A MORLEY community group has condemned a City of Bayswater officer’s recommendation to evict it from its premises just two months before members launched a community garden.
Bayswater City Community Safety Watch and Garden Education Inc (BCCSWGE) has held a usage agreement at the old Morley kindergarten since June 2015, previously operating as Bayswater Neighbourhood Watch at the site.
The group, which aims to teach gardening techniques and crime reduction tips, and provide a social outlet, has requested a 15-year peppercorn lease and an exemption from fees for five years while it establishes a membership base.
However, a City officer has recommended councillors not approve a new usage agreement and give the group until June 30 to leave, and meanwhile seek expressions of interest from other community groups to use the site at a meeting tomorrow.
Group chairwoman Pat Lim said it was an “unfair” and “unreal” recommendation by the City just two months before it officially launched a community garden.
“If that goes through, we’ve got two months to get out,” she said.
“In my wildest dreams, I could not believe a council could do this.”
Work for the Dole teams and Bayswater-based People and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have helped the group develop the garden and put in 60 garden beds, flowers, vegetable patches and a paving arrangement.
Ms Lim said they were about to complete a fairy garden and hold more painting and repair works, but would now hold off until the council’s decision was made.
She said the group had 30 members and another 40 interested in joining. Ms Lim said 25 community groups had provided financial and in-kind support to the project and the Morley Lions Club was set to take the garden on as a centenary project.
The group welcomed other groups to share the site with them.
However, the City report said “little progress” had been made on the community garden.
“Given the limited evidence of community involvement to date associated with the site and the current low membership activity and financial position presented, BCCSWGE does not appear financially viable for the duration of tenure requested,” it said.
“While the City has not had specific requests from other community groups to use this site, regular requests from community not-for-profit organisations seeking premises are received.”
The City has received comment from several community members who claim not to be able to access the community garden or become members of the association.
The report said the City may wish to dispose the asset as it “may attract interest from developers wishing to acquire the site”.