Westfalen Community Gardens secretary Graham Lynn at the Collingwood Park garden.
Westfalen Community Gardens secretary Graham Lynn at the Collingwood Park garden. Sarah Harvey

Threat to non-profit gardens

A COMMUNITY gardening group has until Friday to sign an agreement with the owners of the property on which its gardens grow or face being removed as managers.

Landowner Challenge Employment has presented the Westfalen Community Gardens group with a deal which the gardening group says dramatically reduces the size of the gardens and will threaten the economic viability of its project.

The non-profit group donates much of its produce to the Ipswich community.

Westfalen secretary Graham Lynn said the agreement would reduce the size of the gardens by more than an half a hectare.

"The entry gate, the chicken run and an area we've been hoping to plant fruit trees on and the bush tucker area will all be gone," he said.

The front entrance area is used to hold an annual harvest fair. He said the group feared the agreement would restrict its ability to raise funds.

Challenge Employment CEO Richard Lidner said the agreement would ensure the future of the gardens and it had been created because the Westfalen group was concerned it was not formally recognised.

"The executive expressed concern that they did not have anything formal to acknowledge their management of the community gardens," he said.

"Should a change of management of the precinct be necessary this should not affect current plot users ... I reinforce that it is not Challenge Employment and Training's intention to close the community gardens precinct.

"Unfortunately, if appropriate, reasonable communication and satisfactory insurance coverage cannot be obtained regarding the future management of the precinct, then, alternate arrangements will need to be implemented to continue the operation of the gardens."



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