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It’s crunch time for Docklands’ community garden

01 Mar 2011

Docklanders are going to have to decide whether or not they want a community garden as sustainability group Urban Reforestation is no longer prepared to do it for them.

Speaking on Docklands TV on February 18, Urban Reforestation director Emily Ballantyne-Brodie said she no longer had the energy to keep pushing for a more permanent garden without community and institutional support.

The current garden was due to be transferred to a more permanent site late last year but Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said that despite months of discussions and negotiations with Lend Lease, VicUrban and the City of Melbourne, nothing had eventuated.

She said she was personally exhausted and had to pass the project to the community if it was to continue.

“Unfortunately, the people and the plants surrounding the garden are about 20 per cent of what I experience with the garden,” Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said.

“The other 80 per cent is unfortunately a lot of red tape and bureaucracy as well as a lot of apathy.”

Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said the City of Melbourne had offered money to help but this was dependent on VicUrban granting a permanent site.

“We will be leaving the garden and leaving Docklands because there is not any certainty around our future here,” she said.

Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said the community needed to step into the role if the garden was to have a future.  She said a date would soon be announced for a community meeting to form a locally-based committee of management.

Lend Lease, VicUrban and the City of Melbourne have all responded by pledging their commitment to the initiative.

Lend Lease Victoria Harbour project director Ellie Schwab said she would continue to support community-led initiatives aimed at providing social and environmental benefits.

“Lend Lease has been a genuine supporter of Urban Reforestation and of the great work they do. We’ve lent our support in several capacities,” Ms Schwab said.

Cr Cathy Oke said the City of Melbourne was also very supportive of Urban Reforestation and a Docklands community garden.

She said the council had allocated $9000 to help move the current garden to a more permanent site in Docklands as well as a further $7000 to run community-engagement programs.

However, Cr Oke also said the funding was conditional on Urban Reforestation successfully receiving a lease from VicUrban for a new garden site in Docklands.

VicUrban general manager for Docklands Simon Wilson said his organisation was committed to supporting the community initiative.

“VicUrban is also supportive of developing a longer-term site for a community garden within Docklands and has commenced preliminary discussions with key stakeholders, including Urban Reforestation, to resolve the ongoing governance and management arrangements associated with this,” Mr Wilson said.

 

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Comments

  • Urban Reforestation, Director Emily Ballantyne-Bro at 5:11pm on 04/03/11

    For this valuable community initiative to continue there must be a handover to the Docklands community. Support is necessary from the community and major stakeholders to ensure the garden and its programs continue.
    Urban Reforestation can no longer do this by themselves. We are a not-for-profit organisation with limited resources.
  • Urban Reforestation, Director Emily Ballantyne-Bro at 5:13pm on 04/03/11

    The garden is not an Urban Reforestation project, but a community one. We define this community as the major stakeholders, such as VicUrban, Lend Lease, the City of Melbourne, the business community and the residents of the Docklands. Now the garden needs your support.
    Thank you

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