THE Duncraig Edible Garden will continue to flower thanks to continued funding by the State Government.
Community Services Minister Tony Simpson announced on Wednesday that the Community Gardens Grants program had been extended to 2019-20. The state-wide program provides $100,000 per year in funding for community gardens.
Since its introduction in 2013, 37 projects totalling $464,853 have been funded across WA, including the City of Joondalup’s pilot project Duncraig Edible Garden (DEG), which was established outside the Duncraig Library at Percy Doyle Reserve in 2014.
Earlier this year, the City of Joondalup received $9980 to buy a water tank, establish communal wicking beds and undertake soil improvement at the garden.
At the City’s June council meeting, the DEG committee requested an expansion of the garden as part of the pilot project’s two-year review.
City officers had recommended a minor expansion of about 300sq m for seven new wicking beds and a 10,000L water tank to be funded by the State Government grant and the planting of edible plants along the footpath leading to the library, to be funded by the committee.
“From the review conducted of DEG’s activities and capabilities over the past two years, the City is confident that the DEG has the ability to manage this extra amount of space,” a council document said.
But at the council briefing, DEG committee executive member Kath Moller said they had proposed a bigger expansion to the City.
“If that’s all we get, we won’t have a viable community garden going forward; we will lose momentum,” she said.
“We’ve got funding to build seven beds to start with, and it’s a good start, but there’s space to build a lot more.”
She anticipated those garden beds would be filled in the first 12 months.
“We have space there to do about a year’s worth and after that, we would be in maintenance mode again,” she said.
The committee also proposed a self-funded “bush tucker trail” with a crushed limestone path, signs to guide walkers and a fence to keep rubbish and weeds out and a shaded “talking seated area” for workshops and to socialise.
At the meeting, Cr Sophie Dwyer, a former DEG member, moved an alternative motion to request another report by December on the feasibility of the DEG committee’s proposal for further expansion.
“As a City, we should be proud this community garden highlights just how much our community values shared spaces to grow food, learn about permaculture practices and interact socially,” she said.
“I ask the City to work closely with Duncraig Edible Garden to fully understand and assess their expansion requirements and report back with the costs, risks and community benefits.”
Cr John Chester moved an amendment for a 450sqm expansion to accommodate extra garden beds.
He said the DEG committee had been waiting “six long years to be allocated some open space”.
“This is good planning by the DEG committee to cater for a predicted rapid uptake of the bed space,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request for the DEG committee to plan ahead.”
Cr Tom McLean said he could not support the amendment and would have to rely on the officers’ recommendation.
The amendment was defeated 5-6 but Cr Dwyer’s motion was approved unanimously.
Councillors also voted to continue providing operational and in-kind support for waste removal, storage and after hours toilet access at Duncraig Library, as well as approve a sub meter to monitor water use (estimated at $300), the removal of four palm trees (estimated at $1000) and to waive application fees for any required planning or building approvals (estimated at $424).