Volunteers lay down lumber for the fencing at the new community garden. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Work begins on community garden at Campbell River park

Greenways Land Trust hopes people will be able to get planting next spring

Volunteers laid the first post – and a few more – Wednesday morning to get started on the new community garden planned for Charstate Park.

The Greenways Land Trust project has been planned for more than a year, and work started earlier this week, as Swan Lawns supervised the preparation starting with setting up the string line on Monday and 5 Star Excavating conducting machine-digging on Tuesday for the post holes.

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Wednesday morning volunteers gathered to erect the first posts for fencing at the site. A number of companies have helped with supplies and services to help get the project underway, along with many volunteers.

“We’ve had a ton of help from the community,” said Sandra Milligan, Greenways president. “We have 60 holes in the ground, and today we have a ton of volunteers here…. It’s a little colder than I’d like today, but it’s a beautiful sunny day.”

She says the cold weather did not hamper efforts to get the ground ready for Wednesday’s work bee.

“People don’t stop building in Campbell River when it falls below zero,” she said. “When the work’s gotta be done, the work’s gotta be done.”

Milligan expects work to continue through the winter with the aim of making the 42 community beds available by next spring. The plots, she says, are ideal for people who live in condos or apartments, or cannot garden at home.

“We’re going to have a wonderful food forest section that’s going to be available to the public,” she said, explaining the section will be home to fruit trees as well as blueberries and strawberries.

She expects the Charstate Community Garden will be a nice addition to the park which already provides an “amazing” view for visitors.

The project started more than year ago, and Milligan credits the City of Campbell River for helping Greenways to get the lease for the site, as well as putting in a new parking area for access and a water hookup to service an irrigation system for the garden.

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Part of the aim for the project is to add green space to the community, but there is also a food security goal as well – to raise the percentage of locally produced food from less than 1 per cent at present up to about 10 per cent.

“The City of Campbell River has an agricultural plan, and its goal is to increase local food sources,” Milligan says. “This community garden goes a long way toward supporting that objective, to have people to grow their own healthy food close to their house.”

Next stages for Charstate Community Garden include putting in trenches for the irrigation system in early 2019 after which they will start to build beds and fill them.

“By March, we should be ready to go for people for when it starts to warm up and they’re ready to start putting things in the ground,” Milligan adds. “This is a huge beautiful field, and this is going to add a lot of value to this area.”

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