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Port Moody to consider two new community gardens

Port Moody is considering locations for two more community gardens. A report says they'll contribute to the city's food security as well as relieve pressure on its two existing gardens.
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A patch of grass in front of the Port Moody's recreation centre could soon become a new community garden, if council agrees to a staff recommendation for two such initiatives to be established as pilot projects for the next five years. The other would be at Art Wilkinson Park in the city's Glenayre neighbourhood.

It will cost Port Moody $53,000 to establish two new community gardens in the city.

A staff report to be presented to council on Tuesday recommends the gardens be located at Art Wilkinson Park in the city’s Glenayre neighbourhood, and on a patch of land in front of the recreation centre on Ioco Road.

Port Moody already has two existing community gardens, next to the police headquarters on St. Johns Street with 62 plots, and 20 additional plots at the much smaller Inlet community garden that was established in 2002.

But, said the report, both gardens have long wait lists and turnover is slow.

“It can take many years to obtain a plot in Port Moody.”

The report, authored by Port Moody’s supervisor of parks, Robbie Nall, recommends the new gardens operate as a pilot project for the next five years. They would be managed by the city’s existing community garden groups.

The garden proposed for Art Wilkinson Park would have 40 plots, while the one at the rec centre comprises 20 plots.

The money will pay for site preparation and design, the establishment of water connections, construction of raised planters, as well as soil, supplies and labour. The garden at the rec centre would also be fenced.

The report said the new gardens will “contribute to community development, environmental awareness, enhance positive social interactions, offer mental wellness benefits,” as well as provide access to fresh produce.

In July, 2020, council considered a plan to enhance Port Moody’s food security by placing container planters to grow vegetables and fruit in front of city hall, a raised garden in Pioneer Park and the establishment of a victory garden in existing beds in front of the Arts Centre. The initiative would have cost $35,000.

However, Nall said, those would be too small to ease the pressure on Port Moody’s existing gardens. Instead, he suggested, parks staff could plant edible plants, along with flowering annuals and perennials at the Arts Centre beds, which could then be used to host educational gardening seminars. Any produce that’s harvested would be donated to the food bank.