Port Moody council agreed to waive the permit application fees for a community garden at the corner of Clarke and St. Johns streets despite traffic, parking and soil quality concerns.
Tabitha McLoughlin and Matthew Stuart of the Coquitlam Farmers Market Society appeared at a council meeting last month to ask the city to waive the temporary use permit fee (approximately $3,200 in direct and indirect costs) for the site, a vacant lot owned by Coquitlam entrepreneur Fred Soofi, who has offered to let the group use it for at least two years.
(A story on the community garden in the April 27 edition contained incorrect information that council had already agreed to waive the fee.)
The project will add 27 plots to PoMo's community garden stock, including several larger family plots. There will also be a demonstration garden to provide information on best practices and growing methods, and some food will be donated to the food bank.
Coun. Diana Dilworth made a motion that council waive the fee, suggesting the applicants look to neighbouring vacant properties (the old Barnet Hotel site) for parking.
Coun. Bob Elliott raised concerns about soil quality given the property's former life as a gas station but garden representatives indicated it has been assessed as safe for growing produce.
Mayor Mike Clay didn't support the motion, noting he was in favour of creating a new community garden but not in that location. He suggested Chip Kerr Park or an area next to Kyle Centre would be more appropriate.
Residents of 2123 and 2125 Clarke St., next to the proposed community garden, are asking the city for the street in front of their townhouse complex to be made a "resident only" zone.
In addition to Clay and Elliott, Coun. Rosemary Small also voted against the motion, which was carried.