We’ve been using office resources and our grants budget to support a range of local community projects as a response to climate change, the pandemic shutdown, and other crises that undermine secure access to nutritious food.
We have supported 3 seedling hubs around the Gabba Ward where residents can swap locally-germinated seedlings and seeds without having to go through big commercial plant suppliers. These seedling hubs have been set up by residents in West End and Highgate Hill.
Community seedling hubs are spaces where residents can source and swap seedlings, seeds & cuttings.
Germinating and swapping heirloom plant varieties helps preserve genetic diversity and prevents the homogenisation and monopolisation of seed stock by big companies that patent seed species for profit.
In times of crisis, it's important to network with other people who live nearby and also foster a connection to plants and growing our own food.
There are three publicly accessible hubs in the Gabba Ward so far:
- Corner of Crowther & Victoria St, West End
- 15 Gertrude St, Highgate Hill
- Rosebery St, Highgate Hill
Seedling hubs are spaces for sharing and connecting. Seedlings are free, but everyone is encouraged to bring their excess to share with those around them!
Label any plants you bring along and please return pots and labels so we can minimise costs and keep putting plants out!
Everyone's welcome to come and participate! (Facebook page available at this link: Community Seedling Hubs - Brisbane)
We’ve also partnered with Jane St Community Garden to plant dozens of free fruit trees and edible plants along local streets.
We'll be updating this page soon with photos from our successful verge planting day on 30 May.
New urban farming projects have been established on Boundary St (southern end) and the Dutton Park hilltop (near the basketball court). If you'd like to volunteer with either of these projects but you're having trouble tracking down the organisers, send my office an email and we'll put you in touch!
West End organisation boosting food security in the pandemic
A West End organisation is working to boost food security during the pandemic. Ruby Thorburn and Alice Wicks are planting vegetables on unused state government land to give to those in need. Find out more: https://7news.link/3c3ddC0 www.7NEWS.com.au #7NEWSPosted by 7NEWS Brisbane on Saturday, May 2, 2020
We’re supporting residents to set up new communal compost hubs to divert more waste from landfill. We’re also lobbying council to introduce a citywide rebate scheme for compost bins and worm farms.
We already have about 16 households in the Gabba Ward open to receiving food scraps. We have just surveyed them all and they are really happy with the ShareWaste system, but they need more people delivering their food scraps. So get on the website and register.
Our office is now supporting more households willing to have a compost listed on the Sharewaste website. Your food scraps collector should be easily accessible in a front yard so neighbours can easily drop off their scraps whenever they want.
To set up a compost hub, we can support you with vouchers for free compost bins. Simply email our office on email@example.com.
Once your compost system is set up, you can register with ShareWaste. Your address is only given out by you individually to neighbours who message you directly through the site - so you can control how many people are delivering food scraps.
If you don't have space to compost at home but you have food waste that you don't want to sent to landfill, just go to the Sharewaste website to register and send a message to your closest composter. They'll give you their address and info.
BCC are also providing free kitchen compost tubs to collect your food scraps at home. We have them available in The Gabba Ward office now. Just jump online and register for one via this link. (The council registration system is only set up for larger composting hubs, but we only have one in our Ward - West End - Jane St Community Garden - so when you register via the website, just indicate that Jane St is where you will be dropping off your scraps. You'll be right to use it as part of the ShareWaste program at any of the other small compost hubs.)
Council has finally released proposed plans for the partial redesign of Davies Park…
Here’s what they’re spending money on:
- Roughly $200 000 on a large new toilet block (six cubicles including 2 wheelchair accessible)
- About $400 000 fixing up drainage issues and patching the internal roadway
- About $100 000 converting the beach volleyball courts into a flat gravel area, which will be fenced off from the public and will stay within the Souths Leagues Club lease boundaries
- About $1.3 million removing and reshaping some of the mounds around the edge of the rugby field, planting new trees and opening up new useable green space (particularly the new circular lawn at the Jane St/Montague Rd end)
- I’ve also allocated $150 000 from my local park upgrades budget to partly cover costs of a small skate facility on the Montague Rd side (this is marked as the ‘multiuse games area’ on their diagram) and I’m trying to convince the council to chip in the rest.
(Most of these figures are a bit rough because the council hasn’t publicly released its exact cost estimates and hasn’t yet gone out to tender to get detailed quotes)
The council conducted a small amount of ‘consultation’ into public priorities for upgrading the park earlier this year, you can read the comments I made about the proposed plans on my Facebook page earlier this year, the draft design concept plans that were released in July 2018 can be viewed here. They received strong feedback that residents wanted more open green space and not too much concrete, which is why they have prioritised reshaping the mounds along the Montague Rd side to free up more land. Relocating the mounds is so expensive because they are full of old contaminated material (various heavy metals, old rubbish, perhaps even rusted car bodies from when Davies Park was used as a speedcar track in the 1930s).
My impression is that the forms of outreach and consultation used by the council may have tended to more heavily favour the views of older residents. From what I’ve heard in the local area, there’s strong demand from a lot of people for both a multiuse court and a small skate facility in Davies Park, but council is saying that this did not come through very strongly in their ‘official’ consultation.
Jane Street Community Garden
Happily, it looks like the council has at least heard the community's strong feedback regarding the earlier proposal to relocate Jane St Community Garden. Neither I nor the majority of local residents wanted the garden moved, and it seems like the council has backed away from that plan. I'm very pleased with this small positive outcome and I will continue to support and be guided by the wishes of the Jane St Community Garden volunteers.
In general, I’m a bit disappointed with what the council is proposing. Fixing the drainage and relocating the mounds are important first steps, and it would be possible to then put a lot more money into the park to deliver more features. But unlike other major park projects (e.g. Hanlon Park), the LNP have not clearly committed to any more funding in future years beyond the $2 million announced so far. So my big concern is that this is all they’ll do.
Crucially, they have not committed to funding/installing:
- lighting through the park
- new pathways (e.g. a circular pathway around the proposed open lawn at the eastern corner)
- a full-sized multiuse court for basketball, netball, indoor soccer etc (as was floated in their initial consultation)
- Any kind of nature play/playground area
- BBQs or picnic seating
- New stairs/ramp leading up the slope from Riverside Drive to connect to the ring road
- Partial funding for the skate park
They have also ruled out including a shower facility in the toilet block, despite my repeated requests.
As a result of outsourcing to the private sector, the work council is proposing for Davies Park is costing way more than I consider reasonable. But if indeed those are the unavoidable costs, the council is simply going to have to commit more money to this park so we can get some serious improvements.
I’m particularly perplexed by the council’s proposal to convert the volleyball courts to a flat gravel surface on the vague promise that they will install new basketball courts/multiuse courts there in the future. Unless the LNP is willing to publicly commit to funding a multicourt here in the next financial year, we can have no faith or certainty that it will happen.
As a result, all that is going to happen for certain is that the BCC is spending up to $100 000 converting the beach volleyball courts to a flat gravel surface, which will most likely be used by Souths Leagues Club for parking. Rather than improving sport and recreation facilities in Davies Park, council’s current proposals are actually reducing them.
I’ve made an offer to BCC to put more funding from my local park upgrades budget into a small skate park on the Montague Rd side of the park if they’ll chip in some of the money, but I haven’t heard back yet. (In case you’re wondering, I can’t use my park upgrades budget for work on the beach volleyball court area, because that area falls within the boundary of the Souths Rugby League Club)
If you agree that council should not be spending $100 000 converting the beach volleyball courts to a fenced gravel carpark, and would prefer to see other kinds of park upgrades, can you please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and David.McLachlan@brisbane.qld.gov.au and CC my office at email@example.com. Tell them you support planting more trees and creating more green space, but that we also need a multicourt, a skate facility and perhaps some kind of play area for smaller kids.
If this is all the work they intend to do for the 2018/19 financial year, we need to demand a clear public commitment from the Lord Mayor that they will spend more money on this park in the following financial year so we actually get some new facilities.