More community garden plots in sight for Sarnia

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More community garden plots could arrive in a handful of city parks.

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“There are discussions going on at this point, but I think we are hopeful to launch these plots for next year,” said Stacey Forfar, general manager of community services in the city.

Plots already exist in Germain Park, Hannah Park where a water source was installed this year, and Avondale Park, where a garden for the use of the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Center was created this year. spring, Forfar said.

Other parks to consider for new gardens in 2022 include McGibbon, Canatara, Tecumseh and Mike Weir parks, city officials said, noting that more could also be added to Germain Park, where 35 plots have been added. all submitted before the deadline of March 1 of this year.

“We had a very good turnout this year,” said Forfar.

“I think with the effects of COVID and people trying to look for different opportunities to get out, it was great; So I know the staff are actually very excited to be able to expand the program next year and prepare for it. “

A policy was recently approved, outlining the responsibilities of city staff and community groups for the gardens and including criteria for approval, including adequate space, an available water source, and that the plots are sufficiently far apart. other equipment in the park so that they do not interfere.

The cost of installing water sources – critical to the success of gardens – where there are none can cost thousands of dollars, city staff said in a recent report to council.

“City staff aim to locate new gardens near a water source near an existing city-owned building in order to minimize this expense,” the report said, noting that interest in the creation of new community gardens is on the rise.

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There were few responses, but all were in favor when public comment was recently requested on the policy before it was approved by the board earlier this month.

It was no surprise, Forfar said, calling the new policy and the pending garden extensions good news for the community.

“This is not a whole new program for the city; it’s more about refining an existing program and hopefully generating more interest just by spreading the word, ”she said.

Among the responsibilities outlined in the policy, community groups must keep land free of weeds, as well as marijuana and invasive species.

Forfar said she didn’t recall there being any issues with illegal planting in the past and suggested it was more of a question people asked staff.

“So the staff really wanted to clarify this one,” she said.

It is up to community groups of 10 or more people to express their interest in new flower and vegetable growing plots to develop, she said.

City staff then work with the groups to identify locations with adequate lighting and available water sources, and plow the ground to make them work.

“And from there we are really looking for good, solid ownership of these community groups to run them, keep them clean, maintain them,” Forfar said.

“We definitely respond and give them a hand when needed, but if not, we try to prepare them for success from the start and let it go with that.”

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