch from annuals to flowering perennials in several beds to reduce this annual cost.
In 2019, the CCRA received feedback from residents that wanted to ensure all entrances into the community were as grand as the main entrance off Yankee Valley Boulevard. After researching several options, the CCRA presented the membership with beautification options for the entrances (and the associated costs) at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. At the AGM, the majority of residents voted to install large, concrete planters at all entrances to Cooper’s Crossing. These planters were installed in late 2019 and will be filled seasonally with Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer plantings. The planters are paid for by the residents of Cooper’s Crossing through their annual Residents’ Association fees.
2019 proved to be a challenging year for maintenance of parks throughout Airdrie. The challenges of the weather and a few other issues lead to what the CCRA board felt was a less than expected level of maintenance in Cooper’s Crossing. In order to rectify this, the CCRA and the City of Airdrie Parks Department developed measurable objectives to monitor the work of the Parks Department. In addition, a pre and post inspection of the parks will be conducted, to measure the outcomes that the CCRA receives from its investment into parks maintenance.