Councillor suggests using Cedar Hill Rec Centre for allotment gardens

A Saanich lawn could become a field for farmers, if one councillor has his way.

Coun. Vic Derman planned on Monday to propose transforming part of the property at the Cedar Hill Rec Centre into a neighbourhood allotment garden.

“What do we do with it now? We mow it a couple times a year. Other than that it just sits there,” he said. “The rec centre serves an area that’s already quite densified … so I thought ‘what a reasonable place for an allotment garden.'”

This, Derman says, is a step towards encouraging backyard food sources – something he acknowledges has been lacking from council in recent memory.

“Pressure’s mounting from people who say ‘we want to move towards local food production,'” he said. “Over the next while, we’re having fewer and fewer single family homes built and condo-type environments won’t have that option (of gardens). The demand is going to constantly increase.”

A former allotment garden in Gordon Head operated for 27 years before the land was sold in 2001. Since then, that part of Saanich hasn’t been served, Derman said.

“We can’t keep going one step forward and two steps back. We’re going to have to look at municipally-owned land, because land is incredibly expensive and it’s going to be difficult to get sizeable allotments gardens.”

He’s also asking for support from councillors to have staff look at other properties in the municipality that could serve a similar need. A triangular plot on West Saanich Road, south of the Fireside Grill near Royal Oak Drive, is another plot he suggests could be used.

“There’s a demand for these types of gardens in our community, and soon there’s going to be a real need for them,” Derman said.

kslavin@saanichnews.com