Sunday September 14, 2014

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Community garden gets the green light

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It's an unused parcel of land in northwest Estevan now, but soon it will be home to a community garden.

The committee that has been working to bring a community garden to Estevan expects that vegetables will be growing on the site this year, after the project received the green light from Estevan City Council earlier this month.

The garden will be located in a 75-foot by 100-foot parcel of City-owned land in the 1300 block of Lynd Crescent in northwest Estevan.

“There's a power line going over the top it,” said community garden committee chair Chantelle Dubreuil. “That's why the City can't develop it. All they've ever done, for years … is just mow the grass, because they can't construct buildings. They can't do anything. We can put a garden there.”

SaskPower will maintain a right-of-way on the site.

“This is like adding green space where you can't put anything else,” said Dubreuil.

The Lynd Crescent site wasn't their first choice, but they're still thrilled with the location. They had considered several other options for the garden's home, but those were on private property.

One of the sites that they considered was south of the city, near the water treatment plant. It's quiet, isolated and less likely to be at risk of vandalism, Dubreuil said. But some prospective users who are senior citizens were opposed to the location, as they were worried that nobody would see them if they had a medical emergency.

The committee believes it will cost about $2,400 to build the garden, and operate it for the year. Dubreuil said they need water, materials such as top soil to build the garden beds, and a storage unit for garden hoses and small tools. They won't need much storage space, since the garden will have raised beds.

They have about $600 in material donations thus far.

Twelve plots, each measuring four feet wide by 12 feet long by 18 inches high, will be developed as part of the project this year. Eleven are already spoken for. Garden users are limited to one plot each, as the committee doesn't want to see any produce go to waste.

“If we get more material (donations) than what we're asking for, then we will make more beds this year,” said Dubreuil. “We can fit 28 plots on that property.”

Raised plots will enhance the appearance of the garden, too, Dubreuil said.

A work bee is slated for May 3 and 4 at the garden site. If weather doesn't cooperate, the work bee will occur May 10. Debreuil said some people who don't have land in the garden have still come forward to say they want to help out.

If all goes according to plan, people could begin planting fruits and vegetables in the garden during the May long weekend. The garden will be constructed so that people can turn their land into a mini-greenhouse, which would allow for an earlier start to the growing season.

“Next year, if people want to start earlier, they can start growing, hopefully, in the beginning of May.”

Dubreuil said the community garden will allow gardeners in the community to come together. It will add to the community's greenspace. And Estevan's carbon footprint will be reduced.

“We're adding to the community as well, as far as a greater sense of community,” said Dubreuil. “We might only end up being 20 people strong, but we're 20 people in the community who are concerned about the community.”

Eventually, the community garden committee would like to see a community garden in each corner of the city. And they have discussed plans to educate people about better health, involve school students, and incorporate a composting element.

 


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