Neighbourhood Garden Update – December 5th
The Railway House Gardening Group has actively lobbied Council for a shared neighbourhood garden to be developed on the disused bocce courts. In March 2017, Council ran an open community consultation at the Railway House. Further discussion with groups identified as stakeholders was held in April. The reason for the consultation was to ask the local community if the bocce courts should be redeveloped, and if so, for what purpose?
Following the consultation a final recommendation was considered by Councilors at an Ordinary Meeting of Council on 5 June 2018. The recommendation was that ‘the conversion of the court area for a shared growing space and the retention of one lane for bocce, presents an option that satisfies the majority future vision of those who participated in the consultation.’ Council officers were authorized to prepare a licence agreement over the site to the North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House ‘to improve the site and manage the site for gardening purposes on behalf of the community.’ All 9 Councillors voted in favour of the proposal. The whole report is quite lengthy and is available on the City of Yarra website (see past Council meetings, Agenda, June 5, 2018).
Since that meeting the Railway Neighbourhood House subcommittee has attended a series of meetings with Council to collaborate on the design and management structures for the future neighbourhood garden.
One of the defining aspects of the proposed garden is that there will be no private plots – this was a strongly held view in our community and has the support of both the gardening group and the Railway Neighbourhood House.
When ready, the draft design will be exhibited on site for a four week period for public comment prior to being approved by Council Officers. After approval, Council will prepare the licence agreement. Also as part of the licence agreement requirement, many policies and procedures to support the future garden are being written by the Working Group. This would include, for example, a code of conduct, occupational health and safety rules, organic gardening practices, sustainability practices and a management model – this is just some of the policy work being developed at present by the Working Group.
The Neighbourhood House is also continually looking for opportunities to apply for grant money and donations to assist with funding.
There are many talented people in our community giving their time and expertise freely to work on the garden project and we are very appreciative of their assistance. The Railway Neighbourhood House has also received tremendous encouragement and support from our City of Yarra Councillors and and we thank them for their time, care and vision.
We’ll be needing lots of volunteers in 2019 as the new garden takes shape! If you’d like to be involved, please call the Railway House office on 9380 6654 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll put you onto the mailing list so that you can receive updates.