Community, council working together to improve Walker Park, Narooma

The community and Eurobodalla council will work together to make Walker Park a better place after a productive meeting at the location on Wednesday afternoon.

A park that was an edible landscape with native forage plants and fruit trees seemed to be a popular option at Wednesday’s meeting.

It was announced last month that Walker Park was not one of 20 blocks being sold by the council and it will remain in community hands.

The Friends of Walker Park group led by Rob Obrien and Liz Cook then called a community meeting together with the council to come with ideas about how to move forward. One suggestion was that the park be turned into a community food forage forest garden where fruit and nut trees and edible natives be planted.

A successful and informal meeting took place at Walker Park on Wednesday, November 15 that was attended by local residents from the McMillan Road area, other interested community members as well as the council’s recreation services manager Mark Upson and recreation planner Steve Picton.

Also attending were shire councillors Pat McGinlay and Phil Constable. Councillor Lindsay Brown who said he fought to keep the park in community hands four years ago, wanted to be there but had a medical appointment.

Local neighbourhood children Chante, Broedy and Andrew also attended and helped clean-up the park but hardly found any rubbish.

Various options were written up ranging from leaving the park as it was to adding play equipment for children, but the general consensus was to leave it generally open but to plant edible trees and plants, turning it into a forage garden.

Lachlan Reilly said he liked the idea of forage garden and pointed to the Littleton Garden garden at Bega that was not a successful forage garden run by Bega Valley Shire Council and volunteers.

Caroline Wells from the existing Narooma Community Garden located at Narooma Public School said technically a forage forest was quite densely planted and a better concept was an “edible landscape”, which is what the council’s recreation strategy already made reference to.

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The edible landscape was like a normal park but containing edible plants, including native plants, and fruit bearing trees.

Mr Picton suggested the Friends of Walker Park continue to get feedback including doing a survey or poll and then come back to council with definitive suggestions.

He said making it a demonstration project for the whole shire with council and community working together would make it easy to get grant funding and the fact the park was in a lower socioeconomic area on the Narooma Flat would also work in the project’s favour.

Mr Upson said the Walker Park project would be included in the council’s current draft of the Recreation and Open Space Strategy as a work in progress subject to the finalised feedback from the community and Friends of Walker Park group. 

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