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Sooke explores expansion of community gardens

Council will include idea in strategic plan talks
Maja Tait

Sooke district council is considering including community gardens as part of the district’s strategic plan to improve community connections and encourage sustainable living.

The Sunriver Community Gardens is the sole community garden available for public use. But advocates for community gardening are urging council to increase the number.

During a recent council meeting, Levi Megenbir proposed establishing a new community garden in the heart of Sooke.

“As Sooke continues to develop and densify, retaining space near the core to provide people and communities access to learning about and growing food will continue to grow in importance,” Megenbir said.

Megenbir and his group suggests a site for a new garden at Pineridge Park, near Journey Middle School.

Mayor Maja Tait said before jumping into creating a new community garden, council should discuss the expansion of community gardens into the district’s strategic plan talks later this year.

“We have a good foundational piece due to the success of Sunriver for community gardens that could be added elsewhere in the community. Let’s just logistically determine what makes the most sense,” she said.

Councillor Tony St-Pierre said the district needs to identify properties and begin planning for community gardens now.

Advocates, such as Sinclair and Frederique Philip, former Sooke Harbour House owners, said not only can community gardens feed the hungry but transform neighbourhoods into vibrant, inclusive spaces where residents can collaborate, share knowledge, and build lasting relationships.

“Community gardens will produce more than increased access to nutritional healthy food to many different segments of our community,” Sinclair said. “Adults and children alike will learn how to grow seasonal food and know where their food comes from.”

If community gardens are included in the council’s strategic plan, it may involve setting up more gardens across Sooke and offering the required resources and training to ensure residents can access them. The district will likely collaborate with community organizations and residents to locate appropriate areas and create sustainable models for long-term viability.

Once a new chief administrative officer is hired, council is anticipated to begin talks on its strategic plan.

RELATED: Sunriver Community Gardens stays busy through the winter

Kevin Laird

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