The Village of Big Valley council will offer some other public space for a resident to plant a garden after it was revealed the initial spot is already spoken for. The decision was made at the May 27 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Mindus provided councillors with a letter from a local resident who wished to plant a garden on some property owned by the village. The writer’s name was not mentioned at the meeting.
Mindus stated the writer was referring to four village-owned vacant lots located along 5th Ave. South that have in the past been used as a garden by nearby residents with the CAO noting there doesn’t seem to be any formal agreement between the current gardeners and the village. Mindus also noted no service lines run to the lots which are currently zoned for park or public use.
The letter writer stated that they had noticed other residents were using the public property as a garden, and the writer also would like to plant a garden for vegetables like potatoes and pumpkins. The writer asked if they also could plant a garden on those lots.
Coun. Harry Nibourg stated it seemed to him one of the village lots along that row is also being used as access for adjacent residences.
Mayor Clark German stated some residents earlier this year had voiced interest in a community garden, but that’s the last he’d heard of the idea. German asked if there was any update on that.
Mindus responded she had been in contact with a resident who stated there may be much interest in a community garden but the resident couldn’t find enough people who wanted to be on the committee.
The mayor responded that perhaps that then speaks to the actual level of interest in a community garden in Big Valley. However, he also stated he would still like to see a committee come forward with a community garden proposal, but if that doesn’t happen the council probably needs to decide how these gardening activities will be handled in the future.
German also stated he had been told that the four lots in question were fully planted and that it as too late to plant anything else on the lots in question.
Coun. Art Tizzard stated people have been gardening on the village lots in question “for years,” adding he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the idea but felt a community garden was the best approach.
He noted that if there was a lot of demand, perhaps a committee and agreements were necessary, and Nibourg responded he’d also like to see a committee come forward with a community garden proposal.
Mayor German wondered if the village could offer the writer some space on a different, nearby village lot.
Councillors spent some time examining maps for village lots in the general area, and selected one that was relatively close to the four lots the writer initially asked about.
Councillors eventually passed a motion that the village would let the writer know their first choice of garden location was unavailable, but that the village would make a different piece of property available if the writer wishes.
Coun. Nibourg stated the village should explain to everyone involved that there may have to be some rules for similar gardening activities next year.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review