PERMIT TALKS: Key figures in Buderim's Urban Food Food project will meet with Mayor Mark Jamieson in January to discuss the council's proposed verge garden permit system and possible alternatives.
PERMIT TALKS: Key figures in Buderim's Urban Food Food project will meet with Mayor Mark Jamieson in January to discuss the council's proposed verge garden permit system and possible alternatives. John McCutcheon

Verge gardeners say permits 'kill' participation

PROPONENTS of Buderim's Urban Food Street will meet with Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson next year over the council's push for permits and insurance for their verge gardens.

Key figures in the project have used the Urban Food Street Facebook page to announce they have "secured a meeting" with Mr Jamieson in January, although the post did not specify a date.

The Sunshine Coast Council caused a stir when it recently wrote to residents in the leafy UFS neighbourhood advising they needed to obtain free permits and public liability insurance for their footpath gardens.

The letters were prompted by concerns that "over-enthusiastic" gardeners had planted to the edge of the road without leaving clear paths for pedestrians and had erected structures such as trellises which could become public liability issues.

The Urban Food Street Facebook page said the group had asked the Sunshine Coast Council to hold any further action against residents until after the meeting with the mayor had taken place.

>>MORE ON URBAN FOOD STREET

But a previous post indicated supporters of Urban Food Street would push the council for an alternative arrangement to a permit system.

The post said society needed to look at models of urban agriculture which encouraged participation rather than disabled it, and said "permits kill participation".

It said no "bureaucratic-lead process" had achieved what had been achieved by UFS, which was regarded as a project of national significance.

The post pointed to Brisbane City Council's handling of verge gardens with simple guidelines.

"Brisbane City Council recently found a way to enable people to garden on the verge without permits or onerous administrative structures that cost the public purse bucks to implement," the post said.

The Urban Food Street organisers thanked people for their support since word of the council's requirements became public, and made particular mention of ABC Gardening Australia's Costa Georgiadis' voluntary offer to help the council find a different way forward.

"We have been overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of support that has been offered, online, in the street and via email, over the past few weeks," the UFS post said.


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