Community Garden Project
The Waitohi Picton Community Garden Project is very much a community project. As such, we have been encouraging community input and support throughout the process.
During the initial process, the immediate neighbours in the vicinity of the proposed garden site were consulted by our team knocking on doors and leaving information in letterboxes.
Once the Marlborough District Council (MDC) announced the go ahead for the site, we announced the project and soon after held a Community Consultation Meeting in early May 2022.
During this meeting we provided more information regarding the project and the site, the history and what we were hoping. We then opened the floor for constructive and open consultation from the community.
Afterward, we also distributed a community survey. This survey is still active as we wish to collect as much information as possible and allow for as many members of our community to become involved and be a voice for themselves and their community.
Below are some of the results obtained from our community throughout this process.
Support for the Waitohi Community Garden Project
We have had overwhelming and open support from our local schools (Waikawa Bay School and Queen Charlotte College), the Waikawa Marae (who we will be working closely with to create mutual benefit and sharing of resources), Te Atiawa, Food Bank and Marlborough District Council (MDC).
The Food Bank has praised the potential project, siting that they have had an increase of 35% in families requesting assistance due to rising costs of living.
The initial post from MDC announcing the approval of the site had 114 likes and 14 shares, with the comments overwhelmingly positive.
Of many posts on social media reaching thousands within our local communities, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Currently 140 people like our Waitohi Picton Community Garden Facebook Page with 182 people following the page.
Thus far we have collected over 75 responses to our Community Garden Survey from our community. Of those that responded, 95% are excited about the project.
Concerns and Constructive Feedback
After the initial announcement and the community meeting, we did receive some feedback from concerned members of our community. We have had several in depth, in-person discussions and written communication with community members that have raised legitimate concerns and that we are taking on board during the planning process.
Some of the concerns include:
increased traffic to the quiet neighbourhood
potential theft and vandalism
location - too far away from central Picton
ensuring continual buy-in after the inital excitement wears off
not enough sunshine hours in the winter
organic vs non-organic preferences
We are actively paying heed to all such feedback throughout this process, and some answers to how we are taking these on board are outlined in below.
Why this location?
We have received many queries regarding the proposed location for the Garden. Is there not a location closer to central Picton? Isn't this too far away for more of the community to access? Isn't there a sunnier spot in the winter? What about xxx as a location?
As stated in our FAQs, our team scoped out every possible location throughtout the immediate Picton area as a possible site for a Community Garden.
All other areas examined were too small, inaccessible, flood prone, were being used for other recreational purposes, unsafe or were not permitted for our use. Please know that we did exhaust every possible location!
The Ranaui/Huia St Reserve area was actually proposed to us by MDC as this area has always been ear-marked for community development. Aside from Bronte the horse, there is no other use currently for the site (e.g. the reserve area behind the Skate Park is currently a popular off-lead dog walking park and is not big enough to house both a garden and to continue to benefit our local dog walkers).
We understand that there may not be much sunlight here in the winter, due to the proximity of the domain, however, many of us who live locally have the same issue and still maintain our own gardens and we will take this into consideration with the design and use of the area in these colder months.
In regards to drainage, we are currently seeking exciting and innovative ways in which to combat this issue AND retain water in the area for use without draining away valuable nutrients. Stay tuned!
Below are a few key responses we have obtained from our recent Community Garden Survey. Want to have your say? We'd love to hear from you! We will continue to gather feedback to pass on to our Focus Group, Project Manager and Focus Group so that we can take it into consideration through the planning process!
CLICK HERE to have your say!
Q: Are you excited about a community garden in Picton?
Most responses received were from those in the community that were keen to have garden. Not all are happy with the idea, and some of those individuals have been having active and constructive discussions with us regarding their concerns and reasons for
Q: If yes, what would motivate you to become involved in the Garden? Note: respondents were able to make more than one choice.
Other responses to this question included:
Engaging tamariki at Waikawa Bay School with growing food
Getting the kids involved