The Morinville Centennial Community Gardens is entering the third phase of its Champlain Park garden, located across from the arena.
When completed, the new phase will include a cedar gazebo, a walking path around the gardens, and additional plots, including raised beds.
Community Gardens Vice President Paula Collins said the objective of the project is threefold: to create a public community space, add additional garden plots, and to make the entire Champlain Park accessible.
“I think the key to what we are trying to do with the project is we’re going to make it accessible to everyone,” Collins said. “Our walking path will be wheelchair/walker accessible, and the ramps up to the gazebo will be accessible. We’re even planning on having garden boxes that are wheelchair [user] accessible so someone who has a problem bending over or are sitting in a wheelchair can garden.”
Collins said the group was planning a native plant garden bed to show visitors the beauty of working with plants native to the region.
“That’s my project, so I’m really passionate about it,” she said. “It’s to encourage native plants and to show people there are some really beautiful plants out there that you can use in your garden. They are really easy to grow and will encourage pollinators to the garden.”
The work will start this summer with three new in-ground garden plots to add space for at least five more gardeners. The new area will have two 12 X 30 plots and one 12 X 15 added to the existing plots at the park.
Also to be done over the summer are the connective paths, which will precede the building of the gazebo at the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017.
Funding for the additions has come from a series of fundraising initiatives the group has conducted since about 2012, Collins explained, adding the summer’s work will take plenty of volunteer hours and the generosity of a landscaper who is assisting.
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The current and future work to make the community garden accessible has been the result of collaboration with the Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD).
“We consulted them to access our Champlain site so that we can guarantee that it is 100 per cent accessible,” Collins said, adding it provides the basis for the work going forward. “If this site does become 100 per cent accessible with all we are going to do, the Rick Hanson would like to do a promotion on us to encourage other communities across the nation to do this. It’s such a huge thing for Morinville.”
The raised beds that will form part of the plan will be built and installed in 2017 and consist of approximately ten accessible garden plots.
Currently, there are 28 gardeners between the Champlain Pak and United Church locations. Collins said there were currently three spots available at Champlain and three plots at the United Church.
The three 12’x15’ plots for rent at Champlain cost $45 per season and the three 4 x 8 plots at the United Church location are $20 per season.