Want to be involved?

Community participants are the heart & soul of the Gabriola Commons


The Commons people, through teams of volunteers, work to steward and protect the rich, diverse ecology, nurture the land’s agricultural potential, and foster shared community use for current and future generations.

Come and meet great neighbours and be part of the Commons legacy.

How to get Involved

Find a team below that fits with your interests and email the contact person.

Attend a Saturday Workbee.

Contact us about volunteering for occasional events & activities.

Projects we’ve been working on

Gabriola Commons Teams


Community Kitchen Stewards

As a collaborative team, the Kitchen Stewards manage community use of the Commons Community Kitchen and develop policies and procedures to ensure safe, clean and equitable use of the facility.


1. Develop guidelines that will ensure Community Kitchen use is equitable and accessible to all in the community of Gabriola.

2. Develop procedures/protocols to ensure safe operation of the kitchen and its equipment and adherence to relevant regulations and guidelines

 3. Develop procedures/protocols to ensure hygienic and sanitary conditions


1. Develop Procedures Checklists and rental form for rentals

2. Develop daily/weekly/monthly/annual task lists for Stewards

3. Develop policies regarding use of fridge, freezers, cold stores, dry stores.

Rental contact info is by email.  Contact:



Join this team if you like to help with various events and projects.

  • To help community members participate in the Commons.
  • To raise the profile of the Commons in the community.
  • To contribute to the fundraising for the Commons.

Contact:  Rebecca Furnell


The Commons labyrinth needs some upkeep to maintain its peaceful, contemplative ambiance.  To contribute, contact

Mary Aitken: aitken_969[at]hotmail.com OR

Mark Roch: mrblackbrd[at]yahoo.com

Learning Opportunities


  • To bring visibility to the Commons movement by creating opportunities for engaging the community in learning about aspects of the Commons philosophy, vision, processes, goals and challenges.
  • To address the question: What is the seminal and transforming role of the Commons, locally and globally, in creating new possibilities and capacities for a brighter future beyond the market and the state.
  • To facilitate knowledge and skill sharing.


  • To contribute to the growth of the Commons, on Gabriola and beyond.
  • To learn from a First Nations relational worldview, and invite Snuneymoux and other First Nations to the Commons.
  • To collaborate and learn with other groups and organizations, focussing on intergenerational and land-based approaches.
  • To encourage and facilitate inter-team and co-team learning on the Commons.
  • To engage a stewardship model and approach in all our team efforts.
  • To be financially self sustaining as much as possible.


  • To support our mandate and objectives through a series of workshops, film screenings, discussions, symposia, and other gatherings with the purpose of learning and growing as a Commons.
  • Regularly update Council on our goings on.

Contact:  Maya Ruggles

Soup Makers

Nutritious lunches of soup and bread are served at the conclusion of Saturday Workees.  A group of cooks roate the making of soup from local ingredients. 

If you would like to participate, contact Fred Harris:

Workshop Stewards
Contact: Doug McKnight

Governance & Admin

Board of Trustees

Join the Trustees Team if you enjoy working with others to respond to administrative and/or financial challenges.

The Trustees Team stewards the financial and legal aspects of the Commons to meet the requirements of a non-profit registered charity, the Gabriola Commons Foundation (GCF).

GCF is the entity which holds title to the property for the benefit of the community and through which charitable donations flow.

Trustees address legal and financial issues, with diligence and transparency, in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of the Commons.

The trustees are a team in keeping with the governance and organizational structure of the Gabriola Commons, holding a place of shared responsibility with all other teams around the Gabriola Commons Coordinating Council table.


Legal, financial structures and systems are aligned with Commons values and principles without automatically assuming that the traditional structures and systems are the way it must be done.


1. To continually re-assess and re-think traditional ways of interface with legal and financial bodies.

2. To develop creative, effective and transformational strategies and practices while still meeting legal and financial requirements.

Please note:

To join the Trustee Team, you must be elected at the Commons Annual General meeting, or under special circumstances, appointed to the Board by the current Trustees. In either case, you must be a member of the Gabriola Commons Foundation. If you wish to become a member, please contact the Trustees at this address:

Contact: Don Smardon


Contact: Maya or Deborah



The Communications Team (COM) facilitates the exchange of ideas and information about the Gabriola Commons, among Commons teams and individual participants, and between the Commons and the Gabriola community.

Objectives for 2020-2022

  1. To enhance knowledge and understanding about the Commons
  2. To promote community participation in the activities of the Commons
  3. To encourage the exchange of ideas, concerns and hopes for the Commons


  1. Manage the consistency of the Commons communication identity – logo, colours, font, etc.
  2. Coordinate signage, maps, print materials, etc.
  3. Maintain the Communiqué (electronic newsletter)
  4. Maintain the Commons website, assisting teams with posting of pertinent news and information.
  5. Maintain an archive for photographs taken on the Commons.
  6. Write and support others in writing articles for publication in the local newspaper, on the Commons FaceBook page, various blogs, and other media.
  7. Act as the primary point of contact/liaison with various media
  8. Attend and report regularly at Commons Coordinating Council.

Contact: Jinny Hayes

Process Team

Join if you are interested in exploring and implementing how the Commons can nurture our well-being and wholeness through healthy interpersonal relationships, clear communications, compassionate understanding, and successful conflict  resolution.


The Commons Process Team (CPT)  promotes peace on and for the Commons.

This team will work collaboratively with teams, groups and individuals to support healthy interpersonal relationships, clear communications, compassionate understanding and successful conflict resolution.

It will provide resources, sponsor events and programs, develop strategies for consideration by the Commons Teams, Council and Foundation, and offer processes for and assistance with conflict resolution.


  • To work with groups and individuals on or connected with the Commons with the intention of working toward peaceful and respectful co-existence, skilled communication, and healthy trust and harmony.
  • To encourage discussion and adoption of good practices that support these ends.
  • To encourage healthy interpersonal and intergroup communication, respectful and fair conflict resolution, and collaborative power sharing, and to provide opportunities to build skills to uphold these goals.
  • To orient all participants, especially newcomers, to the overall vision and purpose of the Commons, and to modes of interaction which support the Commons vision.
  • To ensure that healthy, fair and respectful processes are developed, agreed on, and offered, for dealing with differences, airing disagreements, and resolving conflicts.
  • To nurture a culture of mutual compassion, honesty, and respect, as a path for creating a better and more peaceful future.

Contact:  Jen Turner


The Covenant Team is an ad hoc Gabriola Commons Foundation Board of Trustees group formed to create documents pertinent to registering a covenant on the title of the Gabriola Commons.  This covenant and its essential attachments establish protection, preservation and stewardship of the property on Gabriola Island known as the Gabriola Commons as a public amenity, for the use and enjoyment of Gabriolans in perpetuity as a community commons.  

Objectives for 2019-2020

  1. Prepare the current draft of the Covenant and application forms for submission to the BC Land Title Office and the BC Agricultural Land Commission.
  2. Procure suitable Covenant Holder(s) and work with them as required.
  3. Complete and attach the Baseline Report to the Covenant when it is submitted. This describes the land and amenities as they exist at the time of registration in the BC Land Title Office.
  4. Complete the Full (Master) Baseline Report and all its documentation, such as complete detailed descriptions of ecosystem polygons.
  5. Complete and attach the Stewardship Agreement to the Covenant when it is submitted. This is a formal agreement between the GCF and the Covenant Holder(s) for protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Commons’ natural, agricultural and cultural features.  Its attachment is a template for the Stewardship Plan.
  6. Prepare a draft of the first three-year Stewardship Plan
  7. Contribute to the formation of a Stewardship Team.


  1. Continue meeting regularly to refine the draft Covenant and get it and its attachments ready for submission to the BC Land Title Office.
  2. Complete and submit the BC Land Title Office forms.
  3. Complete and submit BC Agricultural Land Commission Referral.
  4. Seek additional consultations as necessary.
  5. Identify, approach and work with potential Covenant Holders.
  6. Prepare Covenant Holder documents for Gabriola Commons Foundation Trustees to sign.
  7. Prepare an expanded Baseline Report for archiving.
  8. Write a draft of the first three-year Stewardship Plan.
  9. Initiate and participate in the formation of a first Stewardship Team.
  10. Attend and report regularly to the Commons Coordinating Council.

Contact:  K. Louise Vincent: covenant[at]gabriolacommons.ca


Join the Finance Team if you are interested in getting an overview if the inner workings of the Commons, especially from a financial perspective.  No accounting experience required.

As a sub-committee of the Trustees, the Finance Team:

  • Ensures that financial records are systematically maintained, accurate and complete
  • Provides recommendations to the Trustees and Coordinating Council through a financial lens
  • Helps other teams with their budgets and other financial concerns

(Updated December 12, 2020)

Contact:  Maya Ruggles

Grant Writing

Join the Grant Writing team if you like to research, organize information and work with other teams to apply for grants.

Commons Team Generated Grants

  • To solicit projects that need financing from the other teams of the Commons for which such teams have sought and found approval from the Sharing the Commons Team
  • To search out grants that would be appropriate to support such projects
  • To request from the teams the necessary information to make a credible application, so that the team creates the first draft of an application
  • To work with the team on subsequent drafts
  • To submit the application to the granting agency two weeks prior to due date
  • To ensure there is sufficient time for preparing the application; hence, any grant application process should ideally begin no later than three months before the due date

Grant Writing Team Grants

  • To search out grants that may be appropriate to certain teams, or to the Commons at large, which are consistent with the Commons’ Strategic Plan
  • To present the possibility of such a grant to the appropriate team, or to a group that may come into existence for the purpose of this grant
  • To ensure that such team has finds approval from the Sharing the Commons Team
  • To follow the guidelines, as above, of team generated grants, including and especially the time lines in sections 5 and 6

Contact:  George Szanto

Sharing the Commons


The Share the Commons Team acts as the entry point for potential new events and projects on the Commons.


  1. To culture a peaceful, productive, and respectful co-existence of all land and facility uses
  2. To facilitate discussions on Vision and Purpose of the Commons
  3. To strive for full community participation


  1. To create a peaceful, productive, and respectful co-existence of all land and facility uses:
    – Create and maintain a process that invites community participation
    – Use the Application Form
    – Refer applicants to appropriate teams
  2. To facilitate discussions on Vision and Purpose of the Commons
    – Meet with applicants to learn their wishes, hopes, and aims
    – Provide a member of STC to liaise with project and Council
    – Assess the application fit with Commons guidelines
    – Provide guidance, input, and assistance until completion of project
  3. To strive for full community participation
    – Encourage Project/Event applicants to share their visions at Council
    – Provide information to the Gabriola community about the Project / Event
    – Help at Commons’ Events and demonstrate the work/play togetherness of the Commons

Contact: Doug McKnight


Design Project

Contact:  Bob Andrew

Farm Team

Join the Farm Management team if you enjoy working on the land.

To apply the Commons vision to protect the agricultural potential of the Commons by:

  • enhancing the land to produce food for generations to come;
  • engaging in organic food production, modeling sustainable community agriculture;
  • modeling sustainable supported agriculture, using renewable energy practices; and
  • engaging in horticultural research specific to Gabriola.

To coordinate the agricultural initiatives presented in our three-phase agricultural plan for the Agricultural Land Commission.

Commons farming blog, Gardening on the Commons.

Contact:  Judith Roux


Join the Infrastructure team if you like planning projects and are interested in sustainability and alternative technologies.

Infrastructure means all permanent or temporary fixtures on the Commons grounds such as buildings, roads, parking lots, fences, and all aspects related to water, sewage and energy uses.

Our goal is to ensure that all infrastructure projects, whether new or renovations, serve whenever possible as a demonstration of sustainable living for the broader community.

  • Conduct applied research in alternative energies, building technologies, and water and waste management that will guide Commons projects.
  • Develop sustainable solutions to infrastructure needs on the Commons in cooperation with other Commons teams and using various resources.
  • Analyze and consult (internal and/or external sources of expertise) for initial proposals and all projects as part of the review of any infrastructure application to the Share the Commons team.
  • Establish infrastructure priorities for the Commons in consultation with other teams and through the Coordinating Council.

Contact:  Judith Roux

Long Range Planning

Join the Long Range Planning Team if you are interested in developing the future of the Gabriola Commons.

The latest draft from the Long Range Planning team is available.  Commons Planchart

To develop collaboratively a long-range plan for the Gabriola Commons through a 30 year lens: as a physical place, as an organizational structure with projects to be developed and in its relationship to other organizations on Gabriola and Gulf Island communities.


  1. The plan guides the Gabriola Commons over the next 30 years.
  2. The plan reflects broad community engagement.
  3. The plan fulfils the Guiding Principles of the Gabriola Commons.

Goal 1: The plan guides the Gabriola Commons over the next 30 years

  • to create a 30-year critical path
  • to create a process to review and monitor the plan
  • to avoid crisis management

Goal 2: The plan reflects broad community engagement

  • to collaborate with Commons teams and Council
  • to engage the entire Gabriola Island community
  • to invite the input of the Gulf Island communities

Goal 3: The plan fulfils the Guiding Principles of the Gabriola Commons

  • to balance protection of the land and land uses
  • to ensure the permanence, health and legacy of the Gabriola Commons
  • to celebrate the ongoing life of the Commons

Contact:   Deb Ferens

Property Stewardship

Join the Property Stewardship team if you like to fix things or help coordinate community groups using the Commons.

  • To maintain the Commons buildings and grounds by:
    • monitoring the facilities and grounds; and
    • arranging for upgrades or repairs
  • To be responsible for short term uses of the Commons by:
    • working with the volunteer booking coordinator;
    • developing information sheets and policy for users of the Commons;
    • ensuring rental fees are paid and submitted to the treasurer; and
    • dealing with the issues and concerns of Commons or community groups using the facilities.
  • To participate in project task forces by providing advice for future management of renovations or new structures

Contact: Bob Andrew

Trails and Green Spaces

Join the Trails & Green Spaces team if you interested in the identification and protection of ecosystems.

  • To identify and protect the undeveloped “green spaces” on the Gabriola Commons through mapping of the diverse ecosystems.
  • To recognize specific areas such as the marshland around the pond as ecological reserves and propose limited means of access.
  • To develop trails carefully, permitting access through selected areas in a way that respects the environment by restricting passage to the pathway.
  • To identify and take action against harmful invasive species and promote the planting of native over non-native species.

Contact:  Judith Roux

Timberframe Structure

Contact:  Judith Roux