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Community gardens coming to Feversham and Kimberley in 2022

$20,000 has been earmarked for the gardens, town staff and community members have begun preliminary planning
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The Community Garden site in Thornbury at the Beaver Valley Arena.

The Grey Highlands will be building two community gardens in the municipality this year, in Kimberley and Feversham, after $20,000 was approved for the initiative by council.

Although still in the early stages, the municipality’s parks and recreation department plans to act quickly in meeting with community representatives, finalizing garden sites, and developing goals for each garden.

“As we transition into working more directly with the two project sites … in the not too distant future, [we] will want to meet with community representatives on site to discuss the best possible locations, access to water and all of the other things that need to be considered from an operational perspective,” said Krista House, manager of parks and recreation at the Jan. 17 community development advisory committee (CDAC) meeting.

“We want to look at, broadly, the purpose and the mission of the gardens in each of the communities, and the goals for the gardens,” House said. “We'll do that in consultation with the two sites directly.”

CDAC member Kimberly Briggs said that a priority of the Feversham garden will be to foster community involvement, particularly from the youth.

“We're talking about how to reach our young people and then broadening it out and having maybe sort of a mentorship program, so people who know how to garden working with young people,” she said.

“We're fortunate to have some expert gardeners, so our energies, our discussions and our vision moving forward is the community engagement.”

CDAC chair Ron Auckland said that the Kimberley Garden will likely be built at Kimberley Hall, and that a committee has been assembled to oversee the project.

“We have established a committee that's starting to work now to do the planning,” he said. “We're looking at, what elements do we see included in the garden? Any partnerships we see in the project? … What groups or agencies could help inform the planning and design?”

“We're going to be reaching out to some people who have already had this experience … we're having our first serious planning meeting next week.”

House said that although $20,000 is earmarked for the projects, a report will need to be given to council before proceeding with the plans, and that the town is going to move quickly on the project to ensure no delays take place.

“We'd like to have clear dates and ideas of when things are going to happen,” she said. “Also, with all the talk of supply chain issues and things that are happening, we'd like to get some of our materials and supplies ordered sooner rather than later because we don't want to be stuck in the middle of the summer and be told that we can't get some of the things that we need.”

Updates on progress will be included in future council and committee agendas, House said.