Council rejects community garden

ONE of the Coffs Coast’s much-anticipated community gardens has wilted on the vine before the first sods were turned.

While there has been reluctant acceptance of Coffs Harbour City Council’s flood-prone site at England Park, Bellingen’s option has been ruled out altogether.

Bellingen Council yesterday rejected the plan of management for a community garden at North Bellingen.

The vote came after debate which included allegations that the Environmental Trust is now ‘looking very closely’ at the $250,000 grant it awarded the Coffs Harbour City and Bellingen Shire councils 18 months ago to develop a local food culture.

That issue was raised by Councillor Gordon Braithwaite when he spoke at length about the plan to turn part of a vacant block of land at McCristal Drive into a garden.

“I believe there is now little support for the garden and I know that one prominent local businessman has withdrawn his support for it,” Cr Braithwaite said.

“The land is flood prone and I’m worried about parking and given none of the immediate neighbours support the idea, I think if we approve, it will be one of the worst decisions we have made.”

Crs Bruce Cronin and Ian Coe also had strong reservations about the McCristal Drive site.

“I wouldn’t want this next to me because I know that community gardens can become very untidy and little more than gypsy camps,” Cr Cronin said.

“I am not satisfied that this is the best location because of the limited size of the block in a residential area,” Cr Coe said.

Cr Sean Tuohy was the lone advocate of the site.

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