It was the Blue Jays winning streak last year that got Griffin Gervais started on a project to improve a baseball diamond at his school.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2016


It was pretty simple to Griffin Gervais, a grade five student at Lakeshore Public school – just ask people how to get the ball diamond behind the school repaired and they would tell him what was needed and it would get done because he was the kind of kid that did things like that.

Gervais - Neighbourhood

Carrie Gervais and her son Griffin at Matching Fund meeting.

Griffin had an occasion to meet Burlington’s MP, Karina Gould and asked her if she would help him with his plans for the ball diamond.  The grounds needed a serious leveling out – they had little rises and small shallow spots. The bases needed bags that were properly anchored – third base is currently a small hole that collects water.

The back drop is close to being ready to fall down. And the benches are kind of crappy.

The ward 2 member of city council happened to be at the same event – Gould pointed Griffin to Meed Ward who was pretty sure what Griffin and his buddies wanted to do was possible under a program that was being rolled out by the city’s parks and recreation department.

Neighbourhood logoThe city had created a Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund that could put up as much as $5000 into a project that is designed to improve a community.

If the success of the Neighbourhood fund depended on the effort of the Parks and Recreation people overseeing the program – the thing would be a raging success.

The purpose of the program is to get people involved in their communities by pulling together a group with a common cause.

Backstop Lakesh PS

Home plate is the only base that has a bag – and it doesn’t line up properly with the other bases. As a school play ground it has been allowed to deteriorate badly.

The Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund has Griffin Gervais’s name written all over it.

City hall staff were spending time in each ward meeting with people to explain what the program is and how it works.

They were in ward 2 last week explaining the program and taking people through the forms that have to be filled in. There are a lot of forms to be filled in.

Lkesh ps plate missing

No base bag at third base – just an indentation in the ground where water gathers.

Griffen on 3rd

Was he out – Griffin Gervais didn’t think so – but there was no base bag to really know.

To use the language of the retail sector – these people want your business and they will go well out of their way to make what you want to do in your community happens.

Julia Rogers, the lead contact person and the one who does the presentations, gets herself pretty wound up when she speaks. Griffin Gervais who as at the meeting with his Mom wants to see that baseball diamond at his school upgraded.

Traditionally, in Burlington at least, the school board and the city don’t cooperate all that well.

That isn’t slowing down the people running the Neighbourhood Matching Fund. They appear prepared to do whatever they have to do to get a spark going within a community that will grow into a nice flame that will ignite people in their communities to come together and do things that make Burlington a better place for everyone.

Carrie Gervais said she now has the quotes she needs from the Board of Education so “we now know what the target is. The parents added $200 to the budget for a party in the park to celebrate their success which is all part of the city’s objective. They want people to come together, work together to make their neighbourhoods better places.

Four boys Griffen

In no specific order: Sawyer Cobham. Scott Rose, Griffen Gervais, Kayden Maslanyk discuss the problems with their ball diamond

The Matching fund is intended for a project people want to see done in their neighbourhood. The forms are not that difficult – everything is on line – and if you have a problem – the staff are there to help you.

The city has set aside $50,000 for the program this fiscal year.

Applications have to be in no later than April 29th – which doesn’t leave much time. Staff actually apologized for the late start – this is the first year of what they see as a multi-year effort.

There are two completed applications in hand with one coming in from Giffin and his buddies. There are six wards in the city – someone is going to be disappointed.

Every project submitted won’t need a full $5000 explained Rogers.  So the $50,000 available for this year is expected to cover all the applications.

If the program works – parks and recreation staff are planning on asking for more funding for future years.

The City has been pumping out media releases to remind residents that applications are due Friday, April 29.

Chris Glenn, the city’s director of parks and recreation believes there are a lot of good ideas out there and says:. “If you have a proposal for something you think would bring your neighbourhood and community together and build strong connections, we want to hear about it. Even if you are not able to complete all of the information requested in the application form, I would encourage you to still submit it to the city by the April 29 deadline.”  Glenn added that once a project is approved the sponsoring group has up to one full year to complete the work.

Griffin project is going to come in at about $11,000 – they are hoping they can get a full $5000 from the city and fund raise to pull in the balance.

The community is expected to raise half of the amount needed. That half can be cash, or in kind materials. Any work that people do on the project is counted at the rate of $17.02 for each hour worked. 50% of any professional services that are needed can be included in the budget.

Griffin’s parents set up a crowd funding account at:    There are no stones unturned with this group.

Neighbourhood - staffer

Julia Rogers will guide anyone through the application process.

It sounds a little complex – don’t worry about figuring out the details – Julia Rogers is a phone call away and she will take you through the application form line by line.

One of the issues on anything that involves the city or the board of education is insurance. That can be difficult to navigate. Denise Beard, Manager Community Development, said her staff will do everything they can to get you the insurance coverage you need.

Applications need to be in before the end of the month – approved projects will be announced in June.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.