Contamination not the end of garden
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