Woollahra, Australia Municipal Council Draft on Community Gardens Policy

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Woollahra, Australia

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Type: Policy Draft

Status: Presented on 10/28/07

Source File: Gardens Policy PDF

Draft Text:

Our policy

Woollahra Council recognises community gardening as a valuable recreational activity that contributes to health and well-being, positive social interaction, community development, environmental education and sustainable principles, protection and use of open space.

A "community garden' is defined as a parcel of public open space operated by the community (with Council assistance), where the site is used for:

  • the production of produce for the personal use of its members through allotments or shared plots, and
  • demonstration gardening or where other environmental activities are undertaken also encouraging the involvement of schools, youth groups and citizens in gardening activities.

The objectives of this policy include:

  • recognising the need and benefits of community gardens,
  • establishing community gardens throughout the Woollahra Municipality on public open space, where feasible and appropriate,
  • recognising the value of community gardens as a public amenity
  • ensuring that all community gardens are managed in an efficient manner and maintained to an acceptable standard,
  • acquiring, sharing and increasing knowledge and practice of organic gardening with various educational institutions and the local community, and
  • offering a suitable site for Council environmental workshops and

educational days.

How this policy relates to our Management Plan
This policy is prepared in accordance with the objectives of the Parks & Public Space Principal Activity. The objectives include the following:

  • To provide open space and recreational facilities, which meet the needs of the community
  • To promote appropriate use of open space and recreational facilities for the well-being of the community.

Council Support for Community Gardens
Woollahra Council supports community gardens by working with community partners, assisting to identify and contribute to site development activities. Subject to available resources we will:

  • promote and raise awareness of community gardening,
  • provide information to the public about the operation of community gardens,
  • assist interested groups in searching for suitable public land for the development of community gardens,
  • assist with site development, such as site planning and design, surveying and site preparation, and
  • provide in-kind support where feasible (ie water options, mulch, etc)

Site Selection Criteria
Woollahra Council supports the development of community gardens, particularly in high density areas in the Municipality. Woollahra Council will assist in locating new garden sites, where available land exists, where neighbours are supportive, and where a community group demonstrates interest and commitment. In identifying new sites for community gardens, the following guidelines should be considered:

  • Consistency with the relevant Plan of Management for the reserve
  • Interest and commitment of a gardening group
  • Informed and supportive neighbours
  • Availability and usability of site
  • Proximity to high density living areas
  • Soil quality and drainage
  • Sun exposure
  • Accessibility to public transport
  • Close proximity to supporting infrastructure such as water and car parking
  • An area of approximately 750m

Consideration will also be given to ensure existing park users are not displaced as a result of the installation or citing of a community garden. Where community gardens are proposed to be created close to adjoining residents, Council will consult with the affected residents and, where objections are raised, report on the matter to Council for its consideration.

User Agreement – Non-Profit Community Group and Community Garden Member
The non-profit organisation agrees to develop, manage and operate the community garden according to a user agreement with their members, which specifies the terms of use, management responsibilities, user fees and access procedures, which include the following:

  • Residents of the Woollahra Municipality will be given priority for membership, however, it will be open to all on a first served basis
  • The association may set rules with the assistance of the Office of Fair Trading. Rules must not be inconsistent with Council’s Community Garden Policy
  • A list of by-laws are developed by the association and must comply with Section 11 of the Associations Incorporation Act 1984 approved by Council (Staff). Members are required to sign a contract indicating their compliance
  • Membership and use of the site can be revoked for non-compliance with the organisations by-laws, the applicable user agreement or this policy
  • Gardeners need to commit to work within the communal garden and may need to undertake various courses before being allocated an individual allotment. Gardeners must be nominated by two current members
  • Allotment gardens must be maintained to a minimum standard of aesthetics and orderliness. Year-round produce is encouraged
  • Produce is to be organically grown and not to be sold for private profit. Excess produce can be donated.
  • The organisation is to have its own Public Liability Insurance (becoming a member of a Landcare group can reduce the cost of the PLI).
  • Allow monitoring and review as stipulated by the agreement.
  • No livestock (such as poultry) is to be kept in the garden area.

Management Framework
Community Gardens will be licensed to an incorporated community group with an approved Public Liability Cover of $10 million that indemnifies Council. This community group will be required to manage safe access in and around the site and, if necessary allocation of garden plots. Management of the site will also need to follow Council’s direction in the issue of Environmental Sustainable Development and encourage all members, through its functions and activities, to act more sustainable.

The incorporated community group will liaise with Council staff in regards to any new infrastructure or projects planned for the garden. Prior to erection / installation of any infrastructure, written approval from Council or, where required, Development Consent will be required. The group will be required to report quarterly to Council on the function of the garden and how they are meeting Council objectives.

Information regarding community gardens will be advertised through Council’s website and publications. It will also be advertised to the community at Council’s community centres and during Council promotions and events.

Licence/Lease for Use
A licence for use agreement must be signed between Woollahra Council and the organisation for the purpose of developing and maintaining a community garden. The licence agreement would also contain conditions for the use of the site.

At the initial set up of a new garden, a license will be granted for 12 months with an option for a 3 year agreement after this period. All community gardens will operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Upon Council receiving a request from the community for a community garden, an assessment will be undertaken in accordance with the above provisions.