The Record has an article about the Port Royal Community Garden, located in Queensborough. By all accounts, the garden has been a smashing success, and representatives will be attending the Queensborough Urban Farmers' Fall Fair. The 25-odd plots are full, and there is a waiting list of another 25 people. The garden is basically doubling in size to address the large demand.
For some time now I have been wanting to grow a small vegetable garden, for a number of reasones that basically boil down to it is better, cheaper and healthier for you. When we moved to New West, I started looking for an Uptown community garden, and was disappointed that the only one I could find was the garden in Queensborough.
I decided to check with New West Parks, Culture and Recreation Board to see what their plans are for community gardens. Interestingly, it is hard to find good information from the Parks Board. They have a reasonable site detailing facilities and activies availabe, but I haven't found any information detailing the back end of the board. For example, questions I could not find answers to on the Parks or City websites are
- Who is on the board?
- When and where are the public meetings?
- Minutes from previous meetings
- Any kind of long term vision, goal or strategy
What I did find is the New Westminster Environmental Partners seems to be taking the lead on the community garden issue. It sounds like the have had some success in moving this forward, with a presentation to the City in September. The also put on occassional public meetings, including one tonight (7:00 PM at CAW Union Hall, 326 12th Street). Other groups, such as the New West Downtown Residents Association seem to be deferring to them.
While I am glad the NWEP is pushing forward on the community garden issue, I am concerned with the lack (or at least very hard to find) of information from the Parks Board. New West is blessed with a number of great parks, and with its small size, it feels like there is an abundance of parks available for the public. This is a large strength for the city, and we should be discussing how we can improve on that strength and use it to build strong communities. To do that we need to make the discussions, plans and meetings of the Park Board more visible.