Courtenay community garden will continue at least one more year
Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society's community garden got the nod this week from Courtenay council to continue for another year.
Dawn to Dawn started a community garden this spring on part of the property slated for the new RCMP detachment on Harmston Avenue. Some of the society's homeless clients and other community members grew a variety of produce in the garden which was used to help feed the homeless and other people in poverty.
In a letter to the City, Dawn to Dawn President Richard Clarke said the garden was a "wonderful success."
"Our clients have learned about gardening and about food security," he wrote, adding produce went to the homeless, other community members and the Sonshine Club at St. George's Church.
"As importantly, the garden has helped to improve understanding and communications between our clients and other residents of the community."
Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Doug Hillian noted they attended a Thanksgiving dinner at the garden and they spoke about the success of this year's pilot project. Hillian pointed out the garden area wasn't being used for anything before.
"It's a positive example of what we can do in the city with the pieces of land that are not being used," said Hillian. "There is a significant movement in parts of the world right now to grow food on such unused pieces of public land."
Dawn to Dawn's new lease agreement with the City will extend until Nov. 30 next year.
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Courtenay may hear whether its funding application for the proposed cycling and pedestrian bridge over Courtenay River is approved soon.
Kevin Lagan, City director of operational services, updated council on the project this week, noting the City is still waiting for word on its application for $1.9 million from the Gas Tax Innovations Fund, but hopes to find out later this month.
Council approved spending $70,000 for survey, design, geotechnical, environmental and archaeological work back in April. Now, much of that work is complete and a draft report was submitted to the City in September.
Associated Engineering Ltd., which was awarded the contract for preliminary design and a feasibility report, is expected to present its final report to Courtenay on Jan. 15.
City staff will then create a report to council outlining options, which is expected by February.
Lagan noted that if the City's funding application is not approved, the Courtenay River People Bridge Steering Committee — the local group that initiated the project — would be responsible for raising money to build the bridge.
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Garbage user fee rates for 2013 are not expected to rise.
In a report to council from Tillie Manthey, City director of financial services, the rates established in March this year "will provide the increase in revenue required to balance the 2013 budget requirements."
The user fee includes garbage, recyclables and yard waste pickup. The user fee per dwelling is proposed to remain at $160, and at $126 per unit in multi-family, apartment and strata buildings.
Because garbage user fee rates for 2012 were adopted by council in March, this year saw a blended rate from 2011 and 2012 rates, meaning a slightly lower fee overall for 2012 than it will be for 2013.
The bylaw passed first, second and third reading this week. It still needs to be finally passed and adopted.