Sparwood will have a new community garden, after councillors approved a land use agreement for a garden on district land at 440 Engelmann Spruce Drive.
The garden, which will be operated by the Sparwood Community Garden, is located behind the basketball court and next to Juniper Court.
Councillors voted unanimously to support the $10 per year (plus taxes) land use agreement with the group, with the agreement going for five years.
According to district staff, the proposed location was found to be fit for purpose, and having a garden “helps address food security in our community.”
Staff also noted that having a garden on the lot would increase the value of the site.
Dina Dominick, who is vice president of the future Sparwood Community Garden said they were overjoyed that construction of the garden was on the horizon.
“We have been working tirelessly to make this project happen and are grateful for the council’s approval and support,” she said.
“All of our materials and labour has been locally sourced – We’re keeping it local for locals.”
The garden also received $20,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust to get the project going.
Under the agreement with the district, the garden must be available for general members of the public provided they pay fees established by the Community Garden group, with plots available for $30 per season. There will be 20 plots available.
The agreement also stipulated that only fruit, vegetables and flowers could be grown, and amusingly singled out cannabis as not being allowed.
Edible plants must also be harvested “promptly” under the agreement in order to reduce the risk of the garden becoming a wildlife attractant.
“The community has been eager and anticipating the garden to open to the public. We’re hoping construction goes smoothly and we can begin planting this summer,” said Dominick.
The agreement is in effect from May 1, with construction set to begin shortly afterwards.
Last year, when the garden was presented to council as something to consider, Dominick said that the garden would be well-used as Sparwood had a large older population that couldn’t take care of large plots of land on their own, so providing smaller garden plots for use was meeting a need in the community.
Dominick also said that there was interest from high-school and elementary schools around town as kids were interested in seed-saving and growing their own food.
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