Gardens preferred site assessed
A PREFERRED option has finally been identified for Coffs Harbour’s Community Gardens but it could be another month before it’s location is made public.
Council’s executive manager strategy and sustainability Jeff Green said the land will be assessed to ensure it meets the needs of the gardens.
“During the next four weeks we will also open negotiations with those people who are neighbours of the site we have identified,” Mr Green said.
“It is important that we get their views and consent before we proceed any further and go public.”
Mr Green said he was hopeful that the site, which is on public land, would be suitable and acceptable for the community gardens.
“Council has the organisational support structures in place to move forward with this project.”
Mr Green said the search for a suitable site had taken longer than anticipated. That is a view shared by the 45 members of the Coffs Region Community Gardens Association (CRCGA).
“The search for a site has been very frustrating,” CRCGA public officer David Wilson said.
“Council wanted us to build the gardens at the showground, but the administrator there wanted us to pay $12,000 a year rent for the former Coffs United soccer field but that sort of money is too much for us on an ongoing basis. As well the administrator was only proposing a three-year lease which means that no sooner were we set up than we could be forced to uproot.
“We (CRCGA) were keen on a back section of Fitzroy Oval but council has ruled that out and more recently we have indicated we’d be happy with a part of Englands Park. We’d ideally like one to two acres of land, so we are keen to find out which land has now been identified and elevated to preferred status.”
Mr Wilson said CRCGA members were becoming uneasy about the information flow from council.
“We got the ball rolling and it was our groundwork and application that resulted in the grant coming to the area, but we can’t get any answers from the Coffs Harbour City Council,” Mr Wilson said.
“The government required that the council auspice the grant money and I have no problem with that, but we can’t get answers about the process of identifying a site or how much of the funding has already been spent. The grant was shared with the Bellingen Council, and even though they are a much smaller organisation they have identified a site and are moving forward.”