Give older community gardens in PJ chance to be kept alive, says councillor

The Damansara Jaya Residents Association’s RT Community Garden was sealed by MBPJ recently. — Filepic

THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has been urged to consider allowing older community gardens to remain if they have not breached any rules and regulations.

It has, in recent months, issued notices to some community gardens to vacate from neighbourhood parks.

Councillor Quratulain Atiqah Norzahirul Anuar, during the January full board meeting, said the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s (KPKT) Urban Community Farming Policy, introduced in August last year, disallowed the setting up of such gardens in parks and playgrounds.

“Perhaps this rule should apply only to fresh applications. MBPJ should consider allowing existing ones to remain,’’ she said.

She reiterated that the KPKT ruling was unfair to communities who have had the gardens for a long time.

“I understand that the decision is made and notices to vacate are being issued in stages. However, I am disappointed that this has not been discussed thoroughly.

“Not all neighbourhoods have the same landscape features. Some local councils do apply the KPKT rules alongside local council rules,” she added.

Quratulain suggested allowing community gardens to operate if suitable plots were available nearby a park.

She said the city council should provide a minimum or maximum size for such a garden and decide on its distance from the playground.

MBPJ, she said, should also allow small spaces around fields to be utilised as community gardens.

“The community garden must not cause damage to council property and it should not have permanent fixtures.

“In Zone 5, the given location to relocate is not suitable.

“A six-year-old child showed me her painting of the community garden and told me she loves coming here.

“Community gardens have a positive effect on the mental and physical health of both the young and old.

“I hope MBPJ considers allowing older community gardens, that have not breached any guidelines prior to the introduction of the Urban Community Farming Policy, to continue,” she said.

At the meeting, Petaling Jaya mayor Mohamad Azhan Md Amir said the community garden issue would be revisited at a later date.

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