The Fairfield Gonzales Community Association was established September 17, 1975 by volunteer residents to enhance the quality of life in Fairfield. The population of Fairfield currently stands at over 17,000. There are over 1200 elementary students in the neighbourhood. A middle school straddles the border between Fairfield/Rockland and Fernwood.
The Fairfield Gonzales Community Association, representing the Fairfield Gonzales neighbourhood, is defined in its constitution as bounded by Blanshard Street to the west, Fort Street to the north, Foul Bay to the east, and the waterfront, or Dallas Road, to the south. Within these boundaries are the neighborhoods of Rockland to the north, with its own formalized Community Association, and Gonzales to the east. Fairfield Community Place is the only neighbourhood Centre within these boundaries.
In 1984 the Association opened Fairfield Community Place. The "Place" is a community centre and neighbourhood house which operates recreation and leisure programs for all age groups. Out of School Care programs operate in three locations serving Sir James Douglas, Sundance and Margaret Jenkins elementary schools. Special neighbourhood events such as Swiftsure Pancake Breakfast, Cocoa with Claus, and a Halloween Celebration and Bonfire have happened in the past, while the Holiday Craft Fair continues as well as new events which have been added to meet community needs, like Fall FAIRfield, Family Fun Day and our annual fundraiser, the Community Jazz Gala.
The Place is the centre of operations for the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association, which is active in neighborhood planning, environmental concerns and community development. The staff produces a program guide three times a year and a team of volunteers produces the biannual Observer newspaper. These publications are available both on our Website and at the Place, via email and surface mail by request to members.
In January of 1997 the Community Place moved from its original location in a small brick annex on the property of Sir James Douglas School into a 5500 sq. ft. 1920's building on Fairfield Road adjacent to the new Sir James Douglas School. This space houses our administration offices, Out of School Care, and Parent & Tot. When not used for FGCA programs these spaces can be rented to organizations and businesses.
In addition to renovating the Fairfield Road building, the Community Association built a 1500 sq .ft. multi-purpose room and a 900 sq. ft. commercial kitchen attached to the new school. The multi-purpose room, named the Garry Oak Room, is used extensively for recreation programs, meetings, and special events and is available for rent to community groups. The commercial kitchen has been designed as a teaching centre for cooking classes and as a special event kitchen. This entire space is designated as an Emergency Reception Centre for the City of Victoria Emergency Preparedness Program.
In 2002 we acquired "the Portable" directly behind the Community Place. It has been upgraded with an accessible ramp and washroom. It is a multi use space used by our OSC program and is available to rent. It is a useful addition to the Community Association's spaces.
Over the past decade the association has undertaken projects to improve our operations and our facilities. In 2006 a thorough review of the agency’s policy and operational documents was conducted and the board adopted a comprehensive new Policy and Procedures Manual. An operational review was undertaken in 2007 which provided concrete recommendations to support the growth of the organization. Physically the main Place building was renovated to provide more purpose-built office space for the growing staff.
In 2008 the association changed its name, adding Gonzales, to better represent the Fairfield Gonzales neighbourhood.
In 2010 the association undertook an intensive campaign to upgrade the storage area at the back of the main place building and finally created designated Youth programming space. To specifically support this work, the FGCA made a targeted donation appeal. In partnership with the City of Victoria, our newest program space, the Youth Zone, opened for programming in the fall of 2011.
Another change for 2011 was the move of our fiscal year end from December 31st to July 31st. As many of our programs follow the school year, this allows us to take advantage of a more natural transition time. 2011 also brought the creation of a new community event, Fall Fairfield: Harvest Fete, and the discontinuation of our Swiftsure Breakfast and Halloween Bonfire, in an attempt to better meet the needs of the community.
In February of 2012 we held our first major fundraiser, the Community Jazz Gala, and also created a new Community Development Coordinator position. The Community Development role began in 2010 with an HRSDC grant and a small portfolio, and as the role grew the FGCA recognized the need for a senior staff member dedicated to such integral services as fund development, volunteer services, and community outreach.