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Prince Edward Island, Canada: New Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Prince Edward Island, Canada: New Community Garden
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 20 May 2004 11:12:53 EDT


Thursday, May 20, 2004
Mighty neighbourly  
By Mary MacKay, The Guardian

The fabled little Mary Mary would not be so contrary if she saw the garden plans for the upcoming green space in the town of Cornwall.
Work has already started on the transformation of a 1.5-acre vacant lot into a community garden park that will foster the growth of neighbourly spirit as well as delight the play and relaxation needs of the people.

"We kind of wanted something like a focal point in the community that would bring the residents together, that's kind of where the idea came from," says Cornwall's recreation director Kim Meunier of the centrally-located town-owned property.

"There are residents in the area who don't really have the access to develop their own gardens - there are a lot of apartment buildings - so the recreation department thought it would be a great idea to bring the community together as a good meeting place for people to get out to meet the neighbours, as well as the physical activity component of it," she adds.

The Garden of Hope, a name submitted by Katherine Teed, the local contest winner and a Grade 5 Eliot River elementary student, is a $100,000 project hosted by the Town of Cornwall, Human Resources Development Canada and Youth Services Canada.

The garden's components were compiled from recommendations made by a steering committee of interested people.

"Everyone just threw out their ideas, we tried to put them all together and this is what we came up with," community garden park project co-ordinator Jason Kun says of the layout which includes a huge open space area for free play, picnic areas, a children's play area, community garden plots and an easy access garden with raised beds.

"The easy access garden is near the entrance opposite the senior citizens' home. We wanted that to be accessible and at the same time we also wanted the open space to be accessible so they could actually see it," he adds.

"They expressed that they wanted the open space because that's one thing they enjoy is watching the kids running around, flying kites and playing ball."

Walkways are planned as well as a perimeter of butterfly bushes and interspersed clumpings of berry bushes and native species, which will be geared toward educational activities.

The Department of Agriculture and Forestry's Greening Spaces program is supplying some of planting material.

Program co-ordinator Terry Gauthier says the greening spaces program provides free native trees and shrubs to communities, schools and volunteer interest groups for various planting projects.

"There are as many different projects as you can think of: cemetery groups that want to continue hedgerows around cemeteries and a school down east is making an outdoor classroom surrounded by trees," he says.

"People have to do the site preparation and planning, but we will also give them up to $500 per project for things they need like shovels and those items."

On the personal gardening side of things, the Cornwall garden's community garden plots will be geared toward people who want to garden with flowers and/or vegetables. Participants will pay an annual fee per planting season and receive a manual of gardening know-how tips.

"(In some areas of Cornwall), there are a lot of townhouses and apartment buildings so we want to provide that as an option for people to get out and be able to enjoy the space, pretty much not just to garden but to get to know your neighbour," Kun says.

Along the lines of career and personal skills growth, a team of 10 young adults ages 19 to 29 has been hired under a Youth Services Canada program

As part of the program, they participated in life skills training such as resume building and interview skills and are now focusing on the construction skills needed to complete park projects such as a greenhouse and gazebo.

The program helps participants plan a career path so when they leave they have direction as to the next step they want to take in their life, says life skills co-ordinator Christina MacInnis.

"They will know how they can apply those skills (learned during this project) and the knowledge they have already gained from previous experience to help them look for future jobs and future careers."

A number of picnic tables have already been constructed as well as a greenhouse.

Work is starting on the composters and benches.

"I imagine we're going to be involved in a lot of the landscaping, too," says Ryan Paugh, who is in charge of the building team.

"As of the second week of June, we will be in there doing all the landscaping, digging up our paths, getting out plots laid out, putting in our raised flower beds. It's going to be a lot of work, but we're looking forward to it."

Upcoming events in conjunction with Cornwall's Garden of Hope include a prize bingo on Wednesday, June 2, at the North River Fire Hall, starting at 7 p.m. The official turning of the sod is set for June 12 at the park, and a carwash and a barbecue will be held at the Cornwall Esso on Saturday, June 19.

June 25 and 26 are community planting days where people can come to the park and help with plot creation and plant the materials on hand.

"We'll be asking people to also bring plants from their own gardens and put them into the garden," Kun says.

"That way, part of everyone's garden will actually become the actual garden park."

Anyone interesting in becoming a partner with Cornwall's Garden of Hope project in the areas of advice, material or financial assistance can contact Kun, 629-8413.

This year's deadline for applications for the Department of Forestry's Greening Spaces program is June 1, but applications for next year are also available. For more information, contact Terry Gauthier at greeningspaces@gov.pe.ca or 368-4800

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