Garden Rules

These general garden rules apply in all COGS gardens. These rules are set out in Appendix 4 of the COGS Constitution and in the COGS Community Gardens Policy. The rules are listed below.

COGS Constitution – Appendix 4, General Community Garden Rules

Code of Ethics:

It is the desire of COGS that the community gardens made available for COGS members will provide a display of the practical application of organic principles, and a splendid example of co-operative endeavour.

To this end, the garden committees are behoven to administer the gardens in a manner which promotes a spirit of harmony, fairmindedness and goodwill amongst garden members.  Likewise, individual plot holders are to conduct themselves in a manner which promotes this same spirit, a spirit viewed by COGS to be essential to a true sense of community wellbeing.

General Rules:

The rules set out below are to be used by all community gardens operating under the auspices of COGS to standardise the way in which gardens are to be administered. It is not the intention of COGS to micro manage the individual gardens, but it is the desire of COGS that the community gardens should by the use of these general rules, be able to provide a splendid example of co-operative endeavour and a good corporate image and to display the practical application of organic principles.

  1. Garden members must be financial members of COGS.
  2. Organic garden principles must be complied with at all times in the community gardens.
  3. The OPAC National Standards, COGS rules and the individual garden rules should be read before any new member takes up a plot in any community garden.
  4. The members of each garden must democratically elect a Garden Convenor (chairperson) and a garden committee, consisting of a levy collector (where appropriate) and such other members as may be necessary. The names of these people and the positions to which they have been elected should be given to the COGS Secretary at the time of the local election.
  5. Garden convenors shall be informed of agenda items to be considered at meetings of the COGS committee which affect the community gardens and garden convenors shall be entitled to attend meetings of the COGS committee and may exercise a vote on garden matters.
  6. Each garden must have a democratically agreed set of garden rules, which should be endorsed by the COGS committee and not be inconsistent with these general garden rules. A copy of current garden rules for each community garden should be held by the Secretary of COGS.
  7. In the first instance, infringements of the garden rules should be dealt with by the garden committee. However, if unresolved these should be brought to the attention of the COGS committee by the garden convenor for resolution by whatever means the committee determines necessary, including use of a mediator where appropriate.
  8. Garden convenors should act as mediator in resolving disputes in gardens where possible.
  9. One garden committee member for each garden should be responsible for equitable plot allocation and keeping a register of plot holders, a list of vacant plots and a listing of applicants for plots and for the safe keeping and allocation of garden keys. All members must inform the plot allocator when plots are no longer required and ensure that their key is returned when they no longer have a plot in the garden. At no time can plots be transferred between members without the approval of the garden committee and the keys should never be given to non members.
  10. Community garden rules may make provision for a maximum plot allocation and any
    such restriction must be written into their garden rules. No exceptions shall be made
    for individuals and all members should be treated equally.
  11. Plot holders should not interfere with other plots or other members’ property.
  12. Members may not remove tools, implements, hoses, etc (which are the property of COGS) from any garden without the express permission of the garden committee.
  13. Damage to, or unauthorised removal of garden equipment should be reported immediately to the garden committee and, where necessary, reported by that committee to the appropriate authority.
  14. Plot holders and other members are responsible for the actions of their children, pets and guests.
  15. Garden committees shall make rules restricting the access of dogs and cats to community gardens.
  16. COGS members should only be a member of one community garden unless they can establish that they are transferring from one garden to another.
  17. Plot holders shall not grow produce for commercial sale or engage in other commercial activities at the garden.
  18. Garden committees may determine specific rules in relation to appropriate matters, including:
    • fires and burning off;
    • levies, but note that no levies may be collected without prior notification in the COGS newsletter of the nature and amount of the specific levies;
    • disposal of rubbish;
    • cultivation of canes and other invasive species, including prohibition of particular plants;
    • maintenance, including working bees, and emergency procedures; and
    • use, cleaning, repair and replacement of garden equipment.
  19. It is the responsibility of the last member leaving a community garden to lock gates and sheds, regardless of whether or not that member opened them or used garden equipment.

In the use, administration and enjoyment of community gardens members should note that it is good policy to leave gardens in a better organic condition than you found them.

COGS Community Gardens Policy – General Garden Rules

Garden members responsibilities

  1. Garden members must at all times comply with the COGS General Community Garden Rules as set out in Appendix 4 of the COGS Constitution and the local garden rules in place in their garden;
  2. Members plots must be maintained throughout the year. Unattended or neglected plots may be resumed according to the conditions set out in the local garden rules;
  3. Garden members are expected to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the communal areas of a garden. This involves regularly participating in activities such as working bees and mowing/whipper snipping/weeding communal areas;
  4. Garden members are expected to attend garden meetings and participate in the electing of garden convenors and committees and in the determining of local garden rules;
  5. Garden members must comply with any ACTEW water restrictions or ACTEW water conservation measures in force;
  6. Members are responsible for their private property left in gardens or gardens’ sheds;

Livestock in gardens

Garden members do not have the automatic right to keep livestock of any sort in a COGS garden. The keeping of any livestock, other than poultry or bees, in a garden requires the explicit permission of the COGS committee.

Members wishing to keep livestock in a COGS garden must:

  1. Take sole responsibility for the health and welfare of the livestock and, in the case of poultry, agree to attend to them daily;
  2. Provide secure housing and adequate shade, shelter and space;
  3. Provide adequate food and clean water;
  4. Pay plot fees for the area occupied;
  5. Be familiar with, and comply with, ACT Government Regulations in relation to the keeping of livestock e.g. The ACT Public Health Regulations 2000 requirements for keeping poultry;
  6. Comply with any local garden rules concerning the keeping of livestock;
    Local garden rules may:
    a) Prohibit particular livestock or livestock in general in a garden;
    b) Limit the number of members keeping livestock in a garden or the number of animals/birds/hives etc that an individual can keep;
    c) Specify areas of a garden where livestock can or can’t be housed;
    b) Change at any time with the agreement of a majority of a gardens’ members;

Members failing to comply with these rules will be required to remove their livestock from the garden and forfeit any plot fees paid.

Any disputes arising over the keeping of livestock in gardens will, in the first instance, be mediated by the garden convenor and if unresolved, determined by the COGS committee.

The use of CCA and Creosote treated timber in gardens.

The use of timber treated with copper chromium arsenate (CCA) or Creosote is no longer permitted in any COGS garden.  Where such treated timber is already present in COGS gardens it must be removed by the beginning of the 2007 gardening year (September) if:

  • it is in contact with the soil;
  • it is accessible to gardeners or their children; or
  • rainfall or irrigation water can come into contact with the timber and run onto the soil.

Where treated timber does not meet any of the above conditions it may remain in the garden subject to the explicit approval in each case by the COGS Committee.

Structures permitted in COGS gardens.

Structures in individual plots which do not require specific individual approval by the Committee are:

  • compost bins;
  • those which support growing plants eg trellises; and,
  • those which support bird netting to protect crops, provided that concrete footings are not used.

Structures in communal areas which do not require specific individual approval by the Committee are:

  • a communal lockable shed;
  • pergolas;
  • green/glasshouses;
  • trellises and bird netting support for communal crops.

However, expenditure of funds in excess of $100 still requires Committee approval as indicated in paragraph 4 above. Sheds, pergolas and green/glasshouses must comply with the appropriate Australian Standards, eg footings for pergolas must comply with AS2870, timber members must comply with AS1684.2.

Where local garden rules permit, structures to house livestock may be built on individual plots or communal areas provided both the following conditions are met:

  • the structure complies with the appropriate ACT legislation, eg the current ACT Public Health Regulations for poultry;
  • before construction begins, the COGS Committee approves both the building plan and the building materials.

Garden committees may impose an upper limit on the maximum area of the garden which may be occupied by livestock housing.

Any structures, other than those listed above, require approval by the COGS Committee before construction begins. All structures must be safe and must not pose any risk to other gardeners or the general public.

All structures must be of an aesthetic standard appropriate for the surrounding neighbourhood and of sufficient standard not to bring COGS or the garden into disrepute. The final arbiter of the acceptability of the aesthetic standard of any structure will be the COGS Committee

Where structures already exist in gardens, they must be made to comply with the above rules by the beginning of the 2007 gardening year (September) with the exception that in cases where concrete footings have been used, those footings may be retained. In the case of livestock housing its construction may be approved retrospectively if the particular structure meets all the other standards.

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