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New community garden to be planted near Coquitlam pool

A vacant lot at Coquitlam’s City Centre Aquatic Complex is set to be converted in a fifth public community garden.
Part of the land north of the City Centre Aquatic Complex in Coquitlam will be turned into a community garden.

Part of a vacant and forested lot north of Coquitlam's City Centre Aquatic Complex is expected to be converted for community gardens.

On Monday (April 17), council-in-committee OK'd a municipal staff plan to add plots on the city parcel for area residents to grow food.

That land is designated for future civic purposes; however, in the meantime, it can transition into a temporary community garden, said Lanny Englund, Coquitlam's general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities.

This December, city council will receive a one-time funding request of up to $125,000 for capital costs (site clearing, regrading, a water service, raised garden beds, fencing and garden storage) to build the new City Centre community garden, as well as a $20,000 ask to operate it.

Englund said there's a big push for more community gardens in Coquitlam designed to grow food, educate the public about food security and provide a safe place for green thumbs to socialize in urban spaces.

Currently, there are four formal community gardens:

  • Burquitlam Organic Community Garden
    • 82 plots, 70 on the waitlist
  • Scott Creek Garden
    • 48 plots, 49 on the waitlist
  • Burke Mountain Pioneer Park Garden
    • 29 plots, 44 on the waitlist
  • Colony Farm Community Garden
    • 650 plots, 785 on the waitlist

Last fall, the community garden in Town Centre Park, north of the Inspiration Garden, was decommissioned to make way for Metro Vancouver's water main installation, which is due to start this year (those raised beds were moved to either the Scott Creek or Burke Mountain gardens).

Meanwhile, this year, to further boost community gardens in the city, municipal staff will produce an online resource guide to encourage strata councils to create new gardens within their multi-family developments.

Coun. Robert Mazzarolo, who is part of the Tri-Cities Food Security Table, said he lives in a strata unit with water features at the front of the building that are often broken; he called the fountains a "waste of water and space," noting the area could be better used as a community garden.

And Coun. Steve Kim, last year's Table representative, said community gardens were a big piece of the team’s work last year.

He and Coun. Dennis Marsden called for groups to come forward to run future city gardens.

Coun. Craig Hodge also recommended the city open a community garden around the Booth Farm heritage home in Maillardville.