Con­tam­i­na­tion not the end of gar­den

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - by DONNA-MARIE MILNE

THE peo­ple be­hind an award-win­ning en­vi­ron­men­tal park in Mel­bourne built on a con­tam­i­nated site have urged vol­un­teers of the Port Dou­glas Community Gar­den to re­main com­mit­ted and en­gaged with their vi­sion.

The Port Dou­glas Community Gar­den com­mit­tee will meet on Mon­day to vote on whether to move for­ward with the community gar­den af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing a list of pros and cons of re­main­ing on the con­tam­i­nated Mow­bray St site.

Three op­tions will be put for­ward to the com­mit­tee - continue on the for­mer do­mes­tic land fill site with lim­ited ca­pac­ity, aban­don the site com­pletely and com­pro­mise with a smaller site on Nautilus Street, or to pres­sure the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil to al­lo­cate a new suit­able piece of land.

CERES En­vi­ron­men­tal Park site man­ager Nick Curmei said per­se­ver­ance had paid off for them af­ter plenty of hard work.

The CERES project is built on nine­and-a-half acres of land, a de­com­mis­sioned rub­bish tip that was once a blue­stone quarry, and 30 years on it now houses 53 community gar­den plots and stands as an ex­em­plary model of en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

“Around two-thirds of our land was con­tam­i­nated, and a one-me­tre cap­ping was in­stalled ini­tially,” Mr Cer­mei said.

“Now 30 years later, we’re now an es­tab­lished en­vi­ron­ment park, and a cer­ti­fied or­ganic pro­ducer.

“The process has been a slow and steady one, with huge en­gage­ment from all vol­un­teers.

“We have con­tin­u­ally im­proved the soil through or­ganic prac­tices, us­ing or­ganic ma­te­ri­als.”

Mr Curmei rec­om­mended the PDCGC build strong re­la­tions with lo­cal coun­cil and en­vi­ron­men­tal health of­fi­cers to get the gar­den grow­ing.

“It is im­por­tant that that trust and rap­port is built be­tween both par­ties, and that they work to­wards de­vel­op­ing a test­ing regime and guide­lines that meet the needs of the community gar­den,” he said.

“But, ob­vi­ously the com­mit­tee has to be sat­is­fied that the land is ac­cept­able for their pur­pose.”

Coun­cil’s Dou­glas man­ager Liz Col­lyer said the coun­cil fully sup­ports the PDCG with its aim to re­gen­er­ate the ur­ban space, pro­vid­ing a gar­den yield­ing health and ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits to the wider community.

“The coun­cil has been ex­tremely co­op­er­a­tive in work­ing with the community on this project and we are ex­tremely keen to see the community gar­den come to fruition,” she said.

FROM LIT­TLE THINGS BIG THINGS GROW: the CERES En­vi­ron­men­tal Park in Mel­bourne

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.