A movement to develop Ucluelet’s first community garden is budding.
About a dozen locals attended a recent open house at the UCC to learn about the proposed garden plot site at Edna Batchelor Park.
Jeanne Keith-Ferris from the Ucluelet Local Food Society (ULFS) spoke to the group about the need to create food security for the community and District of Ucluelet’s Abby Fortune and John Towgood shared draft sketches of what the initial garden plot could look like.
“We pledge we will be good neighbours. The garden will have no animal attractants. No seeds, no plant debris building up, and no compost. It will also have a deer fence,” said Keith-Ferris.
She added that the deer fence will be hedged with herbs she’s personally test driven in her own backyard.
“The deers don’t go near them,” she said.
Towgood and Fortune described the garden plot as part of a larger master plan to improve Edna Batchelor Park. They said phase one of the development would also include a new swing set and the construction of a gravel pathway that would run through the park, connecting Bay St. and Holly Cres.
Towgood said the initial 1,300 sq. ft. plot would be wheelchair accessible.
Residents living adjacent to the proposed garden site voiced several concerns. Poor drainage, a lack of parking, attracting wildlife and rats, and a loss of privacy being the most eminent.
One local brought up the potential of transient visitors to Ucluelet raiding the garden during the summer months.
Seaplane Base and Tugwell Fields were suggested as alternate locations for the community garden.
The ULFS is drawn to Edna Batchelor Park due to the amount of sunshine it receives and its close proximity to the community centre.
“In the end, neighbours will be happy and the community garden will add value to their home,” said Keith-Ferris.
District staff is currently modifying their initial draft of the Edna Batchelor Park Community Garden to reflect the concerns raised at last week’s open house. They will bring the revised proposal forward to mayor and council at the next scheduled meeting on Feb. 14.
Pending funding and council approval, the ULFS are hopeful planting could begin as early as May.
“It would be nice to have the beds ready to go by late spring or early summer,” said ULFS president Lorna Watson.
Anyone interested in signing up for a plot or learning more about the Ucluelet community garden should contact Jeanne Keith-Ferris at 250-726-4249 or email email@example.com. To contribute to the project, visit: www.gofundme.com/ucluelets-first-community-garden.
Ucluelet's council had considered installing a community garden on St. Jacques Blvd. in 2015, but concerns from area residents scrapped that plan.