Bowl­ing green turned into gar­den

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY FITZGER­ALD

A plot of prime cen­tral Auck­land real es­tate is flour­ish­ing as a com­mu­nity gar­den.

The 650sqm sec­tion, once used as a bowl­ing green at the Pt Che­va­lier Bowl­ing Club, now grows pump­kins, rhubarb, mar­rows and more.

The Pt Che­va­lier Bowl­ing Club con­tin­ues to op­er­ate how­ever, one of club’s bowl­ing greens was de­com­mis­sioned 20 years ago be­cause of poor drainage.

Two years ago the un­used bowl­ing green was con­verted from an over­grown sec­tion, into a com­mu­nity gar­den man­aged by Pt Che­va­lier Com­mu­nity Gar­den Group vol­un­teers Ellen Schindler and Ally Burt.

The land, which in­cludes Pt Che­va­lier Bowl­ing Club, a cro­quet club and ten­nis club, was placed on per­pet­ual trust in 1948 for use by the sports or­gan­i­sa­tions.

That meant the land could not be sold and used for hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in a neigh­bour­hood fac­ing in­creas­ing in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion.

Pt Che­va­lier is ear­marked for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion over the next 30 years un­der the Uni­tary Plan, the over­all plan­ning doc­u­ment for the Auck­land re­gion re­leased in 2016.

Pt Che­va­lier Bowl­ing Club mem­ber San­dra Erik­sen said that in Auck­land’s era of land rede­vel­op­ment for hous­ing, it was ‘‘very pos­i­tive’’ the bowl­ing green land was pro­tected from be­ing sold.

‘‘It is great we have green spa­ces like this - that this free space will re­main in our com­mu­nity - de­spite all the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion hap­pen­ing around us.

‘‘In­stead of a multi-level apart­ment build­ing be­ing put here, we have this great place for lo­cals, for fam­i­lies to visit, to learn about gar­den­ing and to con­trib­ute to be­ing an ac­tive part of the com­mu­nity,’’ Erik­sen said.

Schindler said the bowl­ing green had a his­tory of be­ing boggy and wa­ter logged be­cause of clay un­der the green.

‘‘This land could not be sold be­cause of the trust, and it was not good for bowl­ing, so we had the op­por­tu­nity to start this com­mu­nity gar­den,’’ Schindler said.

Burt said the gar­den pro­duced a va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles and herbs and some fruit, in­clud­ing grapes.

‘‘Our big­gest chal­lenge here is get­ting more vol­un­teers in the gar­den on our work­ing bee days,’’ Burt said.

The bounty the gar­den gen­er­ated was di­vided be­tween vol­un­teers and the bowl­ing club com­mu­nity.

MARY FITZGER­ALD/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Gar­den­ers Ellen Schindler and Ally Burt say ev­ery­one is wel­come to visit and vol­un­teer.

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