Community garden will bloom, but in new location

Seven Northfield families will get a chance to plant fruits and vegetables in a community garden this summer, but the test program won't be run in Way Park.

The Park and Recreation Advisory Board agreed Tuesday to move the gardening pilot program after several members of the Friends of Way Park voiced objections. Board member Dan Hudson, who was working on the gardens, won approval to use a piece of undeveloped city land at the corner of Forest Avenue and Hwy 19.

"I think it's a great solution," City Councilor Galen Malecha said after the decision. "There was major opposition to that being in Way Park."

Residents who spoke Tuesday evening focused on the board's decision to test the gardening program without talking to their organization, as well as their philosophical objection to allowing individual use of public land.

Park Board members said they thought that adding gardens to the park for a few months was in keeping with the uses outlined by the organization when the park was under discussion. They said the test wouldn't have interfered with long-range planning for the park, which doubled in size when the city hospital was relocated to a new site and the old building razed.

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Gardens - Not In My Back Yard

This "collision of vision(TM)" between gardening enthusiasts and homeowners is a perfect example of the Not In My BackYard (NIMBY) reaction to what would otherwise be a pretty nifty idea -- gardens for families who may not otherwise have space for such a luxury. In Dundas, the Planning Commission (which I chair) is working to embed many such amenities within the design of new developments, focusing on trails (multi-use) but also including ideas like shared garden spaces with composting. My argument to developers is simple ... your customers are choosing Dundas over Apple Valley for a reason, after all, commuting time and cost are becoming more important as criteria and as nice as this area is, it is not as short a commute to the big cities as from places like Elko or Apple Valley. So, given that we (Dundas) want to keep our rural roots, and assuming people are choosing this area for other reasons (bucolic rural atmosphere), let's build these amenities into the neighborhoods before people start moving in. That way we can avoid natural resistence later. It is reasonably well documented that these niceties add value to the communities both in terms of their self-image and in real cash value of the housing. By careful planning and design, we are working to ensure that future developments reflect these ideas.