Renfrew Garden Committee April 25 meeting minutes

by Maureen McNamee

The Renfrew Garden Committee April 25 meeting was a site tour, including the Boys & Girls Club hangar site, a potential new Edward St. site, and a visit to an Inglewood community garden for ideas. It was too cold to take a lot of notes, but I think this covers the basics, and please feel free to post anything I’ve missed, as these “minutes” are rather informal. As you’ll see below, there is a new survey that requires your vote.

Call to order: We met at Renfrew Community Association at 6:30 p.m. and carpooled from there to three locations:

1. B&G:

– The site is a large L shape, with one square area surrounded by slightly raised berms that was likely used as a skating rink.

– Lisa reported that the water line would most likely be dug from the water source at the corner of the hangar across to the bushes north of the tennis courts. The estimated cost has ranged from $1,500 to $20,000, so a firm estimate would be required.

– Lisa reported that the city may be interested in planting a “community orchard” at our community garden site, but this is not confirmed.

– The committee members in attendance briefly discussed the houses that would be in the line of sight.

– Positive comments: The area is largely fenced, with plenty of space and good sun exposure. It is central to the community, with parking on site and across the street.

– Negative comments: The area is a brownfield, with the highest level of contamination at the northeast corner of the hangar, overlapping the former skating rink. There has been testing on the site (Liane has a link to a report), including monitoring wells, and it appears that the most contaminated section has been remediated to an extent, but there are no details about the work done to the overall site. Liane reported that a scientist with the city, Paul Leong, said he would only plant above ground = raised beds, no fruit trees.


– Potential new site identified by Lisa and Heike, on Edward St, at the back of the large park with playground / ball diamond on Child Avenue.

– The site is long and narrow, on a flat, unused stretch of land northeast of the larger field, at a slightly lower elevation. It has good sun exposure, and although it is smaller than B&G, it still has plenty of space.

– There are two fire hydrants adjacent to the space, just downhill from the site. A water line would still be required, but Lisa suggested it would likely be less expensive than at the B&G Club.

– This site would accommodate planter boxes on the ground, as well as plants such as raspberries and rhubarb directly in the soil. There would also be space for an orchard if the city wanted to plant fruit trees.

– Positive comments: The site is not contaminated so it allows more planting options, it’s in an area that is under-utilized, a playground is close by for kids, it gets plenty of sun, it is not likely to be opposed by residents due to its location, a water source is close by.

– Negative comments: There is no fencing, rabbits/deer might eat plants, it is not central to the community.

* The committee members voted to post a new survey asking whether to focus on establishing a community garden at the new Edward St. site, or to continue to focus on the B&G Club site. Committee members will have 10 days to vote on the survey, which is posted on the Renfrew Community Garden blog at:

3. Inglewood The committee toured a community garden behind Colonel Walker School in Inglewood – a large, L-shaped, fenced space with rows of planters, some sheds and seating, some shrubs and vines, water tanks (?) etc. There were different types of planters set directly on the ground, including some that appeared to have galvanized steel liners. The garden had a “tasting” bed out front, which committee members agreed is a good idea for preventing vandalism.

Adjournment: Approx. 8 p.m. due to cold and wind! We decided not to visit the second community garden on the list as people were ready to get indoors.


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