(12.15pm, Friday 31 October 2014, Northcott Gardens, Belvoir St)
Thank you, Kira, [Weiss, Community Development Officer] and hello, everyone. It's a pleasure to be here with you.
I'd also like to acknowledge Bianca Fleming, Surry Hills Housing NSW Team Leader who is here today.
A special acknowledgement is also due to the Surry Hills Public Tenants' Association who conceived the idea of this garden as a community project and memorial. It was also a way of not only beautifying Northcott, but of giving tenants fresh air, exercise and the healing power of gardens - and the satisfaction of a joint project.
The City was pleased to be able to award a community grant last year, and now these four flower beds - so far! - mark the start of the project.
A lot of people have helped with this project: Phil Petitt of the Botanic Gardens' Community Greening Project gave his expertise; Land & Housing co-operated, as did Housing NSW and Phil Relf and Vanessa Owens of our Pine Street Art Studio have started making the tiles that will eventually decorate the pump house. That's an on-going project, and more tenants can get involved in that.
What was an overgrown, under-used area is now an appealing and usable space for everyone. There is more to do - including, I'm told, a pathway to invite people in, and the addition of more beds and perhaps, eventually, a patch for fruit and vegetables if that's feasible.
With a part of Ward Park being closed for the light-rail, this open space will become even more important.
You can all be proud of your contributions and I hope that you will all enjoy the benefits of this space. I hope also that it will engage many more members of the community here, so please help put in some plants today, and enjoy the barbecue!
I'm pleased to declare the garden officially open.