Had a meeting with a staffer in the City Lands department. I wanted to learn about the terms of the lease agreement between the City and the only “temporary community garden” in the City.
On page 34 of the Social Sustainability Strategy it states, “The Heights Garden Society (est 1996) leases land from the City for its community garden. When I asked to see the lease, I was told that there is no lease agreement at this time. When I asked to see the previous lease agreement between the Society and the City, I was told that I could not see it due to privacy concerns. The staffer refused to disclose the financial terms of the previous lease.
This lease agreement between two public entities, a registered society and a municipality , sets a precedent for other agreements, but the language and details are kept secret. Makes you wonder if the City is hiding something.
The bottom line from this meeting was that the City is unwilling to provide any of its +$90 million land holdings for the purpose of a community garden.
Interestingly, the City is eager to sell off two lots beside a public walkway ideal for a community garden to private developers to construct single family houses. Is the City interested in community development or pleasing the development community?
While the City of Vancouver encourages the development of community gardens with a link on how to start one, Burnaby discourages citizens from even trying.