Fall Update

Jerry Forbes Centre
5 min readNov 17, 2016


Rendering of the future Reception area in the Jerry Forbes Centre

We’ve been busy at Centre Administration and have a lot to share with you!

While we are finalizing governance and operations to serve as a solid basis from which to run the Centre, there are some very exciting things we can share with you — like our floor plan! This is a big win as it was mind bending to achieve the right ratio of office space to shared and meeting space to warehouse space. We are very confident this model will get us close to fulfilling on the needs charities have identified, and the spaces are designed to be flexible should we need to expand or retract any given area.

Floor Plan of the Jerry Forbes Centre

During this start-up phase, we have identified several priority areas that need to be tackled to make the Centre a success, they are:

  • Add office space reach close to 40,000 ft² including additional shared spaces, classroom and volunteer workshop
  • Renovate existing warehouse, office and meeting spaces in January 2018
  • Draft and negotiate leases with charitable tenant applicants to begin moving in by April 2018
  • Finalize the Operations plan, policy and procedures documents
  • Create tenant on-boarding experience and documentation
  • Anticipate challenges and create a resolution framework for tenant issues, complete a Collaboration Charter and initiate a Tenant Advisory sub-committee
  • Detail the Communications strategy for animating the Centre; which will bring the Centre to life by creating and inspiring a culture of collaboration and shared services
  • Increase stakeholder communications to reach our community engagement goals through newsletters, social media, website, events and sneak peeks once renovations begin
  • Contract planning and operations experts where necessary
  • Create communications systems for impact measurement through data provided by users, including tenant stories to showcase successes of building capacity and working together
  • Recognize and celebrate our donor and other stakeholder contributions
Warehouse entrance to the Centre

Where are we now?

In addition to the floor plan, we have a few other things we can make public…

It’s true — we have not officially moved into the Centre; but we do have tenants that have moved into the warehouse, and we completed a few renovations to help reduce costs; such as the newly-installed LED lighting that will bring electrical costs for that portion of the warehouse down by 85–95 per cent, and with the longevity of LEDs we are further reducing maintenance costs and decreasing our environmental footprint.

630 CHED Santas Anonymous 2016 campaign is now operational in the warehouse! It’s true, after moving a reported 60–90 times in and out of depots and storage facilities annually since the mid-60s, Santa and his Elves have a permanent home at the Centre. If you visit the Centre as a volunteer for 630 CHED Santas Anonymous this year, what you will see is not its permanent configuration, but a portion of the space it will occupy. This year we were fortunate that the previous owner of the building, J. Ennis Fabrics, does not need the entire warehouse while searching for a new home, and was kind enough to move its operations, enabling Santa to get established this year.

Also exciting news is that Christmas Bureau of Edmonton will hold its Walk-In Days at the Centre too! Although the Bureau is still in operation at its original location in Beverly, holding Walk-In Days at the Centre will give its staff and volunteers a chance to see how the new location will work.

In addition, Edmonton Folk Music Festival has moved its storage and maintenance operations into a separate portion of the warehouse to clean and repair stages and equipment. Groovy! J. Ennis Fabrics, is occupying the remaining 70, 000 ft² until approximately December 2017.

The Centre will feature bright offices, open work spaces and collaboration areas

We have also been keeping our Board busy with the approval process of charitable applicants. It has approved three additional Tenants to move into the Centre, bringing our total to seven approved charitable tenants! There are an additional five recommended pending financial review, which we anticipate being complete this winter. We are also in the research stage with an additional seven organizations. Should all these move to lease, it is anticipated that the existing office space in the Centre will be full upon opening, and that approximately 80 per cent of the office expansion be leased even prior to its completion. A similar situation is true for the 50,000 ft² warehouse space.

Jerry Forbes enjoying a moment at the Athabasca River near Jasper

Jerry Forbes Centre Foundation Board members and staff continue to fundraise to meet a goal of an additional $3 million in the next year for capital improvements, start-up operations costs and contingencies. We have had success in securing a number of gifts including: a portion for staff salary and for consulting on part of the telecommunications infrastructure.

What’s new?

We launched our new website in April and update it as news becomes available. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet, we encourage you to click around!

We welcomed two new Board Directors this summer: Michele Kirchner and Tim Haak, whose time and expertise we greatly appreciate.

Both 630 CHED Santas Anonymous and Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, have several opportunities to volunteer or contribute for groups and individuals between now and Christmas — we encourage you to find out more and consider giving time and compassion to help those receiving support from SantasAnonymous.ca and ChristmasBureau.ca.