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Footpath garden in Bondi, Australia must go, says Waverley Council


Nicolette Boaz with her footpath garden. Photo by John Allpeyard.

“I’m happy to take it out, but you have to give me a reason, otherwise I’m not removing it and I’ll fight for it.”

By Shae Mcdonald
Wentworth-Courier
3 Nov, 2012

A community garden in Bondi will be no more after Waverley Council ordered the owner to remove it.

Nicolette Boaz planted the garden on her adjoining neighbour’s side nature strip on Simpson St five years ago, after she said it wasn’t being used and resembled a “sandy wasteland”.

After replenishing the soil, she planted herbs, fruit and vegetables for herself and her neighbours.

Ms Boaz said it had generated a lot of good feeling within the community. “If people say a nice way to meet people is to have a dog, then you should try having a garden,” she said.

“Everyone who comes by, I say to them: ‘Please help yourself, plant things, take things.’ Everyone knows that it belongs to everyone.

“People have brought mulch down and the little kids come along and eat the strawberries.”

However, two weeks ago she received a letter from the council ordering her to remove the garden.

“I’ve rung them and said: ‘I will take it out, I’m happy to take it out, but you have to give me a reason’, otherwise I’m not removing it and I’ll fight for it,” Ms Boaz said.

A Waverley Council spokesman said while they supported footpath gardens, Ms Boaz did not get approval.

“The neighbour must give consent,” he said. “In this case, the neighbour has complained and brought the matter to council’s attention requesting removal of the garden.”

Ms Boaz said it was important to keep community gardens. “(It’s) not just for me … It represents a way that I think we’ll all have to head towards, otherwise we’ll be in crisis.”

Link here.

4 comments

1 Maureen { 11.03.12 at 7:53 pm }

Maybe readers could do what I did … I just emailed the mayor of Waverley, Sally Betts, at sallyb@waverley.nsw.gov.au

Mayor Sally Betts,
Waverly Council
New South Wales, Australia
sallyb@waverley.nsw.gov.au

Dear Mayor Betts,

I’ve just read online a story about a Bondi citizen, Nicolette Boaz, who had been told by Waverly Council that she has to get rid of a garden. [Canadian website City Farmer (www.cityfarmer.info) picked up the item from the Wentworth Courier]

From the photo, the garden is slightly wider than one meter, and 5 meters long. It looks tidy. What possible problem can it be for anyone?

All around the world people are trying to replenish soil, and make gardens for beauty and for food. What possible problem can Ms. Boaz’ small garden be?

I don’t know a lot about Australia, but I do know that Australia is the home of a regenerative style of gardening called permaculture and has suffered greatly due to drought. Overall, my thinking of Australia is that it must be a country that is learning the importance of caring for garden spaces and using water wisely.

The situation with the garden in Waverly doesn’t give me a positive feeling about Bondi or Waverly. I can’t suppose the negative image presented is the image you want for your community.

I look forward to reading a follow-up article, where Ms. Boaz is allowed to keep her garden, neighbours are adding gardens, and Waverly Council puts out a call to bring together a citizens garden and food security council.

Best regards,

2 Jennifer Lauruol { 11.04.12 at 2:26 pm }

Hey, I just emailed her too. Thanks.

3 Russ Grayson { 11.12.12 at 1:25 pm }

Hi

The Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network emailed a letter to the Waverley Mayor, Sally Betts proposing options for solutions to the footpath garden. The link below takes you to the letter and the Mayors response.

http://communitygarden.org.au/2012/11/08/waverley-council/

…Russ
Media Liaison
Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network

4 Nicolette Boaz { 12.01.12 at 6:36 am }

Thanks for noticing and caring- It seems (although they haven’t officially told me) that the council will be ‘reviewing their verge garden policy). I had given up but so many people seemed to support it – I went on to fight and apparently save the little gem of a garden.