Community Garden

There's a large piece of land in the Neighbourhood Park that is currently unused. It's the flat section next to the labyrinth, above the grassed section. Click on the image on the right to see a larger photo of the area (then use your browser "back" button to return here).

In 2008 a survey of neighbourhood residents was carried out, to determine how this land could/should be used. The majority opinion was that a Community Garden should be established.

In 2009, an informal Community Garden Committee was put together, and progress was made on planning for the Garden, a budget was established, and in early 2010 we sought permission from Council to proceed. Permission was granted, and now we have to think about the best way to move the project ahead.

We need volunteers!

We can only make this Community Garden a reality ourselves. We need volunteers who would like to help move the project from the plan to a real, working facility. And you don't have to be from the Cates Hill area to help: the Community Garden will be for all of the Bowen Island community.

If you'd like to help, or to find out more, please contact us.

Progress so far ...

Below you'll find more information about our progress so far, ordered by date (the most recent information is closer to the top).

2010 - November

Our proposal is complete and we are ready to proceed further. Volunteers willing to take on this project are needed.

2010 - May

At the Special Meeting of Bowen Island Municipal Council held on Monday, May 3, 2010, Council passed the following resolutions:

  1. "That Council supports the concept of community gardens within Bowen Island Municipality."
  2. "That Bowen Island Municipality designate as a community garden that portion of Cates Hill Neighbourhood Park as identified in the Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association Spring 2010 Proposal."
At the same time, however, in view of the lack of existing Municipal guidelines and policy around Community Gardens, and the opposition our proposal had brought forth from other members of the community, the Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association submitted a letter stating that we were prepared to withdraw our proposal for the time being.

2010 - April

We presented our proposal to Council early in the month. Municipal staff expressed the following concerns (extracted from Minutes of the Special Council Meeting of Bowen Island Municipal Council held Monday, April 12th,
2010):
  • The need for firmer direction;
  • Whether the funding of this project could be considered a capital project or would be better suited for grant allocation;
  • Leaving the allocation of funding to staff’s discretion. In the absence of guidance and a parks master plan the $65,000 has already been targeted to trails and beach accesses.
Further discussion of our proposal by Council was deferred to a later meeting.

The Community Garden Committee continued work on refining various aspects of the project. During April and early May, Council received several letters from Island residents who are opposed to any Municipal funding of the Community Garden. You can read examples of those letters by clicking here and here.

The Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association submitted a letter to Council to clarify the funding request, and to address some of the other concerns expressed by other residents. The major objection is a perception that the Community Garden is only for Cates Hill residents, and that any Municipal funding is for a select group; this is most certainly not the case. We have proposed that the Garden be open to residents from the entire Island, and have also asked Council for their insight and advice on this issue.

2010 - March

The Community Garden proposal was presented to the Greenways Committee on March 17. The result was that the members of the Greenways Committee voted 3 - 2 in favour of recommending to council that they move forward. Some issues were raised that required clarification (for example, zoning of the area where the Garden is to be established, and water management).

We received word that our proposal could be presented to Council in early April.

We submitted a letter concerning the Community Garden issue to the OCP Steering Committee.

2010 - February

We conducted an informal email poll of 45 neighbourhood households (less than half of the total households in the area), asking (a) whether they'd be interested in taking a plot if the Community Garden goes ahead, and (b) whether they'd be willing to pay for that plot. More than half of the respondents expressed interest and there was no resistance to a user fee.

We created a draft Community Garden proposal, and then revised and edited it for presentation to the Greenways Committee and then Council (in March).

2010 - January

The Community Garden Committee held two meetings to discuss the project. Bowen Island Council also discussed it.

At the first Garden Committee meeting, held on January 14, we learned that Councillor Peter Frinton was going to request from Council between $15,000 and $20,000 in funding support for the Community Garden. We also learned from Karen Wristen of the possibility of obtaining a grant from the Evergreen Foundation. We agreed to submit a grant request, but after a lot of work by Karen (including some detailed plans) we learned that, since Council had not formally extended permission to establish the Community Garden, our submission could not proceed.

At the Council meeting on January 22, a resolution was passed supporting, in principle, the development of community gardens, and inviting the Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association to appear before Council with a proposal.

At the second Garden Committee meeting, held on January 27, we discussed various issues that arose after Peter Frinton's proposal to Council for funding support. These issues included:
  • Completion of a formal proposal, including a budget
  • Presentation of the proposal to the Greenways Committee in March 2010
  • Provision of water for the Garden
  • How the Garden should be managed
  • Membership fees and potential cash flow
  • Liability
The Committee planned to present the proposal to Council in late March.

2009 - December

We placed a poster on the ferry notice board asking for people to help plan for the Community Garden. As a result, we were able to form a Community Garden Committee.

2009 - November

Karen Wristen spoke at the pot luck supper, immediately prior to our 2009 AGM, on the topic of community gardens, and what we would need to do to establish one. Karen represented the Bowen Agricultural Alliance, and she agreed to be part of our informal committee.

Please help!

If you've read this far, you know that a lot of work has been done to put together a plan, budget, and secure permission from Council to proceed. Now we need to move to the next stage of the process: fund-raising, and actual work to get the Garden together.

We need volunteers who would like to help move the project from the plan to a real, working facility. And you don't have to be from the Cates Hill area to help: the Community Garden will be for all of the Bowen Island community.

If you'd like to help, or to find out more, please contact us.
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Owen Plowman,
Nov 6, 2010, 11:12 PM
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Owen Plowman,
Nov 6, 2010, 11:15 PM
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