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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2602 ..

The community’s desired future view saw the city’s open spaces as having more community gardens and play spaces. These gardens and play spaces would increase the opportunity for people to connect and feel a sense of belonging. It was noted at these workshops that this will be especially important in areas of higher density housing.

Across the ACT there are many community gardens successfully operating. These gardens are used by various groups, ranging from the general community to public housing tenants and schools. There is also ongoing interest in establishing new community gardens. The Canberra Organic Growers Society provide management for 12 gardens in the ACT and one in Queanbeyan. Seven are on unleased territory land, such as at Cook and Holder. The others are located on leased land under agreements such as at the O’Connor Uniting Church, Dickson college and Kaleen high school. There are several other community gardens operating in the ACT, such as the Kingston organic community garden and the ANU sustainable learning community.

The popularity of kitchen gardens and orchards at schools in Canberra has been steadily growing in recent years. Many of the new environment centres at ACT public schools have kitchen gardens. These types of community gardens are usually restricted to the school community, to teach sustainability and environmental principles to students.

An interagency working group comprising officers from the former ACTPLA, TAMS and LAPS was set up in February 2011. The Assembly’s motion of 9 March was referred to the interagency group and membership was expanded to include representatives of ACT Health, Treasury, Education and Training, Disability, Housing and Community Services and the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water. The expanded working group met on four occasions. It also met with the president and three committee members of the Canberra Organic Growers Society. The working group has undertaken research into government policies and initiatives for community gardens in comparative jurisdictions in Australia and overseas.

Turning now to the specific items mentioned in the Assembly resolution, the first is the establishment of the working group and the setting aside of space for community gardens in all new residential development and identifying appropriate sites to develop community gardens in established suburbs. Setting aside space for community gardens in all new residential developments can be achieved through the existing concept plan and important planning requirement process that specifies matters to be included in estate development plans.

Current examples that demonstrate a commitment to the provision of community gardens in the planning for new areas can be found at Lawson South, Coombs, Wright, Forde and East Lake. Identifying sites for community gardens also forms part of the Molonglo Valley stage 2 work. The co-location of community gardens with government schools may also provide gardening opportunities for both the school and the local community.

There are also situations where developers wants to develop, for marketing reasons, a community garden ahead of any community organisation being identified to assume

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