Little support for public garden at Commonwealth Place

Saanich may have its work cut out for itself after open houses found mixed public reaction to two proposed community allotment gardens

Saanich may have its work cut out for itself after open houses found mixed public reaction to two proposed community allotment gardens in the municipality.

The first, planned for Gorge Park, received 77.3 per cent support, according to survey results.

While 116 of the 151 respondents said they supported a garden in Gorge Park, 134 respondents backed Saanich’s plan to put more allotment gardens in the municipality.

The second proposed garden, currently slated for a parcel of grass behind Saanich Commonwealth Place, received far less support. Out of 340 survey respondents, 201 – or 59 per cent – opposed the location.

Earlier this year, residents living near the Commonwealth plot of land expressed concern about losing part of a large field that is regularly used by sports and fitness groups to a small number of gardeners.

Doug Henderson, Saanich’s director of parks and recreation, said the land, since it was donated to Saanich in 2002, was always identified as being transformed into something other than a grass field.

“Certainly, we can be optimistic about the Gorge Park proposal,” said Mayor Frank Leonard, acknowledging the garden proposals will have to come through advisory committee and committee of the whole meetings.

“Maybe there’s a compromise at Royal Oak, I don’t know. But it’s either no or compromise – I don’t think (a community garden is) going to fly there the way it is now.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com