Community garden project forges ahead

THE team behind a community garden development in Warrane is determined not to let a senseless act of vandalism stop them from realising their vision for the project.

Managed by the Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre, the Heemskirk Community Garden has been slowly taking shape since a local resident first floated the idea two years ago of turning a vacant block into a communal garden space where locals could gather and relax, grow their own fruit and vegies, and learn about sustainability.

Over the past 12 months, the garden’s nine-member committee has overseen the construction of fences and a shed and the installation of a water tank.

But that progress has slowed after vandals recently sliced through newly laid electrical conduit, housing wires ready to be connected to the power supply.

The culprit also damaged the shed and removed the water tank’s tap, leaving the committee unable to collect rain water for use on the garden.

Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre manager Leanne Doherty said she couldn’t understand why anyone would target the garden, which enjoyed widespread community support.

“We doorknocked the whole area around the garden before we even started, and only one person said they didn’t want it there,” she said.

“Everyone else thought it was great – no more hooning on the land, no more trail bikes, no more dumping of rubbish.

“We had a lot of positive reactions.”

Mrs Doherty said fixing the damage to the power supply would take $2,500 out of the committee’s already tight budget.

“The offender tried to make sure we didn’t have power so the project wouldn’t go any further,” she said.

“They didn’t steal anything, and it doesn’t seem to be just plain vandalism – they didn’t smash up anything else.

“It seems like this was supposed to stop us in our tracks. But it’s not going to.”

While the incident is a setback to the garden’s progress and budget, the volunteers are determined to press on without electricity and will turn their attention to working on elements of the garden which don’t require power, including the gazebo and new toilet facilities.

The damage, which occurred sometime between 9-14 November, has been reported to Tasmania Police.

Anyone with information can contact them on 131 444.

Caption: Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre manager Leanne Doherty, right, and assistant coordinator Kerryn James at the Heemskirk Community Garden.