FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

GENERAL

What is Community Conserve?

  • Community Conserve is a forum for Alberta municipal staff, managers and councilors to 1) post their environment and conservation issues, 2) vote on the priority issues as a community, and 3) ‘crowd-fund’ efforts to address the most common issues.
  • Using the communityconserve.ca web site, municipal personnel post their environment and conservation concerns as individuals, and prioritize them as a community. The Community Conserve research team then proposes project plans for addressing the top concerns, and facilitates the process of “crowd-funding” those projects.
  • All project results are made available to all municipalities.

What kinds of ‘projects’ will Community Conserve produce?

  • A ‘Project’ undertaken through Community Conserve will address an environment or conservation dilemma faced by multiple Alberta municipalities. This might mean creating tools, policy reviews, education resources, legal templates, targeted research, data sets, best practices guides, etc. See ‘Completed Projects’ for examples so far.

What is “crowd-funding”?

  • “Crowd-funding” is an effort to raise money from several people or entities, and use that money to address a common interest.

Who is behind Community Conserve?

  • Community Conserve is partnership project of the Miistakis Institute, the Environmental Law Centre, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, and the AAMDC.

Where can I learn more?

  • To learn more you can go to the Community Conserve web site (www.communityconserve.ca), or email us at info@communityconserve.ca

ISSUES AND IDEAS

What is an “issue”? What is an “idea”?

  • Community Conserve uses the term “issue” to refer to a conservation or environmental dilemma that is facing an Alberta municipality; it doesn’t need to include a solution, just the problem. Because other municipal people are voting on it, it should be phrased in a way that other municipalities can get behind – meaning they see the same thing in their community.

If an issue or idea gets lots of votes, will it go ahead?

  • Not necessarily. Getting a lot of votes means that it goes to the next stage, and a proposed Project Plan (something that can address the dilemma or animate the idea) is created. That Plan is what municipalities are then asked to fund.

Who is eligible to post issues/ideas and vote?

  • Anyone from a municipality can post an issue/idea or vote: staff, managers, councilors – we want to hear from every perspective. You are not representing your municipality when you vote, just yourself – it’s at the Fund a Project stage where people represent their municipality.

Do I need to register?

  • No, just go ahead and participate. If you post an issue/idea, we will ask for an email address so we can contact you if clarification is needed, but your name will not be shared. When you vote, no record is kept, but you are asked to move forward to look at the Projects seeking funding.

FUND A PROJECT

Who funds the projects?

  • Municipalities do, but not by themselves. The idea behind “crowd-funding” is that if many municipalities can each contribute a portion of the overall budget, they get the full results for only a partial payment.

What is a proposed Project Plan?

  • A Project Plan is the result of converting an “issue” or “idea” into an actual project concept. That concept has a clear description of the work, a budget, a timeline, and a statement of who would actually do the work.

Who creates the proposed Project Plans? Who vets them?

  • The research team behind Community Conserve, made up of staff from the Miistakis Institute and the Environmental Law Centre develop the proposed Project Plans based on the top issues/ideas. Those re then vetted by staff from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.

Do I just “click” to fund a project?

  • No, not with Community Conserve. Some crowd-funding sites ask you to contribute as “individuals”, and take payment immediately. With Community Conserve you indicate your willingness to fund as municipality, and then a Community Conserve person contacts you.

Am I committing funding when I submit the form?

  • By your submitting your form you are not yet committing funding, but are expressing an interest in doing so. In essence you are asking to start a conversation; that is, you are eligible to make spending decisions for your municipality, and you want to talk with a Community Conserve person about the funding possibilities. If you are able to contribute, the funded portion of the project goes up by that amount.

How do I know if the project already has funding?

  • The Community Conserve web site will show the amount of money that has been ‘Secured’, and the amount that is ‘Pending’. Municipalities have the option of showing their name next to their commitment.

What is ‘Secured’ versus ‘Pending’ funding?

  • We recognize that municipalities often do not have “cash in hand”; there are may be budget, approval, and even fiscal year obstacles to be navigated. In these cases, an expressed commitment is shown as ‘Pending.’

How is money actually transferred to Community Conserve?

  • There is a standard Community Conserve grant agreement that all participating municipalities would use. That grants go to the organization that is actually doing the project work (indicated in the proposed Project Plan).

How does ‘funding’ relate to ‘voting’?

  • Simply put, you vote as an individual but do not make any commitment; funding is done as a municipality. A large number of votes, therefore, does not guarantee funding.

What if the full budget is not secured?

  • Each project has a timeline and a budget, and each funding grant agreement has an escape clause based on those that will identify if a time or budget threshold is not met, the project funding will be returned and the project will not go ahead. As well, the Community Conserve team may also look for third-party funding to top-up project budgets that are close.

What is the Project Advisory Committee

  • Any municipality that provides funding can sit on the Project Advisory Committee. They meet at project initiation to refine any as-yet-undetermined facets (case study selection, research question refinement, etc.), and act as a resource to the project manager, and a liaison with the contributing municipalities.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

What happens with the Project results?

  • All project products (reports, tools, data, presentations, etc.) are stored on the Community Conserve web site under the ‘Completed Projects’ page. They are accessible to anyone who wants them.

Who owns the Project results?

  • All Community Conserve results (reports, tools, analyses, etc.) are freely available to anyone who wants to use them. They are subject to a Creative Commons licence which gives anyone an unrestricted licence of use, and only prevents those products from being commercialized.

What if my municipality wants more personalized support?

  • The idea of Community Conserve is to create resources that can be of use to a variety of municipalities. However, a given municipality may want to get direct support applying a tool, drafting a policy, receiving training, etc. In these cases, that municipality can approach the organization who did the Community Conserve project, and retain them to provide that advanced support.

Recent issues and ideas

Information on environmental impacts of gravel extraction

Ditch reclamation for pollinators

Municipalities don’t have access to good wetlands data

The impact of the new MGA on municipalities’ environmental responsibilities is unclear

Are there alternate ways of raising revenues for conservation

Can municipalities tax conservation lands differently than other lands

Environment, conservation and alignment with regional plans