Community garden to sell native plants

Set for sale . . . Preparing plants for a sale in Shetland St Community Garden in Wakari (from left) garden volunteer Ian Craven and trustees Joseph Dougherty and Hendrik Koch. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A community garden is to sell thousands of native plants, after a Dunedin City Council project to lay wastewater pipes hit delays.

Shetland St Community Garden trustee Joseph Dougherty said the community garden in Wakari was established in the late 1990s.

The garden of about 500sq m was part of a council-owner block of more than 1.5ha that the trust managed.

Volunteers at the garden grew plants for the council to use for some of its contracts.

About 3000 plants had been grown to set out after council contractors installed a pipe through the 1.5ha block of land.

However, the plants were no longer needed as the pipework project had stalled.

Consequently, the garden was holding a native plant sale and open day between 10am and 1pm on Saturday, November 9.

“We have all these plants that need a home.”

Garden trustee Hendrik Koch said the plants ranged from tussocks to toetoe and were nearly all exclusively local conservation species.

“We have lots and lots of plants available . . . the open day is primarily for us to recover some sales.”

Council contract delivery manager Chris Jones said the project was the third phase of the Kaikorai Valley pipework renewals programme, which involves the replacement of old and poorly performing wastewater, water and stormwater pipes.

A delay in the programme resulting in the community garden members having to sell plants was “unfortunate”.

“We acknowledge this has caused some distress and apologise for the delay.”

However, it was important that the phase of a project was not compromised due to the significant cost of this critical infrastructure, he said.

The project phase includes about 1km of renewed wastewater pipes, from School St to Bishopscourt, through the Kaikorai Common and Shetland St reserve, which requires removal and replacement of significant amounts of vegetation.

The work was delayed because the council tendered it in 2017 but only one tender was received and it was declined.

Work to make improvements to the project’s design continues to increase effectiveness, reduce cost, reduce compliance and contract risk to the council and reduce the impact of the work on neighbouring properties.

The council had planned to start the work this year but the design improvements had taken longer than anticipated.

“At this stage the council does not have a new start date for the project.”