Mikael Jahmal is one of the stewards of Spring Ridge Commons; The first project in which he volunteer to do was the herb spiral in August 2011 and from there, he continued to volunteer and work on several other projects at Spring Ridge Commons in Spring + Summer 2012. He has returned to help steward the Commons in late Summer / Fall 2015 and has been involved in preparing an area in the Commons for winter veggies, painting all the benches in the Commons, community mural/painting of cistern, etc.
How do you use Spring Ridge Commons?
It is a cross road to get to my house, It is a place to relax for a while on my way home with my groceries; It’s a good place to meet up with others; There’s lots of different of uses – painting, carving, singing, volunteering, whatever. It can sometime be a public space – allow others to do their thing and can also a private space.
What does Spring Ridge Commons bring to you?
I’m a bush man – always love to get out into the woods – Spring Ridge Commons resembles the wild bush things in middle of city – there’s birds, animals, bees, humans… it calls people to it….it is what it is – Great space — everyone loves green space like Spring Ridge.
What would be lost if it were not here?
Animal habitat, human hang-out, the green space that now exists. The earth would survive if Spring Ridge Commons were not what it is. But because it is there – why take it away. If it has to go, people got to move on…..It’s a cycle…. I see Spring Ridge Commons as a cycle. It is an open outdoor community space. – People just meet there …. Spring Ridge Commons is a nice spot.
What are your concerns about Spring Ridge Commons?
That if it’s neglected, it could be changed into something else like low-cost housing establishment … if it becomes a problematic spot for the city and its people, family, neighbourhood, they may try to get rid of it ….. I witness community coming in there… I see children growing up around it…. different activities from the schools – people doing different things in there.. It is working right now; It could get better. If it wasn’t there, the best thing for me to see would be low income housing since shelter is a big thing – especially for families who are struggling …..However, I would not want to see Spring Ridge Commons converted to some other use since a lot of trees and plants would be destroyed …. People are important however, Earth is more important – the land itself is always giving and waiting for humans to nurture it and look after it. and then the land would give in return. Being a conscious environmentalist, I would like to see Spring Ridge Commons stay an open community green place that is well taken care of for a long time.
Imagine five years into the future. In your ideal future, what would be the same and what would be different about Spring Ridge Commons?
I would like to see Spring Ridge Commons return to the permaculture state that it once was since I find it intriguing…..I would like it to still be an open community green space which everyone uses…. I would not want it to be over-structured like a manicured garden like Butchart’s Garden or Government House Gardens.
Spring Ridge Commons is evolving – it will not stay exactly the same…. It’s important to me that it works as a learning space where plants are planted which are complementary – a place where young people walk through and see things – learn – ask volunteers and be instructed about the plants and how to maintain them and also learn through signage if no one is around. If the garden is well-maintained and labelled, it could help a lot of people.
Good learning centre for a lot of people, young and old – native plants, wild edibles, medicinal plants, herbs, veggies, mushrooms, etc. ………….
If there is government funding and other grants, donations, etc. it should be seen in the garden – the upkeep (watering, proper pruning, volunteer coordination, labeling of plants, etc.) and in the planting of a variety of native plants, wild edibles, herbs, veggies, etc. to increase the biodiversity of Spring Ridge Commons.