A community garden won’t be built in Port Moody’s Art Wilkinson Park after all.
Instead, a staff report to be presented to council tonight (Tuesday,May 10) recommends 20 plots be constructed in a median between Knowle Street and the parking lot in front of the city’s recreation complex, and the community be consulted about a larger 40-plot garden next to the Kyle Centre.
In the report, Port Moody’s superintendent of parks, Robbie Nall, said residents of the Glenayre neighbourhood where Art Wilkinson Park is located expressed concerns about part of it being allotted to a 60-plot community garden.
Council initially approved the garden in 2021 but then put the project on hold to survey residents. It then reaffirmed its decision in January until more objections were raised. Among them were worries about increased traffic in the residential neighbourhood, the possibility of attracting bears and a general disinterest as most homes nearby have yards large enough for their own gardens.
Sean Ogilvie, the president of the Glenayre Community Association, said the proposed location for the 650 sq. m. garden was also the only flat spot in the undulating property that also features a small hill where children can toboggan when it snows in the winter. He said the flat area is often used by kids for little soccer matches and playing games.
Ogilvie said the park is already a busy place and locating a community garden far from apartments and townhomes where residents don’t have the space to build their own gardens didn’t make sense.
“You couldn’t find a better plan of putting it in a tucked-away corner of the city,” he said.
In his report, Nall said a central location near the recreation centre makes more sense and can be prepared in time for part of the current growing season. It also has the potential to create synergies with the weekly farmers’ market that’s located in the adjoining parking lot through the summer months.
Another community garden was constructed nearby in 2021 on a similar median between Ioco Road and the recreation complex.
Nall said locating a garden next to Kyle Centre likely couldn’t happen until next year if it’s supported by the community. But, he added, the property is large enough to accommodate 40 plots that would be constructed with pre-fabricated beds installed on top of pallets to help level out its slope.
“This would be the more economical option,” he said.
Another possibility would be Chip Kerr Park that’s located on Hope Street, between Hugh and Moody streets, but it could only fit about 15 plots. Although, Nall added, it is closer to multi-family housing, rental apartments and condos.
The cost to build the community gardens near the recreation centre would be about $25,300, including $5,000 for fencing. Gardens at Kyle Centre would cost $31,100, while the Chip Kerr location is budgeted at $17,600. Nall said the city has $38,297 left in its budget allocated for community garden projects.