Southern Courier

Flick pass on cemetery expansion  31 JUL 12 @ 07:02AM BY LEESA SMITH

Randwick councillors have ignored expert advice and chosen to handball the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park’s proposal to the state government.

Eight out of 14 councillors decided against putting a recommendation forward to the state government at last Tuesday’s meeting, with some councillors convinced the government, as the landlord of the Crown land, had already made up its mind that the proposal would go ahead.

The APP Corporation planning consultant Clare Brown, who put forward four possible options in the report, stated that the chosen option was “short sighted action”.

Ms Brown said the applicant was left with no choice but to request the Minister to “call in” the proposal and appoint the Director-General as the planning authority.

The report recommended option 2: to send the proposal to the state government while the plan’s “deficiencies” and a conservation management plan were addressed.

But the majority of councillors rejected the proposal with no attempt to influence the final decision which proposes the cemetery to acquire 60 per cent of the adjoining Chinese market gardens.

Labor councillor Tony Bowen said the “elephant under the carpet” was that the state government had already decided to approve the proposal.

Fellow Labor councillor Geoff Stevenson and Greens councillor Murray Matson believed it was important for the council to take a stand on the issue.

ESMP CEO George Passas described the decision as “shoddy civic duty”.

“The community has lost their consultative thread through their council,” he said. “It says to the government that council as a collective is not capable of making a decision.”

Matraville precinct chair Carlos Da Rocha said the council had heard the community now the state government needed to do the same.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on31 Jul 12 at 10:58am

Anyone reading that “Fellow Labor councillor Geoff Stevenson and Greens councillor Murray Matson believed it was important for the council to take a stand on the issue, ” would think that Councillors Matson and Stevenson had voted the same way. Councillors Bowen and Matson voted for Option 4 but Councillor Stevenson voted against.

It is also misleading to suggest that it is now in the hands of the State Government and that Council will have no input. Firstly the Trust could adopt a ‘good neighbour’ approach and work with the support of Council and local community and other stakeholders on alternatives. Secondly, if they do in fact ‘go to’ the Minister for Planning there is no reason why the Minster, particularly given commitments by this Government to consultation, would not ensure that our Council was consulted. State Planning issued guidelines for coastal development in 2010 and aside from Heritage considerations would recognise the absurdity of landfilling floodplain for graves. They know Botany Bay has enough problems without adding to them.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on31 Jul 12 at 10:37am

This article is misleading. The 8 Councillors who voted for Option 4 – Belleli, White, Seng, Matson, Hughes, Woodsmith, Tracey, Bowen stood by the LEP re-zoning, and what Independent Planning Consultant for the LEP Ms Tina Spiegel recommended to Council. It was a clear message that after 4 years of consultation – since the release of the Crown Lands report recommending against cemetery use in 2008 – that they wanted the whole 7ha Heritage, Floodplain Market Gardens to remain. Councillors who opposed Option 4 indicated that they would vote for Option 2 if the Option 4 vote was lost. Option 2 progressed the Cemetery proposal and this is why Cemetery supporters in the Greek church asked their members to ask Councillors to vote for it. Council has never had the final say on this matter. The reason the proposal keeps coming back is because Crown Lands supports it.

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Market gardeners fear dead end  17 JUL 12 @ 07:27AM BY LEESA SMITH

If garden plots give way to burial plots the Chinese market gardens are  tipped to be the loser. MELVYN KNIPE

If garden plots give way to burial plots the Chinese market gardens are tipped to be the loser. MELVYN KNIPE

THE living versus the dead debate dividing the southeast for the past two years is expected to be laid to rest at the local level at next Tuesday’s Randwick Council meeting.

The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park is trying to arrest a lack of burial space through a plan to acquire 60 per cent of the neighbouring 150-year-old Chinese market gardens.

For the plan to proceed Randwick Council will need to move an exemption to its local environment plan. The final decision will then rest with the state government.

There are currently two market garden sites but it is expected there will be only one tender on offer if the proposal goes ahead.

Market gardener Terry Ha said the cemetery expansion would be the end of his 75-year-old family business.

“It’s not worth applying for the tender – we wouldn’t survive,” he said.

The memorial park predicts the cemetery will be at capacity within 10 years with a take-up rate of 500 sites a year. Religious figures have been vocal on the need for nearby burial plots.

Maroubra Synagogue’s Rabbi Haim Perez said the memorial park was most convenient final resting place.

“Kingsford Maroubra Hebrew Congregation was built 65 years ago by Holocaust survivors as an act of faith, belief and defiance,” he said.

“These qualities continue to set the tone of a community that is ware of its past and at the same time embracing of its future.”

Bella Glennywrites:
Posted on21 Jul 12 at 01:21pm

This is a local issue that should be determined by locals not just be a business opportunity by the ESMP and something determined for the convenience of people out of area. Market Gardens within the city are a rare and valued commodity. With global warming on our doorstop we should grow local and eat local as much as we possibly can. Why is Australia so far behind in world thinking? Currently Councils in the UK are actively putting resources into encouraging small business people to grow local, yet this existing market garden is about to be given away. Why?

Ian Clelandwrites:
Posted on21 Jul 12 at 09:34am

The land should be for the living not the dead. Our need for growing food is more important than burying the dead.

For the those whe still require burial your dead welcome to the 21st century, it’s time you moved your beliefs into the 21st century.

As somebody has already stated you can not eat money

Carlos da rochawrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 06:56pm

           Gordon Ha is a second generation Chinese Market Gardener on Botany Bay Sydney. He and brother Terry provide fresh produce to local outlets. To take over 60% of the land being used as growers market and only leaving 40% left for use as  growers markets would be a huge lose to us all.

Carlos da rochawrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 06:20pm

We need your help to protect our future for future generations. Protect the La Perouse market gardens -once gone its gone for ever.

Please write to Randwick Council but do it before the 24th July which us when it goes to council – let the councillors know how you feel about the potential reduction of the market gardens for cemetery expansion. The market gardens which has over 150 years of history must remain and be a part of our growing future. We must protect and preserve for now and future generations. Carlos Da Rocha

Gregory John Olsenwrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 01:28pm

It is unconscionable that any land currently producing food in a suburb within 15 km of Sydney’s CBD can be stolen from the people it feeds by an institution purporting to be a pillar of the community such as the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (ESMP).

What’s more, the lack visionary leadership on this issue is deafening by it’s silence. The ESMP needs to use better and more efficiently what they already have, they must redevelop existing lapsed gravesites and activate new ones, all with limited tenure. New techniques for the disposing of bodies such as alkaline hydrolysis could be added to the services the ESMP offer. Contaminated industrial sites could be transformed them into memorial parks. These sites are prevalent in the Randwick/Botany region and are currently wasteland, unsuitable for any other purpose. Indeed, over time, these sites, if used as natural burial memorial parks, will be rejuvenated and decontaminated by natural processes.

The question of how can we dispose of an increasing number of corpses in an ecologically sustainable way is NOT answered by taking over food producing land next to a cemetery. Our food security is of prime importance!

Peter Dowsonwrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 10:30am

Cemeteries instead of food. I love the irony. Some people seriously need to rethink their priorities.

Frederick Maloufwrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 09:19am

All other commenters raise valid points. You will need a place to buy food much more than find places for people to be interred. Why take the most productive land you have and change into a dead zone? Economics seems hell-bent to make the world exactly that. Religions, politics, and business have a lot to answer for in perpetuating the sustainability of the world.

Just shows how ill-equipped people voted to run the country at all levels have no grasp of reality – understanding that the environment will always win, no matter how much money you make.

Helen Franceywrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 08:27am

I cannot believe that the memorial park is attempting to take part of the market gardens. Why didn’t they object when huge amounts of land adjacent to the cemetery was used for massive warehouses that have often lain idle and up for lease. They must have been aware that more land would eventually be needed for burial – so what were they thinking? Remove the warehouses and there will be burial space for a lot longer than 10 years – and leave the market gardeners alone.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on20 Jul 12 at 07:13am

We may well be running out of burial space for those who demand a particular style of burial but we also face water and food shortages. When I attended the special LEP hearing that Council held in May there were Cemetery supporters brandishing placards reading “Respect our Beliefs”. I suggest they should do as they preach. Respect the beliefs of those who are committed to an environmentally sustainable future.

Susan Parkerwrites:
Posted on17 Jul 12 at 09:08pm

“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” ~ Cree (Native American) Prophecy

I guess it won’t be that long now, before we realise we can’t eat money.

What amazes me, is that there is a big factory on high ground bordering the other side of Botany Cemetery, but no-one dares suggest this should be re-claimed for the dignified burial of all the Greeks, Jews, Muslims, Catholics etc who require it. But a small section of Crown Land, belonging to everyone, and used to grow food but with a very low water table not really suitable for burial, well that’s just up for grabs. We should be protecting our heritage of food growing land, we should be fighting to preserve this marvellous anachronism so close to the city, and we should be protecting our heritage of diversity of land use, but the cemetery will win out. Take your children to see the Chinese Market Garden soon, so that they may have a memory of it at least.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on17 Jul 12 at 06:28pm

If the memorial park predicts that the cemetery will be full in 10 years, how long do they predict before the land that they are trying to acquire will be full? Then where next? With all respect, Maroubra Synagogue’s Rabbi Hiam Perez’s statement “most convenient resting place”.I think it is more likely “most convenient” for the people who need to visit their deceased loved ones. The reality is , the dearly departed would not know where they were being interned. And I agree with AJ, what has this issue to do with “the Holocaust survivors building the Kingsford/Maroubra Hebrew congregation”? The “entire “community needs the Chinese Market Gardens left as it is for many different reasons, not just a select few. Sherry

AJwrites:
Posted on17 Jul 12 at 02:59pm

I do not understand why the Holocaust is being used to influence this government planning issue.

However, I agree with Maroubra Synagogue’s Rabbi Haim Perez that we should be aware of our past. The greater community is aware of its past, and that is why it will be shameful to see the death of the 150 year old Market Gardens. The early Chinese settlers were integral in providing Australia with produce through the various gardens throughout the country. They helped to keep Australia fed and allowed it to blossom when it was but a mere bud. (In fact, these gardens actually predate Australia as a country as we now know it, they existed prior to Federation, and of course back then we were still only various colonies on one large island.)

Last, but of most importance. We should be protecting all food producing land in the Sydney basin. Food production is a critical issue that is starting to rear its head, we should not be locking away food producing land for centuries to come.

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Debate on market garden location still grows  11 JUL 12 @ 01:20PM

THE proposed Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park expansion and reconfiguration of the Chinese Market Gardens is expected to be on Randwick Council’s agenda again within months.

The question of whether the 150-year-old garden should remain in its original location has resulted in fiery debate dividing the community and councillors.

May’s council meeting was moved to the town hall to accommodate the opposing community members when the decision was made to rezone the market gardens from residential to rural.

The Courier asked the Randwick South Ward candidates for their views on the expansion plans:

LIBERAL CANDIDATE ROBERT BELLELI

I don’t support any expansion of the cemetery. I think we need to protect the Chinese Market Gardens. I supported the rural zoning of the market gardens and will always do so. I understand we’re running out of cemetery space but the heritage of the market gardens is important. The need for sustainable food sources in the Sydney basin is critical. My view about the proposed cemetery expansion is different to some of my other Liberal colleagues. The great thing about the Liberal Party is we’re allowed to disagree with each other. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. But my opinion is clear – the market gardens are too important and should be protected.

GREENS CANDIDATE JAMES MACDONALD

This treasured Chinese cultural icon has been a part of La Perouse since 1850 and destroying it would be trashing an agricultural heritage with roots as old as European settlement. This local business is a prime example of much-needed urban agriculture and its loss would be hypocritical from a council who emphasises environmental sustainability. The market gardens are the livelihood of two families and we should be proud that locally-grown produce is sold in markets across Sydney. Their destruction would be tragic. Sadly, the Liberals have already flagged they will not fight for the gardens. The land’s suitability for agriculture makes it a poor choice for human burial: it is low-lying and prone to flooding. The problem of diminishing cemetery space is serious, but destroying the gardens is not the answer.

LABOR CANDIDATE NOEL D’SOUZA

This is little more then a cheap land grab by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park at the expense of the locals. What about the local ratepayers, do our opinions not matter? To the best of my knowledge the O’Farrell Government is poised later in the year to reverse the council’s decision. My view on this important issue is the same as expressed by my Labor colleagues in council that the land that has been zoned rural, must stay zoned rural. The Chinese Gardens at La Perouse must be saved. We need the Mayor Scott Nash to reassure the residents of the South Ward that Randwick Council’s decision on this matter is final and that the O’Farrell Government will respect people’s wishes and not cave in and reverse council’s decision.

The Courier had not received a response from Cr Charles Matthews by deadline.

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Rural zoning for Chinese market gardens 22 MAY 12 @ 08:06AM BY LEESA SMITH

The 150 year-old Chinese market gardens are now protected with Randwick councillors voting to rezone the 7ha site from residential to rural at tonight’s council meeting.

For the first time in at least a decade the Randwick town hall’s doors were opened for a council meeting due to an overwhelming attendance from the community and the debate between the growing and the dead was one of the biggest items on the agenda.

Although tonight’s rezoning decision does not come as a great surprise, there was a large number of placard-waving churchgoers in attendance to show their support for the Eastern Suburb Memorial Park’s proposal to acquire 60 per cent of the site and for the gardens to retain 40 per cent.

The proposal was submitted just days after the council had finalised its draft LEP report so therefore it wont be determined until later in the year.

The new rural zoning does not permit cemetery use but if the proposal is approved, an amendment will be made to the LEP to allow the cemetery to expand.

The State Government, which owns the land and therefore ultimately will decide on its future, recommended the memorial park submit a separate proposal to the council.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK BELOW:

Martin Barr-Davidwrites:
Posted on22 Jul 12 at 04:42am

Gregory John Olsen idea sounds like a great. Convert the disused land around Sydney Airport into a Cemetery or convert Sydney Airport into one.

Martin Barr-Davidwrites:
Posted on22 Jul 12 at 04:34am

Ship the dead bodies out Rockwood for crying out loud.

Lynwrites:
Posted on29 Jun 12 at 05:06pm

The Chinese Market Gardens should be protected and valued as an amazing heritage site and a local food source. Burial is an issue that has to be dealt with on a much larger scale. I am aboriginal and yes I will be buried but I certainly do not support the destruction of someone’s livelihood or the devaluing of a culturally significant heritage site that is loved by the whole community. And for what? A short term solution to a very long term problem. The benefits are insignificant in comparison to the enormous loss. It is the wrong thing to do and everyone should be able to see that.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on28 May 12 at 09:44pm

It is worth reading the 2008 Crown Lands assessment of the Chinese Market Gardens

http://www.lpma.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/77005/Chinese_Market_Gardens_draft_assessment.pdf

The Senior Environmental Scientist recommended 3 possible uses: Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Nature Conservation.

Ms Tina Spiegel, Independent Planning Consultant who chaired Randwick Council’s Open Forum into the LEP recommended: “Although there was a convincing and valuable representation by some speakers that the land should be used as a cemetery, the valuable contribution of urban agricultural lands should not be underestimated. The use of part of the land for cemetery purposes may only be a very short term solution for the problem of where to bury the dead.

Under these circumstances it is considered that the proposed rezoning of the land to RU4 may be supported because it is a long term sustainable solution.”

Gregory John Olsenwrites:
Posted on27 May 12 at 11:59pm

Food producing land must NEVER be used for burials. Degraded industrial site should be rehabilitated by transforming them into Memorial Parklands. Check out this USA site: http://perpetuasgarden.org/

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on25 May 12 at 07:05pm

John Nemo,obviously you were at the meeting, and let me guess, you would be pro-expansion for the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park? I know there were no representation from Aboriginal people there,because I spoke to a lot of my friends from the Aborigianl community, who yes do believe in burial, but they agreed that we need as much open air space as we can get , as they also are affected by the pollution from Port Botany etc. My Grandmother & one of my best friends was Jewish, so please don’t go there! I believe two of the speakers were Jewish, and it was quite obvious there was a huge “rent-a-crowd” who were speaking Greek. The only one you maybe correct about is the Muslim representative, but I am sure if there was a Muslim representative there, the pro group for expansion would not have missed the opportunity to have him/her speak. We are all Australian aren’t we? So shouldn’t we all live under the same rules?

John Nemowrites:
Posted on25 May 12 at 12:18am

How does Sherry Butt know what a Jew looks like? Or a Muslim, or a Greek or an Aboriginal? Her comments are not just politically incorrect, they are insulting.

Gregory John Olsenwrites:
Posted on24 May 12 at 12:35pm

I do not support the use of the food producing Market Gardens site as a cemetery. I believe that only land unsuitable for residences and agriculture should be used for cemeteries. There is much degraded land in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney ripe for rehabilitation.

Take, for example, the 18ha Orica site, Southlands, in Banksmeadow. Southlands could be transformed into a Burial Parkland within a peaceful bushland haven, rich in native flora and fauna. Using Natural Burial techniques without cremation (saving up to 160kg of greenhouse gasses per corpse) and without the use of embalming liquids (that often contain the carcinogenic chemical formaldehyde that can leak into the soil once a body is buried), this would be a win for the environment, a win for the communities that don’t accept cremation and a win for the Market Gardens and our food security.

Market gardens in cities are vital for feeding people now and into the future as our prime agricultural land is being threatened by coal mining and coal seam gas extraction. At a time when we really need to focus on protecting food growing land close to cities, keeping these market gardens going should be of the highest priority.

AJwrites:
Posted on23 May 12 at 09:50pm

Encouraging to see that 150 years of heritage was protected. Likewise, it is good to see that land used for production of fresh food has been protected. Over the last decade we have seen that the Sydney basin has managed to stay reasonably damp while the rest of NSW, and indeed the water catchment area for Sydney, has struggled with sparse rainfall. I would like to see the State Government protect more areas like this in the Sydney basin from residential and industrial expansion.

Daphne Lowe Kelleywrites:
Posted on23 May 12 at 12:10pm

We all want our dearly departed sent off according to their choice and beliefs – there has never been an argument about that. Everyone agrees that the dead should be buried with dignity. Burying someone in a swamp – how dignified is that?

What there is an argument with, is the ESMP spreading misinformation about its neighbours and the land they work, in taking what they think is an easy option take over its neighbours’ land, rob them of their livelihood and deprive the local population of fresh healthy food.

I trust the ESMP might not just eye the market gardens, but open its eyes to check out other suitable local sites worth investigating.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on23 May 12 at 08:16am

I attended the meeting at the Randwick town hall along with many other local residents regarding the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park proposal to acquire 60 per cent of the Chinese market gardens land.There was huge Greek attendance, a few Jewish residents, but no sight of Muslim or Aboriginal supporters who supposedly were pro expansion. No doubt the Muslim & Aboriginal communities were such a small minority, but it did sound impressive. Was there any opposition letters from either community and if so how many? And I do mean legitimate ones as it was revealed at the meeting that most of the opposition letters that were sent were not! The pro expansion supporters were very emotional and did not want to drive to visit their families graves outside of the Eastern Suburbs. I have no problems with anyone’s religion, beliefs or customs, but it is common sense that we are running out of land and the Botany area needs every bit of green open space left for the living. Do they live near Port Botany or Orica?And if the expansion of the cemetery is passed, what happens when that land is full? Respect must be shown all around but not at the cost of future generations to accomodate the dead.

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Historical market gardens to remain 19 JUN 12 @ 09:31AM BY STAFF WRITER

THE Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park has released an artist’s impression to show how the Chinese Market Gardens would look if the Botany Cemetery expansion gets the go-ahead.

The proposal is to maintain 40 per cent of the site as working market gardens while opening up the area to the public for the first time with a park-like path and cycleways, restoring a natural creek and enhancing the heritage with Chinese, European and Aboriginal historical monuments.

The plan is with Randwick Council but the final decision rests with the federal government as the site is Crown land.

Do you support the new vision for this site? Tell us what you think. Comment below

Andrew Woodhousewrites:
Posted on21 Jun 12 at 09:53am

This is nothing to do with the Federal Government: it is state-owned land. The image is misleading. Where does it show the evicted small market garden business owners or the heritage significance of the site. Council’s report states clearly market gardens are the only sustainable long-term use of this site. What happens when the cemetery wants to expand again?

Gregory John Olsenwrites:
Posted on21 Jun 12 at 12:33am

It is Crown Land, owned by the NSW State Government and the final decision will be with Minister Brad Hazzard. Randwick City Council will be considering the cemetery’s request at its meeting in July. People reading this esteemed publication who reject the cemetery’s land grab MUST write to the Minister and protest vehemently about this disgraceful abrogation of our Government’s responsibility to provide food security for the living, particularly on existing agricultural land. This site is inappropriate for anything but small scale agriculture. The cemetery needs to think outside the box and look to industrial land for it’s expansion.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on20 Jun 12 at 09:16pm

What a load of sugar coating! The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park has only one agenda and that is cash in their in pockets. “Enhancing the heritage with Chinese, European and Aboriginal historical monuments ” I would like the area enhanced with lots of beautiful greenery, fresh air, the aroma of fresh vegetables wafting from the chinese gardens, benefiting all in the area , not just a select few. I think this would be a far better scene rather than morbid cemetery head stones, not my idea of a great public park, cycleways and paths to take kids on a day out to.

Barbara Rosswrites:
Posted on20 Jun 12 at 09:11pm

Botany Cemetry with the trashy artificial flowers is an eyesore. Please do not give us anymore of this mess. Decaying bodies pollute the environment with green house gasses. Burial should be discouraged not marketed in the manner that the cemetry is doing. Confirming the market gardens as part of our history is important to our sence of place in the environment. Where else in the area can children see where food comes from?

Carlos Da Rochawrites:
Posted on20 Jun 12 at 08:09pm

Gordon Ha is a second generation Chinese Market Gardener on Botany Bay Sydney. He and brother Terry provide fresh produce to local outlets. The farm has been a market garden for over 150 years. Its got history and needs to be a part of our growing future, When I met with Gordon Ha and sat in the Gardens for a while I was taken to another place, my thoughts were as if I was elsewhere not in the Eastern Suburbs, This is truly a tressure that we must protect, the Ha Brothers have much history and experience to teach us, our kids, our schools, our communities so much to learn and tressure , there are not many market gardens like this around, the world is getting crowded and we must protect open space such as the matraville / La perouse growers market, once gone there is no coming back it will be gone for ever,  We grieve for the passing of loved ones but also have to consider the living, Population is growing and development is also growing protecting lands like the growers market is essential for our future development. If the Cemetery is reaching its full capacity then land elsewhere with less impact on local communities assets needs to be considered.

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A Chinese market of souls 22 MAY 12 @ 06:24AM BY LEESA SMITH

HUNDREDS of residents are expected at tonight’s Randwick council meeting which has been moved to the town hall for the first time in at least a decade.

One of the hottest tickets on the draft LEP agenda is the Chinese market garden’s proposed rezoning from residential to rural which is expected to be approved.

The move will prohibit cemetery use but the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park lodged a separate proposal, as advised by the state government, to buy 60 per cent of the 7ha garden site just days after the council finalised its draft report.

Although the decision on the memorial park’s proposal will not be made for months, busloads of churchgoers are tipped to go tonight to back the cemetery expansion.

St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church priest Fr Steven Scoutas said the proposal was a win-win situation because the market gardens would still acquire the same amount of land.

“There is a real need here for burial space and our people are really concerned about it,” he said. “Common sense needs to prevail.”

NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, who visited the gardens last week, said she didn’t want concrete to win over food-growing like it had in most of Sydney.

“The La Perouse plots have been farmed by families for over 80 years,” she said. “These market gardens must be valued and protected for the sake of food security and local heritage. ”

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on26 May 12 at 07:32am

Good question Lynda,who advised the Botany Cemetery Trust to purchase the CROWN LAND? Why were the Chinese Market Gardens not given the same option? Why wasn’t this land put to tender? Then again I suppose if it was put to tender the Botany Cemetery Trust would have probably won it, it seems even in death money speaks all languages!

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on23 May 12 at 06:51pm

In reply to Barry’s comments: This is not grandstanding. The Gardens were zoned Residential 2B. The rezoning to RU4 in the new LEP aligns with current and historical use. Residential zoning was never appropriate because the land is floodplain.

It is not a choice between Bok Choy or bodies. Only a minority bury and it is possible to find land that is unsuitable for growing food.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on23 May 12 at 06:46pm

You have reported that the “Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park lodged a separate proposal, as advised by the state government, to buy 60 per cent of the 7ha garden site just days after the council finalised its draft report.”

Could you please identify who in the NSW State Government advised the Botany Cemetery Trust regarding a proposal to PURCHASE CROWN LAND. What is under threat next – La Perouse Primary School just south of the Market Gardens is on Crown Land. Numbers there are under 50.

Barrywrites:
Posted on22 May 12 at 08:20pm

Bok Choy or bodies, this issue will never be go away unless people stop dying. Why is there such a hurry with this issues, is it just that there is a Council election coming up and some people want to grandstand?

gordonwrites:
Posted on22 May 12 at 06:35pm

Why do people want buried spots for the future than vegetables to eat now?.People don’t think your health is more important.

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A matter of grave concern 15 MAY 12 @ 06:15AM BY LEESA SMITH

GREENS MP Jeremy Buckingham lodged a petition in parliament last week to ensure the Chinese Market Gardens are protected from a proposal to expand Botany Cemetery.

Mr Buckingham said food security and sustainable employment were big issues for the future and reducing food miles was an important social focal point for local communities: “It is win, win, win’‘.

See what the Randwick mayor Scott Nash thinks on the issue

Randwick Council Greens South Ward James MacDonald said the low-lying market site was flood-prone making it unsuitable for burials but ideal for food production.

“Their destruction would be a terrible loss for the culture and sustainability of La Perouse,” he said.

Randwick mayor Scott Nash said although he would support the council’s proposed rezoning for the market site from residential to rural, he also endorsed the memorial park’s need to expand.

“Sydney is running out of burial space,” he said. “The Greek, Jewish and Muslim faiths do not allow cremation. We have to respect that.”

Randwick councillors Anthony Andrews and Charles Matthews said the people had spoken and the council must allow the cemetery to expand.

Cr Anthony Andrews said it was a no-brainer.

“The local community has spoken loud and clear,’ he said. “They want the cemetery to expand, and they want it to happen now.”

The garden’s destruction would be a `‘terrible loss for the culture and sustainability of La Perouse’’ _ Randwick Council Greens South Ward James MacDonald.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on29 May 12 at 07:27pm

Mr Xylas, I am confident that Councillor Bellei will do the right thing by the community he represents. Besides Labor, Liberal & Greens there are such things as common sense, right & wrong, for the benefit of the entire community, whether they realise it or not. Councillor Bellei comes across as an honest guy and he will do what he thinks is right and not be stood over by his political party to gain votes.

John Xylaswrites:
Posted on15 May 12 at 11:08pm

What’s you mate Councillor Bellei doing on this one?

Carlos Da Rochawrites:
Posted on15 May 12 at 06:47am

Mr Mayor I hope like many others that you decide to protect the grower’s gardens. We grieve for the dead the passing of friends and loved ones but we must also celebrate the living and protect assets such as the market growers gardens. Hope to have your support. Just a bit of information for you to consider, we need to look at our history and look into the future. Preserve and protect for future generations. Gordon Ha is a second generation Chinese Market Gardener on Botany Bay Sydney. He and brother Terry provide fresh produce to local outlets. The farm has been a market garden for over 150 years. Mr Mayor Scott Nash, councillors, Please don’t let this great use of land be reduced to a portion, We need it to be a part of our future, This is what makes Randwick Council a great council and great area to live, We have everything, open space, national parks, history, great communities spirit. Protect, preserve, look after, look into the future we need this grower’s gardens to be a part of our development into the future.

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Mayor supports expansion of Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park 10 MAY 12 @ 02:19PM

Randwick Mayor Scott Nash has confirmed he sees merit in a proposed expansion of the Botany Cemetery by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, subject to resolving all planning and heritage issues in respect of any such expansion.

Cr Nash’s remarks come after a significant community response to the council’s proposed zoning of the Chinese Market Gardens site as part of the draft Local Environmental Plan. The council’s draft LEP, which was on public exhibition recently, proposes to zone the Chinese Market Gardens site to “RU 4”, a rural zone which prohibits cemeteries.

Cr Nash has met with the stakeholders, including local residents and recently met with the CEO of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Mr George Passas.

During a recent meeting, Mr Passas confirmed to Cr Nash that the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park would lodge a planning proposal with the council to have 60 per cent of the Chinese Market Gardens site rezoned to permit cemeteries. The remaining 40 per cent of the market gardens would be protected. The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park has now lodged a planning proposal with the Council, following the advice of the Department of Planning.

Cr Nash said: “Sydney is running out of burial space. The Greek, Jewish and Muslim faiths do not allow cremation. We have to respect that. This proposal appears to be an appropriate balance because it allows the Chinese Market Gardens to remain, but at the same time allows the cemetery to expand.

Subject to the planning and heritage issues being resolved, I think the proposal has merit.”

Cr Nash said he will recommend on May 22 via a mayoral minute, when the draft LEP is reported back to the council, that the council at this stage support retaining the RU 4 zone (which makes cemeteries prohibited), but endorse the planning process involving the assessment of the planning proposal by council.

If the planning and heritage issues can be resolved, Cr Nash agrees that there is significant merit in allowing cemetery uses to be permissible over 60 per cent of the existing Chinese Market Gardens site.

Lynwrites:
Posted on29 Jun 12 at 01:18pm

Paul if we are handing back land then it would go to the Australian Aborigines. The Chinese Gardeners did not take this land from anyone, that happened before their time. They have legal leases and have operated those leases for over 100 years, providing fresh produce to the local region. I think we are lucky to have a culturally significant site such as this where not only the site but the fabric and actual use is still in operation. This is a rare find and we should protect it for everyone in the community, it is wonderful. As for cultures who opt for burial I am one and this will just have to be dealt with in another way. Regardless of our faith, heritage is for everyone and I will not let Eastern Memorial Park use my faith to scare me into supporting their land grab at the expense of these magnificent gardeners and keepers of local heritage. I hope that the Greek, Aboriginal, Jewish and Muslim faiths refuse to be used also. If you want to see how they use the land they already have go down and have a look. They don’t need land, they need management.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on26 May 12 at 09:11am

Paul, I feel that you are a bit confused, do you mean hand the land back to the ENTIRE community or just the SELECTIVE PARTS OF THE COMMUNITY THAT SUPPORT THE EXPANSION? That was a very large assumption”, THE MAJORITY OF THE GOOD PEOPLE IN THE AREA ” want to bury their dead. Who on earth has the right to judge who is good and who is bad? Are you bad because you choose to be cremated? The people who reside in close proximity to the gardens , the cemetery. port Botany etc. These are the people who are affected more than anyone by the pollution in the air. This area needs as much GREEN OPEN AIR SPACE left as possible. What happens if the expansion is approved and then that land fulls up? Unfortunately, eventually burial will become a tradition of the past, because we will run out of the land for the living. There has already been changes in other parts of the world, Greece is an example.The Chinese Market Garden has been selling their produce for years and noone has been ill yet, is that what you are really concerned about? We have a duty of care for the future living generations, we are only caretakers of this land that will be passed on to our future families.

Gordonwrites:
Posted on16 May 12 at 01:32pm

The land is not contaminated as to Paul comment.What proof has Paul have that he have said that the land is contaminated.I think that he only knows because of the push from the cemetery that he said that.We appreciated that the people who runs the chinese garden on that site would have a better knowledge about the site ,if they have run there business for time amount of time.

Paulwrites:
Posted on16 May 12 at 10:33am

The Mayor of Randwick Council is to be highly commended for his support of the ESMP (Botany Cemetery) to expand the cemetery by utilising the adjacent Market Garden land. The gardens are used by a handful of gardeners growing vegetables in contaminated water and soil and selling it to local food outlets. I wouldn’t want anyone to consume such food as it is a possible health risk. After paying a pittance rent to Randwick Council for this government owned land for abouit 80 years the time has surely arrived for these gardeners to say thankyou to the community and hand the land back to the community for the benefit of the entire community. The majority of good people in the area want to bury their dead and then show their respect by commemorating and remembering their loved ones who have departed this earthly life.

Peter Bensonwrites:
Posted on14 May 12 at 01:59am

To suggest that Botany Cemetry is only for wealthy Greeks, Jews and Muslims denegrates all those local people and their families who are laid to rest. Those I know to whom I pay my respects are not the wealthy, but those who have lived through depression, seved their country during wars with distinction and been wonderful local residents. May they rest in peace.

Carlos Da Rochawrites:
Posted on13 May 12 at 08:29am

Market gardens

Mr Mayor Scott Nash, councillors, Re: Growers Market Gardens

Mr Mayor I hope like many others that you decide to protect the growers gardens. We grieve for the dead the passing of friends and loved ones but we must also celebrate the living and protect assets such as the market growers gardens. Hope to have your support.

Just a bit of information for you to consider, we need to look at our history and look into the future. Preserve and protect for future generations. Gordon Ha is a second generation Chinese Market Gardener on Botany Bay Sydney. He and brother Terry provide fresh produce to local outlets. The farm has been a market garden for over 150 years.

Mr Mayor Scott Nash, Councillors, Please Dont let this great use of land be reduced to a portion, We need it to be a par of our future, This is what makes Randwick Council a great Council and Great area to live, We have everything, open space, National parks, history, great communities spirit. Protect, preserve, look after, look into the future we need this growers gardens to be a part of our development into the future. Regards, Carlos

Gordonwrites:
Posted on12 May 12 at 08:00pm

I couldn’t agree more with the above comments. With the full respect for the people buried at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park I have to say that there are no many places in the world where cemeteries have the ocean view. Wouldn’t it be better to relocate ORICA and expand the Eastern Suburb Cemetery?

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on10 May 12 at 04:13pm

On Tuesday evening at the Orica community meeting for the HCB stockpile and carpark waste a community member asked what would happen to the carpark now that the chlorinated waste had been removed. She was told that there was a development application submitted in 2010 for a 20 lot subdivision for light industrial. Around here light industrial usually means warehousing with more heavy vehicles added to the local road network. In response to this the community member suggested that rather than expand into the productive La Perouse Market Gardens the cemetery could expand here. It has been reported that the Cemetery Trust can get 10,000 to 15,000 grave sites out of the market gardens. At $12,000 a site that’s over $100 million, less extensive engineering costs for converting floodplain. The former carpark site would not require expensive engineering works. What about some creative land use policy.

Sherry Buttwrites:
Posted on10 May 12 at 03:38pm

Is it just me or does anyone else think the living are more important than the dead? I respect life. If any persons faith is that strong, no matter what religion, they would travel anywhere to show respect for their beloved deceased. I am a believer that while you keep the person in your heart they will never die. Sherry

Heritage on the chinese market gardens 12 DEC 11 @ 06:22PM BY LEESA SMITH

THE Chinese market gardens could be rezoned in an attempt to protect its heritage status.

Randwick councillors proposed that the 150-year-old site, which neighbours the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, be rezoned from residential to rural as part of the council’s draft local environmental plan at the planning meeting last Tuesday.

Councillors Anthony Andrews and Charles Matthews unsuccessfully attempted to rezone the 7ha lot to special uses to allow cemetery use.

Australian Heritage Institute president Andrew Woodhouse said the move was “kleptocracy, not democracy”.

“It would have stolen the current users’ rights to run their business,” he said. “This is a victory for sustainability and heritage.”

But Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Trust CEO George Passas said it had proposed to acquire 60 per cent of the gardens for burial space while retaining 40 per cent of the gardens.

“We can combine an enhanced heritage interpretation and actual farm, showing Asian, European and Aboriginal heritage with the historic tours we intend for the cemetery,” he said. “Forty per cent of the gardens have been unoccupied since April.”

Mr Passas said he was looking forward to the councillors visiting the Crown-owned land.

“I really think they’ll find that our proposal is an excellent win-win compromise,” he said “The alternative is to bury local people near Penrith and that is denying many older citizens the practical right to visit loved ones.”

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on16 Dec 11 at 11:49am

The Trust propose to expand the cemetery from Matraville into the adjoining suburb of Phillip Bay. The Crown Lands report of 2008 stated that the Phillip Bay land was unsuitable for grave sites because it is floodplain. Mr Passas could be looking at higher ground. There may be opportunities to expand within Matraville into sites where containers are stacked. When Council rezones the area for food production Crown Lands could approve long lease agreements as they do for other activities, eg. horseracing, golf, and the gardeners who are currently on 1 year licences would have some certainty.

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Grave concern for the Chinese market gardens, 5 DEC 11 @ 06:21PM BY LEESA SMITH

RECENT moves by some councillors could jeopardise the 150-year-old Chinese market gardens, Greens councillor Murray Matson has claimed.

The ongoing debate of who is more deserved of the Matraville land reared its head again at the council meeting last month when one of council’s discussion papers proposed the land be rezoned from residential to rural to protect the gardens that have been operating for about 150 years.

Councillors Anthony Andrews and Charles Matthews called for council to meet with the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park staff to discuss their proposal for the land and to request the Department of Lands as landowner attend an inspection of the site with all concerned parties.

Cr Matson said south ward constituents want the gardens to remain.

“By seeking a meeting they are flagging the department that council is on the side of the memorial park,” he said. “We are seen as lobbyists for their cause.”

Matraville Precinct chair Carlos Da Rocha said he understood like many that cemetery space was running out but so was land like the gardens.

“There are not many areas where people can see gardens like we have in the south east ward area – people working hard to create local produce,” he said.

But south ward councillor Charles Matthews said he had not heard from any residents who were in favour of the gardens.

“The only way we can fix it up is the memorial park get in there and do the work that they want to do – put more graves there,” he said.

A council spokesman said the heritage significance of the gardens was unquestionable.

“It’s listed as a local heritage item in council’s planning controls and listed as a state heritage item and this year the National Trust also listed it on their national register,” he said.

“Council has a strongly held view that the Chinese market gardens should be retained and protected because of its significant historical and cultural value.”

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on6 Dec 11 at 06:17pm

On 29/11/11 I wrote to all Councillors, residents in South Ward, Senator Thistlethwaite, Messra Daley and Garrett, Karen Armstrong in support of the Gardens. Other residents also wrote. Some points made include – the unsuitability for graves (as per Crown Lands Division report http://www.lpma.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/77005/Chinese_Market_Gardens_draft_assessment.pdf ); would mean encroachment of Cemetery into Phillip Bay; unique gardens should be celebrated in 2012 “Year of the Farmer”; Chinese History at La Perouse (which includes the first Chinese in the colony with the Laperouse expedition) would be highlighted (Chinese tourists spend more nights in Sydney than any others and a growing market) and I also said: Finally, I would suggest that when Councillors do meet with Trustees and the CEO of the ESMP that they ask them to consider expansion on higher ground. Instead of attempting to displace people who are producing food for local markets and converting productive food producing land into gravesites they could look at converting some shipping container space instead. There is land on Military Road that could be rezoned for cemetery use.

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Chinese Market Gardens gain national heritage listing BUSINESS 1 JUN 11 @ 10:40AM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

The tide has turned on a proposal to expand Botany Cemetery after the Chinese Market Gardens were listed on a national heritage register.

A shortage of space in Sydney’s east led management of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, which incorporates Botany Cemetery, to submit a plan to the State Government to acquire 60 per cent of the adjacent market gardens, a 7ha slice of crown land.

Memorial park CEO George Passas has said if no extra burial plots were made available, people opposed to cremation would be forced to look elsewhere for their final resting place within 12 years, when the cemetery reaches capacity.

The religious community has come out in support of the proposal and a study into the market gardens commissioned by the memorial park has found levels of heavy metals in the water used to irrigate the vegetables, which were later found to be acceptable.

But those wishing to cop a plot in the extended local cemetery could be dissapointed after the National Trust of Australia (NSW) listed the Chinese Market Gardens on its heritage register.

Despite the listing not carrying any legal force, Randwick Mayor Murray Matson, who has sworn to protect the low lying market gardens from development, welcomed the announcement last week.

“The Chinese Market Gardens is the oldest market garden operating in Randwick City,” he said.

“Its heritage significance is unquestionable. It’s listed as a local heritage item in council’s planning controls, it’s listed as a state heritage item and just this month the National Trust also listed it on their national register.

“Council has a strongly held view that the Chinese Market Gardens should be retained and protected because of its significant historical and cultural value.

Cr Matson said council was exploring the possibility of rezoning the land as Rural Small Holdings “to reflect and protect its agricultural status”.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of the memorial park receiving approval to expand into the cemetery took another blow when the proposal was recently sent back by the new State Government to Randwick Council for determination.

Cr Matson said the water table level at the market gardens was too high for the establishment of a cemetery.

Memorial Park CEO George Passas was not available to comment.

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Market Gardens value in dispute  5 APR 11 @ 12:52PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

A state government trust seeking to acquire the majority of Matraville’s heritage listed Chinese Market Gardens has downplayed the Chinese community’s historical connection with the land.

In a letter to the mayor of Randwick heritage consultant Paul Rappoport argued the 7ha market gardens were first cultivated by Chinese farmers about 100 years ago, not 150 years ago as has been previously asserted.

Mr Rappoport, who was writing on behalf of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Trust, said the “continuosly incorrect reference” to the Chinese gardeners having remained on the land for 150 years had been “a major sticking point” in the trust’s proposed acquisition of 60 per cent of the gardens.

“The fact is the land only became market gardens in 1904 and the Chinese market gardeners only started farming there from between 1918 and 1923,” Mr Rappoport wrote.

He went on to claim the Chinese gardeners sole use of the land did not properly reflect “parallel significances”, which he listed as Aboriginal, ecological and burial significances.

He then called for the council’s support for the proposed acquisition, which he said would allow the trust to construct a Chinese temple and offer public access to sacred Aboriginal burial places on the site.

But Chinese Heritage Association of Australia president Daphne Lowe-Kelley said the retention of the market gardens was important for local food production.

“The significance is these are commercial Chinese market gardeners and they’re growing food which is going to feed part of the Sydney population. And when you think about how close these gardens are to the consumer, that’s very important… you can put monuments anywhere but you can’t grow food anywhere.”

Meanwhile Chinese market gardener Terry Ha said the trust would “try anything to get rid of us”, but that the gardeners were determined to stay put.

What do you think?

 Tony Punwrites:
Posted on6 Apr 11 at 03:43pm

Is there a difference in heritage listing when it is 100 years old or 150 years old. It is a good try to trivialize the issue, but it won’t work. Scaremongering has been tried the last time, it did not work either. When is the next volley? I just remembered that there is a new government in NSW and maybe Mr O’Farrell can restructure the ESMP Trust. Land grows food for the living, it is a heritage listed land, and with high water table, it is not suitable as burial grounds. Get it?

Cassandra Frenchwrites:
Posted on6 Apr 11 at 12:23pm

I fully support the protection of the historic Chinese Market Gardens and totally oppose the tenacity of the cemetary – or the Memorial Trust as they refer to themselves as – to acquire this land. One week the claim is the soil is contaminated – false. The next the Chinese have only been on the site for 100 years not 150 years. This land was cultivated by Europeans up until the 1860s and when the gold rush hit at this time, large numbers of Chinese migrants moved into the area – they soon took over the cultivation of the market gardens, which at the time were extensive. This small plot of Crown land is listed on the State Heritage Register and is the only remaining site in the area and therefore should be fiercely protected against developers. These are commercial gardens providing food for our city – something essential and worthy. The cemetery wants to obliterate these gardens for burial plots. The water table on this land is extremely high and extensive engineering would be required to make the land useable to bury the dead. City land is precious and should be used to sustain and nurture life. The cemetery land is already expansive. Cassandra French, Darlinghurst

Robyn Stinsonwrites:
Posted on6 Apr 11 at 10:50am

Gardens Value in Dispute

Arguing, as the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Trust does about whether the Chinese Market Gardens are 100 or 150 years old and claiming this distinction is “a major sticking point”, is pathetic.

Am I the only one who considers it ludicrous to propose taking land that is feeding the living to provide somewhere to bury the dead?

Robyn

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Green leafy dilemma  8 MAR 11 @ 01:35PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

A report has raised possible contamination concerns about the vegetables grown at the Chinese Market Gardens. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

A report has raised possible contamination concerns about the vegetables grown at the Chinese Market Gardens. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Claims that water feeding the Chinese market gardens at Matraville is contaminated with heavy metals are now under investigation.

A spokesman for Lands Minister Tony Kelly said an earlier report indicated no contamination issues but the NSW Health and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) was now reviewing a new report presented to the department in February.

“Randwick Council is the appropriate regulatory authority in this instance and DECCW has referred the alleged water contamination issues to them for them to follow up,” he said.

Randwick Mayor Murray Matson said council officers were reviewing the reports from DECCW and NSW Health.

“Fruit and vegetables have been grown at the Chinese market for the past 150 years earning it state heritage significance on the State Heritage Register,” Cr Matson said. “It is also the oldest market garden operating in Randwick City. There are few remaining examples of market gardens growing produce locally in metropolitan Sydney. For this reason alone it is unique and should be retained.”

Market gardener Terry Ha has questioned the validity of the report, commissioned by the Memorial Park.

But the Memorial Park’s chief executive, George Passas, said the market gardens, which sit immediately south of the Memorial Park and Botany Cemetery, were no longer viable and should be shut on public health grounds.

The Memorial Park has called on the Government to release 60 per cent of the market gardens to expand Botany Cemetery.

 Maria Stamatakiswrites:
Posted on9 Mar 11 at 12:40pm

We need more market gardens, not less. In some parts of the world, after a certain number of years, the grave is dug up and the bones wrapped in a parcel and put on shelves in a building especially built for this purpose. This is what should be happening here. The cemetery is big enough. The length of time before the grave is dug up would need to depend on the circumstances.

Lisawrites:
Posted on8 Mar 11 at 08:10pm
so does the Memorial Park want the gardens shut down because of health fears or because they want 60% of the land? Who presented or commissioned the new report alleging contamination – sure hope that WASN’T the Memorial Park. Can the Courier provide any further information on who commissioned the second report? One would hope that it was totally independent.
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Heavy metals found in water used on Chinese market gardens
  • BUSINESS 28 FEB 11 @ 05:26PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL
Water used on market garden vegetables grown at Matraville has been found to contain heavy metals.

Water used on market garden vegetables grown at Matraville has been found to contain heavy metals.

A new report has found water used on the vegetables grown at the Chinese Market Gardens at Matraville is contaminated with heavy metals.

A report obtained exclusively by the Southern Courier, commissioned by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, has revealed the soil of the 7ha gardens are laced with chromium, copper, mercury, zinc and DDT.

The report, which is the latest volley in a long-running stoush between the market gardeners and Memorial Park management, has thrown into question the suitability of the site that has been used to grow vegetables for more than 150 years.

A team of experts including agronomists, environmental scientists, and ecologists have recommended distribution of the vegetables grown at the site stop since establishing water used to irrigate the vegetables was drawn from the Botany Sand Aquifer.

“The continued operation of vegetable cropping over a contaminated site such as this is in my opinion a risk to human health, and it may be prudent to stop all cropping and sale of produce from the site,’’ Peak Land agronomist Ted Smith wrote.

The park’s chief executive officer George Passas said the report left no doubt that the gardens should be shut on public health grounds.

When told of the findings, Chinese market gardener Terry Ha said there was no indication the water was contaminated.

“I don’t believe it’s true,’’ he said.

“We’ve been here for 70 years, and we’ve used the creek water for more than 100 years. The vegetables are still nice and green, and no one’s been sick.’‘

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Lands Minister Tony Kelly said the government’s own investigation into the quality of the land revealed an acceptable level of contamination.

“The Land and Property Manage-ment Authority received the study from the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park in December last year and referred it to NSW Health and DECCW,’’ he said.

“NSW Health and DECCW investigated and found the levels of contamination are below the Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council guidelines for irrigation water.’‘

Mr Passas challenged the government to release the report.

The Memorial Park is also waiting for a response from the government regarding its request for the use of 60 per cent of the market gardens for the expansion of the Botany Cemetery.

Residents concerned about possible health risks from exposure to groundwater are encouraged to contact South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Public Health Unit on 9382 8333.

Cazzawrites:
Posted on4 Apr 11 at 10:40pm

What is so different to the crap you find in the supermarkets, which probably contain more chemicals and poisons!?

Heath Baumwrites:
Posted on3 Mar 11 at 09:24am

Where is this produce sold, so people who do or do not want to eat it can make their own decision to purchase it.

Carlos Da Rochawrites:
Posted on1 Mar 11 at 09:18am

We must do what ever it takes to ensure that we keep the Chinese gardens in operation. If the water is contaminated then the state government should find ways to fix this problem. The Chinese gardens are a vital part of our future and we should do what we can to preserve this site, as it is a part of our local communities. If the water is contaminated then find ways to fix it. If anything the site government should find ways to ensure that the local community get to benefit by being able to buy local produce grown within our community. We do not want for the Chinese gardens site to become a development we want the gardens to stay as is, Improve the water quality and find ways to get the community involved in learning about growing fresh herbs, vegetables etc. Carlos from Matraville

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Faiths unite on Phillip Bay cemetery  15 NOV 10 @ 04:40PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

Father Dominic Ceresoli supports a plan to extend Botany cemetery. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Father Dominic Ceresoli supports a plan to extend Botany cemetery. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Plans to uproot a commercial vegetable patch in Phillip Bay to make way for burial plots have united three of the largest religious communities in Sydney’s southeast.

The Roman Catholic Church has joined the Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities to support the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Trust in a campaign to acquire almost two thirds of the Chinese market gardens.

The plan would allow the extension of Botany Cemetery by 4ha and would mean two of the three families that cultivate the land would be forced out.

Father Dominic Ceresoli, the parish priest of the Saint Therese Church at Mascot, said there was a “real need” for the acquisition to “cope with the ageing of our community and an acute shortage of burial space”.

Memorial Trust CEO George Passas estimated the cemetery will have reached capacity within 12 years, a shortage of space made worse by a common aversion to cremation.

Father Ceresoli said despite the Catholic Church’s relaxed stance regarding cremation, for many Catholics in the area it was not an option. “It has to be remembered, vast numbers in our community came to Australia in the 1950s,” he said. “It is on the back of these immigrants, be they Italian, Greek, Maltese and others, that the prosperity of Mascot and Botany has evolved.

“It is a matter of fairness that their wishes be taken into account.”

But a Department of Lands study dated May 2008 found the land was “not suitable for the establishment of a cemetery” given its susceptibility to flooding and erosion. However a spokesman for the trust said it was “more than happy to say the plans it has are feasible and practical”.

Meanwhile, Randwick Mayor Murray Matson has vowed to continue to fight the transfer of land and said he would ask his fellow councillors to support a resolution to approach the State Government to have the land zoned rural.

“I think any State Government that is conscious of environmentally sustainable development principles would hesitate to give away viable farmland in an urban situation when it could be retained,” Cr Matson said.

 Dead Endwrites:
Posted on29 Mar 11 at 11:35am

Will the three denominations purchase the site ( since they do charge hefty prices for internment),or do they want more charity? The market gardens are located on a low lying flood prone area. Very good location for growing plants , but not the best location for planting bodies(no pun intended) Utilise the existing graves, build multi storey crypts on the smaller cemeteries in the Eastern Suburbs. No, i shouldn’t say that , by god how will they live without their ocean views? Just purchase a plot at Waverley and enjoy the views just don’t worry about a few old gardens down by the sea.

Johnwrites:
Posted on25 Nov 10 at 10:55am

Save the gardens for the living and find an alternate location or solution for the grave yard. Local produce contributes to a sustainable future. Shame on these religious officers and their vested interest in power over common sense. I hope council continue to oppose this farce.

Sheila Fieldingwrites:
Posted on21 Nov 10 at 07:54am

I am absolutely appalled by Father Ceresoli’s comments on the need to acquire two thirds of the market garden adjacent to Botany Cemetry. Surely the needs of the living require more respect than the dead. All faiths, I understand, believe that the soul leaves the body on death and what is left is a shell or husk, of no value. Why then must valuable arable land be sacrificed for something of no value? The maket gardens are more sacred and precious to life than a memorial to a dead person, soon forgot in the passage of time. But market gardens, properly nurtured, live on in perpetuity to feed the living. If some people must be buried, recycle the burial sites of people long gone and forgotten. Please leave our market garden alone!

Pushing up Daisieswrites:
Posted on18 Nov 10 at 09:49am

I apprecialte the sanctify of a Christian burial… but do not feel we should bury our living history – the Chinese market gardens – to extend the present cemetry. Why do cemetries have to be so huge – why not create smaller cemetries in each suburb – these could double as pleasant parkland and easier accessiblity to visit. Leave our veggie patches alone and pull down some eyes-sores instead.. We would remember and honour our deceased more if they were buried among us. Even back to church yards – am sure there are heaps of sites that could be adapted.

Cassandra Frenchwrites:
Posted on16 Nov 10 at 04:11pm

I absolutely support keeping the market gardens in Botany and believe the church should be planning on finding alternative space to bury their dead. These gardens are of high heritage value with enormous cultural and historical significance to this city and this should be protected, by our government. Ironically, this should also be protected by the very churches that wish to destroy them. It is absurd to consider future expansion for any inner city cemeteries because there is a need to continue planting bodies and a growing shortage of land. These Chinese market gardens were established before any dead were buried in the nearby cemetary. They are viable and successful, supplying many nearby restaurants and greengrocers, as well as selling produce at Flemington Markets. What is of more value here? Planting bodies over parsley – I think keep planting the parsley and in 12 years time when the land out at Botany is full of hundreds more dead bodies, than it is time to stop burying. Maintain and protect the market gardens which sustain life and reflect the history of our city. It is outrageous to be pressured by powerful religious bodies greedily eyeing off the neighbours plot

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Jews support cemetery plans  19 OCT 10 @ 09:02AM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

Rabbi David Rogut has leant his support to a campaign to expand the Botany Cemetery at the expense of neighbouring Chinese Market Gardens. Picture: Elenor Tedenborg

Rabbi David Rogut has leant his support to a campaign to expand the Botany Cemetery at the expense of neighbouring Chinese Market Gardens. Picture: Elenor Tedenborg

The Jewish community has become the latest religious denomination to support a plan to expand Botany Cemetery into the Chinese Market Gardens.

Currently being considered by the state government, the plan submitted by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, which incorporates Botany Cemetery, calls for 60 per cent of the gardens to be transferred for use as burial space.

Despite many among the wider community condemning the plan, a powerful Jewish leader has thrown his group’s weight behind the move.

Spiritual Dean of the Montefiore Homes at Randwick, Woollahra and Hunters Hill, Rabbi David Rogut last week echoed the Greek Church’s calls in support of the plan.

Concerned about the cemetery’s diminishing space, the Memorial Park’s Chief Executive Officer George Passous estimated it will have reached capacity within 12 years, the Rabbi called for action.

“We need to compromise here for the greater good,” he said.

“This is an issue for people of all religions and goodwill who seek to bury their loved ones with respect and dignity and to conform with their ancient traditions.”

The market gardens rest on 7ha of Crown land cultivated by three Chinese families. One version of the region’s history dates the site’s usage back to the arrival of comte de La Perouse in 1788.

The site was heritage listed in 1999 by Randwick Council for its significance to the Chinese community.

Rabbi Rogut said he was satisfied with undertakings given by the Memorial Park to protect the cultural heritage of the gardens.

“The Chinese gardens will remain, if in a reduced form, and the Memorial Park has given firm undertakings that the cultural history of the Chinese in the area, as well as that of the Aborigines and other groups, will be protected and recognised.”

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Market debate intensifies 18 OCT 10 @ 03:02PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

Terry Ha and brother Gordon Ha and their family have been cultivating the land of what is known as the Chinese Market Gardens for about 50 years and are fighting to prevent the State Government from transferring their land for use by the Botany Cemetery. Photo: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Terry Ha and brother Gordon Ha and their family have been cultivating the land of what is known as the Chinese Market Gardens for about 50 years and are fighting to prevent the State Government from transferring their land for use by the Botany Cemetery. Photo: ELENOR TEDENBORG

the CASE AGAINST

Supporters of the Chinese market gardens have latched onto a government study they say proves the low lying wetland would be unsuitable as burial space.

The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Trust, which takes in Botany Cemetery, has submitted a plan to the State Government to claim 60 per cent of the adjacent market gardens.

But a study into the suitability of the Crown land purportedly conducted in 2008 at the request of the memorial trust has found in favour of legumes over leg space.

President of the Chinese Heritage Association of Australia Daphne Lowe-Kelley, said a lot of work on the low lying gardens would be required before anyone could be buried there.

“Regardless of whether you’re Jewish, Greek or Chinese that land is swampland,” she said.“Therefore there will have to be extreme engineering works to change that environment completely, and even then I don’t know how successful that will be because the water table will still be very high.”

Randwick Council has also come out in support of preserving the gardens, which are cultivated by three families who produce Asian greens, herbs and continental vegetables, 40 per cent of which goes to local restaurants such as The New Dong Dong Noodles and Pinangsia Noodle in Kingsford.

The rest is delivered to the Flemington Markets.

“Randwick Council agrees with the draft assessment, which found that the site ‘is not suitable for the establishment of a cemetery’ and that ‘the site currently has a high capability for agriculture, and is functioning very successfully in this purpose’.”

Meanwhile, market gardener Terry Ha said suggestions that two of the three families could be moved to Matraville if the plan were approved were disturbing.

“We were told that if it goes ahead we could be relocated to a horse paddock in Matraville. But that would be difficult because we use chicken manure as fertilizer.

“Now only dead people smell it, but it would smell out people from their houses.

__________________________________________________________

Kingsford Greek Orthodox Church says souls ‘outweigh’ salads in cemetery debate  14 SEP 10 @ 11:22AM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

Fr Steven Scoutas wants Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park to acquire the Chinese market gardens.

Fr Steven Scoutas wants Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park to acquire the Chinese market gardens.

The Greek Orthodox Church has broken its silence to support a plan to expand the Botany cemetery into the neighbouring Chinese market gardens.

The parish priest at St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Kingsford and spokesman for Archbishop Stylianos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, Father Steven Scoutas has become a voice for the concerns about diminishing burial space.

“It’s of great concern to the church that vegetables are regarded to be of greater heritage value than that of human beings,” he said. “Nothing is more sacred than the human person.”

Father Steven, who blamed consecutive governments for failing to secure additional land for the cemetery during the past 30 years, said thousands of his parishioners had signed a petition on the issue.

“The Greek Orthodox Church has voiced serious concerns for many years about this acute shortage of burial spaces. Archbishop Stylianos, Primate of the Church in Australia, again raised the matter in 2006 with the State Government.

“This is vital, not only for Christians, but for our brothers and sisters of other religions as well.

“The deceased should be afforded every dignity. Their personal contribution to the shaping of the nation and the heritage of the world should not be devalued.”

A shortage of space in Sydney’s east has led management of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, which incorporates Botany cemetery, to submit a plan to the State Government to acquire 60 per cent of the adjacent heritage-listed market gardens, a 7ha slice of crown land off Bunnerong Rd in Matraville.

The submission has divided the community between those who would prefer to see the land remain with the living, the three families who cultivate the gardens, and those more concerned about the diminishing space to bury their loved ones.

Chinese community and heritage groups are opposing the planned resumption of the market gardens at La Perouse for use as a cemetery. The land on which the market gardens sit has been used for food production for more than 150 years, and managed by Chinese gardeners for more than a century.

But the management of the cemetery has claimed that without the land transfer it will run out of burial space within 12 years. The situation has been worsened by cultural sensitivities surrounding burial practices. Cremation is forbidden by some religions.

Traceywrites:
Posted on12 Oct 10 at 09:46pm

My mum passed away at 83yrs & lived in the area for 60 of them & placed in the botany memorial gardens, but for at least 30 years that i can remember she had often commented on how wonderful it would have been to buy from these gardens & be supportive of local people & its buisness ! Yes Andrew & Rose thankyou for stating how the value of this land is worth more to the people who are making a living from this land &, their livelihood is justified in the here & now & i know my good ole mum would feel the same way without a doubt as mums community spirit lives on through me in the land of the living. Thank you mum for your old fashioned commonsense.

emmawrites:
Posted on20 Sep 10 at 11:33am

Why is nobody discussing the option of suitable cemetery design in this debate? It is not such a black and white issue – let’s think outside of the box here. Is it possible to design the cemetery in such a way that more spaces are available for future burial?

Peterwrites:
Posted on17 Sep 10 at 08:53am

Perhaps the headline on next week’s paper could read Living v Dead as a balance to this weeks headline, with some comment from people who want to keep the food producing gardens where they are. Maybe they could also limit the size of the burial sites as the ones fronting Bunnerong rd seem rather large to me,which would in turn create more space.This seems to be driven by a private company ie Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park who advertise in your paper .

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on16 Sep 10 at 08:09pm

Sam and John, I suggest you take a look at the State Environmental Planning Policy that covers the Port Precinct see link – http://laperouse.info/?p=579 It was brought in by Joe Tripodi last year. The Memorial Park is boxed in. Funeral Corteges now have to travel through the Port Precinct to access the Memorial Park. The Department of Lands report on the Chinese Market Gardens recommended that the floodplain land could be used for conservation and agriculture but was not suitable for graves. There is neighbouring land but it is zoned for port related activities like warehousing. This could be done elsewhere at intermodal terminals but as you say John, moving the cemetery would be more difficult.

n, moving the cemetery would be more difficult.

Sam D.writes:
Posted on16 Sep 10 at 02:26pm

Andrew Woodhouse, perhaps some respect that the Steven Scoutas you refer to is a Rev.Steven Scoutas.(married with children read up on it) rather than personal attacks might help your point get across.

I am not Greek Orthodox. I will have myself cremated. However, i am a nurse at Prince of Wales and have been present when Father Scoutas has had to read the last rights of people for well it must be more than 18years i have been at Randwick and he is one of the most approachable priests i have ever met.

As the article says the real issue is the failing governments that can not allocate land for the dead. I read an interesting article regarding Lone Pine Cemetery in the United States it is under the constitution they will seize land e.t.c if and when the cemetery needs expansions that is called forward thinking.

Who cares about monetary value, we spend hundreds of millions on football stadiums and protecting lands and cycle ways. How about we spend money in two areas that will always be used. Health in hospitals and Death in cemetery.

Johnwrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 06:40pm

We need to keep in mind the fact that every religion that buries it’s deceased will be effected once burial space runs out, not just the one in the article. Most religions that burry would feel the same way.

More burial space will be needed soon, you can’t argue against that fact – there will always be someone that wants to burry. The question is, do you create a new cemetery, or move the gardens and keep the cemetery in one place?

And when you think about it, it is only human emotion that will stop a garden being moved – it’s just a place to grow food. That can occur anywhere.

Try selling the idea to people in another area that they soon will have a cemetery in their backyards. I’m sure they will be much happier to be told that a Chinese garden is going to be moved into their area rather than a new cemetery.

Anna Leewrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 05:06pm

Father Steven Scouta, what ar you going to do when you fill the small area of the gardens, knock down some houses to bury more? I am sure if you put your mind to it you will realise there are more sensible options for burying the dead than putting them in a waterlogged, flood plain area where their flesh will rot faster then their sould can get to heaven.

How can you justify spending 7 million dollars plus to drain the area to make it suitable for burials when another location would be more preferable. How can you sneer at heritage when your church is largely based on heritage?

If you demolish the ‘salads’ there will be more ‘souls’ to bury.

ANDREW WOODHOUSEwrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 03:12pm

Steven Scouta’s plan (“Souls v salads”, Courier, September 14) to trade off a living family’s sustainable living for a dead person’s plot on an unsustainable, contaminated site fails to realise his church community has had generations to find burial plots but has done nothing.

His church has sufficient funds to purchase its own cemetery if it sells off some expensive, prime real estate elsewhere, such as an under-used Greek centre building, Oxford Street.

This issue is not about vegetables: Steven Scoutas is pulpit preaching.

It is about a heritage use, part of the future food bowl of Sydney, that’s more significant to the whole community than any presumed ‘right’ to bury the dead on whose ever land is of convenience by a very small religious minority.

ANDREW WOODHOUSEwrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 03:11pm

Steven Scoutas is divisive and naive (“Souls v salads”, Courier, September 14). His plan to trade off a living family’s sustainable living for a dead person’s plot on an unsustainable, contaminated site fails to realise his church community has had generations to find burial plots but has done nothing.

His church has sufficient funds to purchase its own cemetery if it sells off some expensive, prime real estate elsewhere, such as an under-used Greek centre building, Oxford Street.

This issue is not about vegetables: Steven Scoutas is pulpit preaching.

It is about a continuing heritage use, part of the future food bowl of Sydney, that’s more significant to the whole community than any presumed ‘right’ to bury the dead on whose ever land is of convenience by a very small religious minority.

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 03:04pm

This is the State Government playing divide and rule rather than working in the interests of the majority. More suitable land than the floodplain market gardens can be found higher up in Military Road. When the Plasterboard factory was approved 20 years ago there were restrictions on heavy vehicles entering Military Road in recognition of the need to respect funeral corteges. That changed and port business was allowed to expand into this socially sensitive area. Now the State Government is set to allow 24/7 access for B Doubles to accommodate businesses that should be located in less socially sensitive area. Visitors to the cemetery should be able to enjoy the serene outlook of the Market Gardens on the southern border and not have to endure major port related activities which see funeral corteges competing against heavy vehicles. Last year Joe Tripodi introduced new planning powers for the Port precinct. The Cemetery is not included, but its immediate neighbours are. This was an expression of lack of respect, not the desire to maintain local food production.

Rosewrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 01:46pm

How does one explain to the living that eating dirt and gravel is healthier than eating salad?

Archbishop Stylianos and/or Father Steven’s diet is/are truly ‘out of this World’, if he/they can.

The Chinese market gardens MUST BE PRESERVED / SAVED for all of us who can not ‘live’ without OUR daily salad.

Blood & Bones [not yet wholly Soul]

Lynda Newnamwrites:
Posted on15 Sep 10 at 11:19am

This is the State Government playing divide and rule rather than working in the interests of the majority. More suitable land than the floodplain market gardens can be found higher up in Military Road. When the Plasterboard factory was approved 20 years ago there were restrictions on heavy vehicles entering Military Road in recognition of the need to respect funeral corteges. That changed and port business was allowed to expand into this socially sensitive area. Now the State Government is set to allow 24/7 access for B Doubles to accommodate businesses that should be located in less socially sensitive area. Visitors to the cemetery should be able to enjoy the serene outlook of the Market Gardens on the southern border and not have to endure major port related activities which see funeral corteges competing against heavy vehicles. Last year Joe Tripodi introduced new planning powers for the Port precinct. The Cemetery is not included, but its immediate neighbours are. This was an expression of lack of respect, not the desire to maintain local food production.

_____________________________________________________________

Living to be ‘thrown out for the dead’  10 AUG 10 @ 09:13AM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

Chinese market gardeners (1979).  Photo: Randwick Library & Randwick Historical Society.

Chinese market gardeners (1979). Photo: Randwick Library & Randwick Historical Society.

The debate over a plan to uproot the Chinese market gardens at La Perouse to make way for burial plots is heating up with more people weighing in to register their disgust.

The State Government is considering a proposal from the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Trust, which incorporates Botany cemetery, calling for the release of 60 per cent of the 7ha slice of crown land on which the market gardens sit.

But the number of people averse to the idea is growing.

The Courier has been inundated with releases, letters and comments from those who say the plan would be inappropriate, given the site’s history.

Professional historian Pauline Curby, author of Randwick, said it would be wrong to “throw the living out for the dead”.

“Market gardens have been a feature of the Randwick local government area since the 1840s,” she said.

“In the 1920s . . . one family harvested flax that Chinese market gardeners had planted years before. Unemployed people who lived in shanties in the La Perouse area during the 1930s depression bartered fish for vegetables with Chinese gardeners.”

Meanwhile, the Indigenous community has moved to highlight its traditional relationship with the land. The chairman of the La Perouse Land Council, Ken Foster, said he would support the plan if a segment of the expanded lot was reserved for Indigenous burial.

“We’ve always lived here . . . the fresh water that runs through there has always been a source of water for our people . . . and where that water meets the sea has always been where our kids swam,” Mr Foster said. “But we bury family in the Botany cemetery and we want to retain that right . . . we call the land Mother Nature and we want to be returned to our land.”

But the memorial park’s chief executive officer, George Passous, said: “Any proposal that is put forward should recognise all heritage aspects and properly interpret them but at the moment you wouldn’t know what they were,” he said.

The site was heritage listed in 1999 for significance to the Chinese community.

Michael cookewrites:
Posted on12 Aug 10 at 12:07pm

Does anyone remember when we had more than one Market Garden in our local area?As a child going to buy fresh vegies at the Gardens was a weekly treat.Please leave the Gardens as they are for future generations to enjoy.

laudie sneddon Do not use, if you must use Lotte Sneddonwrites:
Posted on12 Aug 10 at 10:04am

Leave the market gardens alone.They are part of our history and good to see vegetables growing where they have been forever. There are so many old forgotten dilapidated sites that could be reused that could help alleviate the shortage.

Jessica Douglaswrites:
Posted on11 Aug 10 at 04:35pm

Surely the living should take precedence over the dead. We need local food sources in Sydney and it seems such a waste of good land to bury people in it. Why aren’t we adopting more sustainable land use, bury people standing up takes up less space, bury on top, give people a 10 year lease rather than a permanent spot. Surely after that amount of time a memorial plaque would do, they’d be dust by then anyway. So many other countries in the world have to be more innovative and more practical than philosophical about their graveyards, simply because they don’t have room. Maybe its time we caught up.

anne gardinerwrites:
Posted on10 Aug 10 at 09:08pm
Randwick Council is renowned as a council which promotes sustainability. We are blessed to have this food source in the heart of our community and it is up to the

___________________________________

Plot to weed out Chinese market garden

  • REAL ESTATE  6 AUG 10 @ 03:25PM BY NICK MONCRIEFF-HILL

“Move the bok choy, we’re dying here.”

It’s a simple sentiment, but one that sums up an argument to uproot the Chinese market gardens at La Perouse to make way for burial plots.

A shortage of space in Sydney’s East has led the management of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, which incorporates Botany Cemetery, to submit a plan to the State Government to acquire 60 per cent of the adjacent market gardens, a 7ha slice of crown land.

The chief executive officer of the memorial park, George Passous, said space in the cemetery was becoming scarce, a situation made more pressing by cultural sensitivities.

Cremation is forbidden by some religions, including Islam, the Greek Orthodox Church and Judaism, as well as Aboriginal culture, and is disapproved of by staunch Catholics.

Mr Passous said if no extra burial plots were made available, people opposed to cremation would be forced to look elsewhere for their final resting place within 12 years, when the cemetery reaches capacity.

“It’s the needs of 1.4 million people in Sydney’s southeast against three families of Chinese gardeners . . . food production is important but weigh it up against the greater public need to bury its dead,” he said.

Australian Heritage Institute president Andrew Woodhouse said the gardens held significant heritage value dating back to the landing of the French naval officer Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de Laperouse.

“Comte de Laperouse in 1788 cleared a piece of land and established a vegetable garden in Phillip Bay to prepare vegetables for his return journey back to France,” Mr Woodhouse said.

“It is believed that this vegetable garden was Australia’s first primary industry site and the site was more or less the same site as the Chinese market gardens.”

The 7ha site was heritage listed in 1999 for significance to the Chinese community.

Terry Ha has been farming Chinese vegetables for 22 years on the land his family has occupied for 56 years under permissive occupancy.

He said the families he employed would also be affected by any decision to reduce their fields. The preliminary proposal under consideration would leave 40 per cent of the gardens, and allow one of the three families to remain.

Andrewwrites:
Posted on15 Dec 10 at 09:48pm

“food production is important but weigh it up against the greater public need to bury its dead,” he said.

If we did that we’d realize that without food we’d ALL die.

Food security is becoming a much larger issue and will continue to do so in the future.

Market gardens should be considered an essential educational resource for the produce that can be grown economically in an area and for information on exactly how to do it.

It takes less than a week without transport for food supplies in a city like Sydney to shrink below levels required to feed the population.

We need MORE market gardens, community gardens and home gardens growing food to ensure the security of our food supply.

On top of that growing food as close as possible to where it’s consumed without the use of tractors and machinery is one of the most important environmentally friendly tasks on the planet.

It is the ONLY way we’ll be able to grow food economically in the future as oil prices rise and the cost of transporting food and oil based pesticides and fertilizers skyrocket.

Kerry Dwyerwrites:
Posted on13 Aug 10 at 09:13am

The dead are dead forever, but life goes on and we must make sure there is food for at least the next seven generations. It is folly to keep pushing our productive gardens further and further away from the cities, as fossil fuels become more scarce and more expensive. In Europe, bodies are buried in the earth for a short time before being exhumed. The bones are cleaned and stored in small containers set into a wall. The earth is then available for the next body. Couldn’t we do that too?

Arielwrites:
Posted on10 Aug 10 at 11:29am

We need locally produced food more than ever now that most market gardens have beeen moved out to way beyond the radius of Parramatta. There are also all the heritage issues others have mentioned. Lots of people from all over Sydney are buried in the cemeteries which are also beyond that radius. Why can’t burial places be made smaller and still be places of dignity and reverence for the living who need to visit them? Please don’t kill these gardens – or the sand dunes and horse houses nearby.

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