Mullumbimby Community Garden co-ordinator Jeannette Martin (right) with daughter Tashi Maizey outside the shed on opening day.
Mullumbimby Community Garden co-ordinator Jeannette Martin (right) with daughter Tashi Maizey outside the shed on opening day. Byron Shire News

Garden awaiting new lease on life

MULLUMBIMBY'S Community Garden is laying fallow a month after its opening celebration after neighbours lodged complaints.

“The day of the opening was wonderful, but my bubble was burst pretty quickly after that,” the garden's co-ordinator, Jeannette Martin, said.

Ms Martin, who was instrumental in the two-year battle to open the region's first council-supported community garden, said she was 'pretty disheartened' to be told by Byron Shire Council the garden had to be temporality shut because the lease had not been put on public display for 28 days.

Ms Martin received a call from the council two days after the opening, saying it had received four complaints about the garden from neighbours of the 2-hectare site.

“They told me we couldn't use the garden until the complaints were dealt with, and the lease had been placed on display for 28 days,” Ms Martin said.

“It was pretty funny to get the call, because Byron Mayor Jan Barham was at the opening and no one seemed to think there would be a problem.

“I felt terrible, because on the Monday I had to tell two women who had come to the garden with their kids that they had to leave.”

According to Ms Martin, the neighbours' complaints included concerns about inadequate toilet facilities and fears that music played at the garden would be excessive.

She said the community garden was designed to offer plots for lease, one per family or organisation, where members could grow vegetables and herbs in their own allotments. Plots are also available for fresh produce to be grown to supply charities with emergency food relief.

“I suppose getting the complaints has made us think about different issues and all complaints will be addressed,” she said.

However, Ms Martin believes some of complaints against the garden are based on an 'ignorance of the facts'.

“I think some people are worried the garden is going to be filled with hippies and homeless people,” she said.

The 28-day display period for the lease expires today. However, Ms Martin said she did not know when the garden would be fully operational.



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