Letter to Council: Start-up Grant for the Yates Street Community Garden

Posted on June 18th, 2016 · Posted in Healthy Living, Letters, Urban Ecology & Agriculture

Mayor and Council
City of Victoria
No.1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC
V8W 1P6

16 June, 2016

Re: Start-up Grant for the Yates Street Community Garden

Dear Mayor and Council,

I’m writing on behalf of the Yates Street Community Garden Steering Committee. We have an
immediate need for $3,000 in start-up funding to pay for the construction and outfitting of the first
40 raised bed garden planters to be installed at the new Yates Street Community Garden in
downtown Victoria.

Here is our situation—since the public announcement that Council had voted to make the lot at
1012/1014 Yates Street available to the downtown community to operate as a community garden,
it has been our understanding that the City would grant us some funds to kick-start the new
garden.

In March of 2016, we submitted a Strategic Plan Grant Application in the hopes of being granted
some start-up funds for the new community garden, the first of its kind in downtown. While receipt
of the application was acknowledged on April 1st, we have heard nothing of its status since.
Recently we learned that grant funds for projects on public land had been shifted to the new, My
Great Neighbourhood Grant program. While it is our intention to submit an application for a My
Great Neighbourhood Grant, even if our application is successful, those funds will come too late
for us to take advantage of a unique opportunity that is currently available to us.

We have been working with Albert van Akker, Chair of Architectural Trades, and Instructor of the
Carpentry Program at Camosun College. Mr. van Akker has generously offered to have the
students taking the current carpentry class at Camosun College, construct the first 40 planter
boxes for the garden. With this offer, the Yates Street Community Garden would only be charged
for the materials of construction. Unfortunately, if we can’t find the funds for the materials at this
time, we can’t accept his offer. We will miss this opportunity, and the Camosun Trades program
will be left scrambling to find another non-profit partner to work with.

We need approximately $3,000 to cover the material costs of the 40 planter boxes, and outfit
each with soil. The Victoria Cool Aid Society has generously offered to donate $500, and the
Victoria Downtown Residents’ Association has generously offered to match that donation
provided that the Yates Street Community Garden Steering Committee can come up with the
remaining amount.

We are asking Council to grant us the remaining $2,000 so that we can get the garden started in
time for this planting season. If our My Great Neighbourhood Grant Application is successful, we
would expect that the $2,000 would constitute part of the granted amount, and thus only be an
advance on those funds.

We thank you very much for your consideration of our request, and look forward to hearing from
you as soon as practicable.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Harrington
Co-Chair
Victoria Downtown Residents’ Association

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