Pitt Meadows residents had their hackles up this week when some confusion over an official community plan map lead some to believe that their community garden was going to be replaced with a residential development.
After some social media posts made their rounds on local forums, council and staff tried to set the record straight at Tuesday’s council meeting, Jan 21.
“It was confusing in terms of some of the mapping,” said Coun. Nicole McDonald who was chairing the meeting.
“So I just wanted to reassure people, that there have been no talks or dialogue in regards to changing anything with the community garden,” McDonald said.
Mayor Bill Dingwall reiterated council’s sentiment on the local garden, which is located on Bonson Road across the street from Pitt Meadows Athletic Park.
“There are actually 200 plots down there and it’s not going anywhere,” he said Wednesday. “We think it’s a great community asset.”
The city’s chief administrative officer, Mark Roberts, drew attention to page 29 of the OCP Residential Policy Review report and pointed out the community garden is included on the map and noted in the legend beneath.
“The community gardens are in fact part of that shaded colour along with mixed income housing,” he said, “It’s meant to be both.
“From staff’s perspective, the community garden is meant to be integrated within any use of that property, whether it’s located exactly there, or some other area.”
Roberts retiterated there is no intent at this stage to change the garden.
When it came time for the public to have its voice at the meeting, last year’s citizen of the year, Peter Jongbloed, expressed his opposition to any development that infringes on agriculture or gardening.
“If you develop [the portion of land adjacent to the community garden] you’re precluding any extension of the community garden and it’s good viable land for agriculture sometime in the future,” he said.
“With the effects of climate change and uncertainty of getting our food from other areas, you have to take this into account and you can say, ‘Oh it’s just a little bit and we’ve got lots left,’ but we know where that all leads.”