Lake Macquarie community garden site chosen soon

SERENE DREAM: Ben Henley, Stephen Taylor and Sonia van Huisstede of the Warners Bay Community Garden Group at Bunya Park. –  Picture by Kitty Hill
SERENE DREAM: Ben Henley, Stephen Taylor and Sonia van Huisstede of the Warners Bay Community Garden Group at Bunya Park. – Picture by Kitty Hill

After an acrimonious public fight and an investigation, Eleebana’s Bunya Park has been nominated by Lake Macquarie Council staff as one of three of the most suitable sites for a community garden.

The council report, released on Friday, also nominated the TH Halton Park at Croudace Bay and Lakelands Reserve at Lakelands and recommended councillors visit the three sites before they voted on the community garden location.

A garden in Bunya Park, on the corner of Cherry Road and Macquarie Drive, was proposed by the Warners Bay Community Garden Group, whose members said the park was underused and the garden would be an important community asset and a source of fresh food.

Spokesman Ben Henley described the report as a ‘‘ringing endorsement’’ of Bunya Park.

‘‘Lakelands was good if the proposal had come from the Lakelands community and Croudace Bay is just too far for our members, some of whom can’t drive,’’ Mr Henley said.

The assessment found that on some criteria, Bunya Park was the most suitable site but it might cost the council slightly more than a garden at Croudace Bay.

On the other hand, a Croudace Bay community garden may avoid an ‘‘intractable social conflict’’, the report said, but the site was removed from the people who were likely to use it.

The garden was opposed by a group of nearby residents, who said the garden would alienate public land, among other complaints.

Residents’ spokesman Gary Freeman said the council report did not take into account the cost of dust-free parking at Bunya Park, nor was there any new information that showed proposed retention dams would protect existing Landcare volunteer plantings.

It will be tabled at tonight’s council meeting.