Grant for local community garden

FINALLY HAPPENING: Old Mount Gambier Gaol Community Garden president Ben Ransom said the new upcoming onsite toilets for the gardens have been a long time coming.

Elsie Adamo

A NEW toilet will be installed in the Community Garden at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol, enabling members to spend more time in the garden.

Installation of the toilet facilities has been made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Program.

President of the garden community, Ben Ransom said the onsite bathrooms have been a long time coming.

“That has always been something the committee has rallied around for quite some time now,” Mr Ransom said.

“I know members had been starting to talk about it 10 to 15 years ago to try and do something.”

The group have been given access to toilets at the nearby Reidy Park Primary School but Mr Ransom said it has not been the most convenient arrangement.

“It is some distance to walk over to get to them, and during school hours it is not appropriate for us to be going through,” Mr Ransom said.

“We had done a bit of fundraising ourselves and we raised a little bit of money, but nothing that was going to come close to paying for what we really needed there.

“We have started to put some plans together; we resurrected some old plans that we had from some time ago and we are just trying to speak to some builders.”

Mr Ransom, who has been president of the garden group for the last three years, said the 58 members enjoy the sense of community the group provides.

“I initially got involved with my son, he was only a one-year-old at the time, and I thought it could be something we could do together on the weekends,” he said.

“It is a great community meeting space; it is always great to bump into the other members and chat to them.

“It does bring together quite a diverse part of the community.

“There are a lot of African and Burmese members and they like to grow their zea mays plants; it is something from their culture and it not always easy to grow in their homes.”

Mr Ransom’s favourite part of the community is the garden itself.

“It is really relaxing to have an area to go that is not home where you have got fresh produce,” he said.

“There are always things to do to occupy your time; there is an orchard so in the summertime you can get fresh fruit.”

The garden has individual plots of land for members to grow what they like, along with shared fruit orchards and produce.

The community also has accessible plots raised from the ground for any potential members with special needs that make ground plots difficult.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said community organisations have been facing challenges and was pleased they had received the grant.

“Community groups, like the Old Mount Gambier Gaol Community Garden, contribute so much to our local community, making them better places to live, work and raise a family,” Mr Pasin said.