More community gardens may crop up throughout Red Deer with the help of community groups and with changes to land use rules.
City of Red Deer administration is recommending community gardens be permitted as a discretionary use in all districts instead of just allowing them within institutional or governmental areas, and parks and recreation areas.
Community associations, churches, Sunnybrook Farm Museum and Interpretive Centre, and the urban planning group Rethink Red Deer are among those interested in launching their own community gardens. These are plots gardened collectively.
Parks Superintendent Trevor Poth said the popularity of the program continues to grow since it was created five years ago.
The city has 160 plots and will open five more plots this season.
The three city-operated sites are: Red Deer College Gardens at 100 College Boulevard, Piper Creek Gardens at 1709 40th Ave. and Parkside Gardens at 5320 67th St.
On Monday, city council gave first reading to amending the land use bylaw. A public hearing will be held on April 4 at 6 p.m. during council’s regular meeting.
Administration staff said the city should keep these plots discretionary instead of permitted in all land use districts because sometimes there are issues like parking, water availability or size of land to consider.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling said opening the doors to additional garden plots is a “move in the right direction.” He recently attended a sustainability conference in Red Deer where local food production was a large focus.