Design ‘charrettes’ planned for Gaetz farmstead restoration

Plans are taking shape to restore the J.J. Gaetz Farmstead heritage site to a six-acre community urban farm.

Plans are taking shape to restore the J.J. Gaetz Farmstead heritage site to a six-acre community urban farm.

Four design charrettes organized by ReThink Red Deer are scheduled in September and October.

Rene Michalak of ReThink Red Deer said the purpose is to bring the community together over multiple sessions to develop a concept plan for the site. Michalak said the timing is right because it is the city’s centennial year and everyone is part of the story, the heritage and the future of our community.

While the announcement of the closure of Michener Centre came after the charrettes were organized, Michalak said this presents an opportunity to preserve or save the land from development.

“This is what I see as the intended future for the grounds and the natural area there from the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary certainly could benefit from that transition zone from wild natural space into developed area,” said Michalak.

The J.J. Gaetz Farmstead heritage site is at the intersection of 36th Avenue and 55th Street between the cemetery on Michener Hill and Safety City.

The design charrettes or sessions are scheduled for Sept. 17, 19, 30 and Oct. 2 at historic sites in Red Deer. All four will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Participants will talk about the history, the heritage and the potential for the site. Each night there will be a keynote speaker discussing everything from urban agriculture, agroforestry, local food systems to sustainable community through permaculture design.

Michalak said over the four sessions, they hope to find potential resources and partners before presenting the case to city council in November or December.

The bigger project involves spinning off a worker co-op program out of ReThink Red Deer that would operate in the public as an urban permaculture research institute.

There is no cost to attend the first three sessions. The fourth will be a fall harvest supper featuring local food and chefs and a presentation on the proposed concept plan.

If you would like to attend the harvest supper you must attend each of the three charrette sessions. If you are unable to attend all three sessions, tickets in advance or at the door are $29.95.

Charrettes (6 to 9 p.m.)

l Sept. 17: Michener Recreation Centre Theatre, 51A Street and 38A Avenue

l Sept. 19: Red Deer College (Cenovus Learning Common, east Trades Wing)

l Sept. 30: Festival Hall (Memorial Centre), 4214 58th St.

l Oct. 2: Heritage Ranch, 6300 Cronquist Dr.

For more information, visit

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