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News Archive 2010

Oct 2010 - Eleebana Public School Working Bee

Report by Eleebana PS Environmental Teacher

Eleebana Public School October 2010Yesterday (17th Oct 2010) our school vegetable garden was visited by a makeover team from the Warners Bay Community Garden group. The team was made up of 20 plus volunteers, both adults and children, and included Meghan Robinson (5H), Tom Dennis (5M), Sonia Robinson and Michelle Stocker (both parents of Eleebana students).

Work undertaken included construction of 2 new gardens, extending existing gardens, emptying compost bins, adding a sprinkler system and rejuvenating worm farms.

Many thanks to the Warners Bay Community Garden group for their kind donation of time and materials.

The vegetable garden is currently being cared for by students in Year 4 as part of the school’s Environment Scope and Sequence. I’m sure these students will appreciate the extra space to plant more vegetables. Many thanks also to
Michelle Stocker for her work with these students and for organising the working bee yesterday.
Thank you Environmental Teacher, Eleebana Public School.

Oct 2010 - Community Garden Approved

Today marks a wonderful milestone in our quest toward establishing a Community Garden in our town.

Last night, 11th October 2010, Lake Macquarie City Councillors voted unanimously
to allow the garden to proceed in Bunya Park.

We now have a site for the garden. This is a fantastic achievement, and testament to the resilience and endurance of our community. It is almost 2 years since the Warners Bay Community Garden group came together. It has been a very long journey, but certainly a rewarding one along the way. Having said that, a quote springs to mind:

"A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles"
Tim Cahill, Author

We are all going to be busy building our garden very soon. Funding for the project is available to us from the Community Services grant secured earlier this year. We have been invited by Council to lodge a Development Application (DA) for the proposed garden, for the Bunya Park site. The DA process will involve sitting down with both Council and opponents of the garden to discuss the project in a cordial and constructive manner. Once the DA is approved by Council, we will be able to build our garden.

We will endeavour to keep you informed of our progress and you are very welcome to be involved in the DA process.

We will be hosting an end of year get together on the first weekend in the November, and we look forward to catching up with you then! More details will be announced closer to the event.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement since December 2008.

Happy gardening and community building,
All of us in the WBCG Committee

Oct 2010 - Council endorsement of Bunya Park site

The realistion of the dream for a community garden in our community is one big step closer now! Last night councillors voted 6-4 that the WBCG group submit a DA (development application) for a community garden at Bunya Park. The committee is ecstatic about finally being able to take positive steps forward after so many months of council assessment.

The supporters of the motion were: Cr Barry Johnston (IND), Cr Hannah Gissane (GRN), Cr Phillipa Parsons (GRN), Cr Wendy Harrison (IND), Cr Anthony Birt (LIB) and Cr Daniel Wallace (ALP). Speaking against an immediate decision for the Bunya Park location and for further assessment and site inspections were: Cr Paul Scarfe (IND), Cr Kay Fraser (ALP) and Cr Garry Edwards (LIB) and Mayor Greg Piper (IND).

However, Mayor Piper agreed that it is unreasonable to expect a community group from Warners Bay to travel along one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Lake Macquarie to build a garden in Croudace Bay. Cr Fraser and Cr Edwards had concerns about the costs and appeared to prefer the Lakelands site. Cr Scarf was skeptical of the need to provide non-car based access to the garden, despite being told that we have many members in our group who can’t drive. Mayor Piper reiterated that his preferred site was Warner Park (near the performing arts centre) however he expressed support for the Bunya Park location and will vote in favour of Bunya Park on Monday.

Apologies were: Cr Arnold Tammekand (IND), Cr Laurie Coghlan (IND) and Cr Jodie Harrison (ALP).

At the meeting, Ben and Steve spoke for about 10 mins on the group’s behalf. They reiterated the need for a garden in our local community and took a moment to publicly acknowledge the hard work and strong values held by people in the group. They also reiterated our group’s commitments to:

  • protect and enhance the local natural ecosystem through education, good design and management practices and cooperation with Landcare and others in the local community
  • bring people in our community together in cooperation and friendship-building by creating a new focal point for local people to meet
  • create an open, inclusive and beautiful community garden that maintains the integrity of publicly-owned land and that compliments the look, feel and history of the site
  • remain open, transparent and welcoming in all that we do
  • work with council at all stages in the establishment and management of the garden

The vote on the location of the community garden will take place next Monday 11th October at 7:00pm at the Ordinary Council Meeting. The public is welcome to attend this event. The committee would like to encourage raucous "yahoo-ing" but this is technically frowned upon during council meetings so we may have to contain ourselves until outside .

If we have a successful outcome at that meeting our group will be submitting a DA for a community garden at Bunya Park.

A celebration activity is being planned so we can all take a moment to celebrate our group’s success... keep an eye out for that - all welcome.

Happy gardening and community building,
All of us in the WBCG Committee

Oct 2010 - LMCC Assessment Complete

LMCC staff have completed their site assessment. The report has basically recommended that the decision be left to the councillors and they will (hopefully) be making that decision Tuesday 5th October at 4:30pm.

Councillors have a choice between three recommended sites:

The site assessment report was done by an objective staff member who is a senior Development Assessment and Compliance (DAC) officer at LMCC. In that report, Bunya Park came out on top, but the councillors can of course vote for any site they choose (or none at all!). After the decision, we will need to submit a development application (DA) and enter a formal agreement with LMCC but these are exciting times.

Some highlights of the report, in relation to environmental and aesthetic concerns at Bunya Park:

"An EEC vegetation zone is within the park, located towards South Creek, however through the use of buffer zones, drainage infrastructure, lined containers for planting beds, and sustainable garden practices, issues to do with water or air-borne nutrient movement can be adequately managed and controlled."

"The site of the garden is a vacant mowed grassed area, in this regard, any development within the park will see a visual change to existing conditions, however the character of the place is considered to have the ability to absorb the likely visual changes proposed. The site will retain its backdrop of riparian and bushland vegetation towards the creek and through further native plantings towards the boundaries of the garden site, the visual impacts of the development can be softened. Structures will be required, however through the use of sympathetic scaled structures, colour and park-like design, the visual impacts of these structures are unlikely to be adverse."

Size: 822.58 Kb

Sep 2010 - Vegeblitz

Report by Maree McCarthy about the Vegeblitz at Gerda and Marselle’s 1.5 acre permaculture garden, which according to Gerda is more multicultured than permacultured.

Who’d have thought such a wonderful food forest could be nestled amongst the residential streets of Cardiff. Everyone had a wonderful time and with luck we may get another invite back to visit Gerda and Marselle again.

Click on the photo to read the full PDF report by Maree.

Sep 2010 - Living Smart Festival

When: Sunday 12 September 2010,
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Where: Speers Point Park,
Speers Point

Cost: Free!

Warners Bay Community Garden will be hosting a stall at the Living Smart Festival in Speers Point Park, Sunday 12th September. As usual, we will have plenty of seedlings for sale as well as a compost and worm farm exhibit and our concept designs on display.

The Living Smart Festival is an inspirational and educational celebration of sustainable living in Lake Macquarie. The first of it’s kind in Lake Macquarie, there will be music, art, fashion, food, market stalls, free workshops, kids entertainment and plenty of interesting displays to keep you amused.

For more information, visit the Lake Macquarie City Council webite at http://www.lakemac.com.au/page.aspx?pid=1050&vid=14

Aug 2010: News Article and Poll Results

On the 16th August 2010, the Warners Bay Community Garden group submitted a formal complaint to Mr Brian Bell (the General Manager of Lake Macquarie City Council) expressing the dissatisfaction with the councils lack of progress in allocating a site for the garden. Our recent grant is under serious threat of being revoked because this inaction and the formal complaint was deemed necessary by the committee.

The following day, Damon Cronshaw of the Newcastle Herald ran an article on the complaint. As part of this media item, the Herald ran a public poll asking "Do you support a community garden at Bunya Park, Eleebana?". The result of this independent poll was a resounding "Yes, this is the best spot for it".

Many people from the community have expressed their views in the readers comments section on the Herald’s website. WBCG would like to thank those people who took the time to voice their opinions. Many of these comments (both for and against) can be used is a constructive manner to improve the garden concept for the benefit of everyone.

July 2010: WBCG granted $52,800!

The Warners Bay Community Garden group has just been granted $52,800 from the NSW government’s Community Builders Program - to build a community garden in Warners Bay!

The group applied in December last year for the grant funding and have just been advised our application was a success. Despite us not yet having a site, the Department of Human Services, Community Services has approved the grant in support of the project!

We are absolutely delighted and sincerely thank the Department for their support.

The money will cover administration, materials, a part-time caretaker and upkeep costs of the future garden. To review the concept plans for the garden, click here.

The WBCG committee will meet with representatives from the department in August to discuss the finer details and the transfer of money.

A group of energetic volunteers like us can make $100 go a long way; just imagine what we can do with $52,800!!

We all remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the whole community benefits greatly from this generous grant.

We owe the grant success to the people in our community who have voiced their approval of the project. So from everyone else in the group, thank you so much for your ongoing support!

From the outset in December 2008, the Warners Bay Community Garden group has had fantastic support from the wider community, a great bunch of people with the right attitude and a professional and welcoming outlook. Now we have the financial means to make the garden happen.

Together with you we will build a community garden in Warners Bay for the whole community to enjoy, if given the opportunity. We have all the ingredients of a community garden, except a site!

All eyes are now on Lake Macquarie City Council to deliver on its promises.

This is a great moment for our group.

Please take a moment to celebrate this success and have a little daydream about the community garden we can build together.


Some words of encouragement
from our supporters

Well done people .... fantastic job....congratulations

In solidarity, Jack Thieme

"Hey congratulations gardeners, I am so happy for you all! I support WBCG in all your future endeavours and look forward to the asessment process coming to a successful conclusion in the near future."

Cr Phillipa Parsons

CONGRATULATIONS, persistence pays off. You ran a very effective and professional campaign. The grant is impressive and will fund some ambitious projects

Ron Baker
Grants Coordinator, Kyabra St C/G

Hi all, Great news....congratulations. Everything comes to those who wait. What a magnificent Garden you will create with that sort of money.. look forward to visiting during construction... How can the Council not get behind you now...

Alan W
Mayfield Diggers

FANTASTIC NEWS - CONGRATULATIONS! I’m sure the garden will be of great benefit to the entire community - including those who now oppose the site at Bunya Park....they will eventually come round and get behind you as the garden takes shape and they begin to reap the benefits

Chris Everingham
Sandhills CG

Great News! Congratulations

Jenny Cameron
University Of Newcastle

June 2010: Jacaranda Grove Preschool Garden

WBCG are getting on with helping our local community and promoting local food production and education!

An enthusiastic team of around 20 members of WBCG got their hands dirty on the weekend of June 25-27th building two new garden beds for Jacaranda Pre School at their request.

WBCG volunteers also helped with some garden planning, repaired some bare patches in the lawn, transplanted some plants and donated two big trays of home-grown organic veggie seedlings!

The kids at the pre school said thank you by cooking a yummy fruit cake especially for the WBCG volunteers, which was delicious at morning tea. The pre school were rapt with the professionalism and quality of our work, and extend their sincere thanks to everyone who made the working bee possible.

The WBCG volunteers all got a real buzz out of our first garden project as a group, and thoroughly enjoyed working with staff and families from the pre school. It was fantastic to look around and see such great cooperation and so much enthusiasm and good spirit!! We left the fun bit for the kids - planting the veggies!

The pre school has a chook run, water tank and existing veggie plots that the kids enjoy. The staff are delighted to observe the kids tending their veggies and sampling their harvests. WBCG look forward to continuing to donate seedlings for their garden beds.
Click here for their website!

Thank you to Blue Gold Enterprises for developing the project plan, J&J Jarvie for provision of power tools, Bunnings for donation of materials, and Teralba Worm Farm for sale of soil. Thank you to the WBCG volunteers and the pre school parents and staff for their wheelbarrows, tools, trailers, sleepers, energy, encouragement and ideas leading up to and on the day!

Visit our Photo Gallery to see more pictures taken on the day. 

May 2010: Concept Design Released

Click here to take a look at the conceptsThe draft 5+ year plan of the proposed Community Garden is now available. The master (full colour) design is our long-term vision, and is entirely subject to the approval of Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC) and the capacity and resources of the WBCG group. Naturally, the layout and content of the garden will evolve over time.

Stage 1 is aimed to take place within the first 12 months of the garden inception. The intention is to establish the look, feel, functionality and sustainability of the garden. The gardening area includes provision for children, disabled-access and sensory/herb garden and other specific uses.

Considerations to how the garden appears to the immediate residents were factored in right from the start and much throught went into how the garden could be asthetically balanced to provide an attractive view from many angles. The establishment of an area for native bushfoods including endemic and indigenous plants also provides an attractive screening of the more day-to-day functional areas of the garden. We will also be building elements of the garden designed to protect the downstream native bushland.

May 2010: Council Results

After the council site inspection conducted in Bunya Park on Friday 7th May, a motion was put forward to defer the decision on whether the park should be the location for the WBCG.

The Lake Macquarie City Council met on Monday night (10th May) at the Council Chambers at Speers Point. After much deliberation and expression of views, the tally of councillor votes was 6-6. In this situation the mayor may then cast an additional deciding vote. Subsequently the vote was tallied at 7-6 in favour of deferring the decision pending the development of a site specific management plan, further community consultation being undertaken by LMCC and (can you believe?) further assessment of other sites.

Although this is an unfortunate delay to the establishment of the community garden, the group remains confident that common sense will prevail. On Tuesday we received word that Councillor Anthony Birt lodged a notice to rescind the motion at the next full council meeting (Mon 24th May). It was signed by Councillor Birt, Councillor Parsons and Councillor Gissane. If the rescission motion is successful, the debate will be reopened and the council will have an opportunity to re-examine the issues and possiby make a decision in favour to proceed at Bunya Park.

We wish to extend a warm thank you for all those members and friends who went out of their way to attend the recent council meetings in support of the community garden proposal. Also, we wish to commend those councilors who have publicly demonstrated their confidence in the WBCG’s ability and vision by voting in favour of the initial CG proposal.

Mar 2010: Garden Design

During the last few months, our design team has been busy compiling ideas from the group and has come up with an amazing first-draft for how the garden might look. The design was presented at a family picnic in Bunya Park and was well received by all attending.

Although it is still a first-draft and needs approval by council, the team has come up with a very elegant proposal that has the potential to become a very special place for everyone in the community to enjoy. Well done to the design team and everyone who has contributed so far.

If you would like to take a look at the proposed design, our general meetings are held on the 1st Sunday of each month. Anyone is welcome to attend. Check the forum for further details about upcoming events.

Feb 2010: Council Decision Postponed

Lake Macquarie City Council were previously due to make a formal determination on the proposal for a community garden in Bunya Park at the council meetings on 1st and 8th March, 2010. Please be advised that this decision has now been postponed, probably until at least late March. Stay tuned for more information, and get updates by becoming a member or friend of the garden here.

Feb 2010: Keeping Busy

Image courtesy of The StarMarkets: Our regular Warners Bay Lions Club Markets stall generated a lot of excitement and many people went away with a smile and a seedling or 10. Left over seedlings were donated to local schools - Eleebana Public School, Mt Hutton Public School, Jacaranda Grove Pre-School (Queen St Warners Bay), Kindy Patch Child Care (Cherry Rd Eleebana), Warners Bay Early Learning and Care Centre.

Education: The Oosh programme at Warners Bay Public School is incorporating into their craft activities the making of newspaper pots, filling them with potting mix and planting seeds. The seedlings will be donated to WBCG for our stalls. This is an excellent example of education facilities being "hands-on" in teaching kids where food comes from (i.e. not a supermarket).

Flyers: To inform the wider community about the project (and dispel some misconceptions), the group distributed 5000 leaflets to homes in many local suburbs. Click here to get a copy.

Media: Several recent media spots about the Community Garden project has resulted in a massive amount of interest and membership signups. The list of members and supporters of the project has swelled to over 260!

Website: As interest in our project grows, so has the traffic on the website and forum. February looks set to be the best month yet with people eager to learn more about it.

Location: Lake Macquarie City Council has postponed the vote over whether the community garden should be established in Bunya Park. As yet, we have not received a confirmed date for that but we will endeavor to keep everyone informed.

Design: Our design team has been formed to collate the ideas and suggestions from the whole group. If you would like to make a suggestion for the garden, register at the forum and request member access.

Composting: Our compost pile continues to grow. With two Cherry Road residents donating a steady supply of horse manure, Eat@Pippis providing their kitchen scraps and a large bag of shredded paper donated by Officeworks, it has taken no time to build up an huge pile of rich compost. Additionally, Dennis Cheetham Lawn Mowing and Handyman Service has joined with Lizard’s Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care in donating their lawn clippings. Our pile of compost is becoming mountainous!

Jan 2010: Site Proposed by LMCC

Bunya Park (07-01-2010)Lake Macquarie City Council has identified the preferred site for the community garden as the open, grassed area in Bunya Park (corner of Cherry Rd and Macquarie Dr).

The site is in a very prominent location, close to the foreshore cycleway/walkway and has a number of necessary facilities including an accessible toilet, sunny aspect and enough space for everyone who already use the park. The group considers this location to be an ideal location and would very much like to hear your feedback about the proposal.

The proposed Community Garden will not encroach into the existing recreational areas where people congregate for weekend barbeques, parties and other family outings.

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