All hands on Wray!

The Wray Avenue verges were beginning to look a bit untidy with weed growth on the verges after Spring and the late rains and a little bit of litter so Dianne and Molly organised another clean up day.

It was a beautiful morning for it, with the sun shining and people happily greeting us as they walked into town. It was also great to see local, community-minded business owners helping out too – John Douglas from Brown Cow Design and Therese Pitman from Gourmet on Wray. Both of these guys are ever-present at these events and really supportive.

Molly, Diane and June have been doing regular litter pickups recently and it really shows – there was far less mess than usual. But we also felt that this vigilance had led to litter dumping, as the avenue looks tidier and people are more likely to respect it.

For me, I’m really excited that we’re taking ownership of this sliver of public space we have, caring for it and actively connecting with each other through it.

Massive respect to Dianne and Molly for their efforts on this!

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Once you ecoPOP, you just can’t stop!

The City of Fremantle has invested in two ecoPOPs!

This was a concept that I wrote about here and here, with hopes that Wray Avenue could have one incorporated as part of the Manning Street realignment. After several discussions with people, I felt there was opposition to the idea there because of the impact on sight lines and dropped the idea.

Since then, I have spoken to people about the idea of replacing one of the median strips at the intersection of Attfield Street and Wray Avenue.

This is an excellent location as it is a wider section of street, so it will impact less on sight-lines. There is very little shade around this point of Wray, so it will add that amenity and its associated cooling effect. The east/west alignment will maximise this effect. Finally, there is also no feature in this environment to slow down traffic (as the custom brought by Galati’s does further to the west) and the ecoPOP, with its strange appearance, is likely to do this.

Despite City Councillor hopeful Roel Loopers “poop-pooping” the idea on his blog, I do think these can provide excellent benefits to our community. Unlike trees planted directly into the ground, the ecoPOP infrastructure should support its own water and fertilisation, as it functions more like a closed-loop system. It is also meant to be a temporary structure that can be replaced with a permanent one later once a community embraces the concept, the ecoPOP then moved to a new area to inspire.

It’s great to see them in Kings Square – where we’d all like to see more people – and I hope passers-by stop to have a look and imagine where they could be in their community. While it doesn’t seem to be connected to gutters for the rainwater tanks and it doesn’t demonstrate the shading benefits (and it doesn’t have worms in the worm farm yet)  it is still a visible concept for the public to consider. Some interpretive signage for people would be a good feature to add too.

Hopefully you can swing by King’s Square or Pakenham Street near CUSP to have a look at the latest models.

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Activating my alleyway

I’ve found people shooting up in my alleyway, plus a few needles and other waste from users. This goes back a while. You can read about it here.

Rather than just whinging that the cops or council should just do something about it, I decided to reclaim the alleyway space by activating it as an area for growing vegetables. Maybe I’m just a naive optimist, but I suspect that by activating a space and getting locals to take some ownership of it the risk of crime or anti-social behaviour will be reduced.

Even if it doesn’t, I still think I’ve done something cool.

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I made raised beds and used the vertical space with planter boxes. Aside from the bolts and chain, everything else was recycled, mostly from vergeside collection: discarded sheet metal, wooden palettes, chicken wire, hessian coffee sacks – even any screws I used.

In all, I’ve created 2.5 square metres of growing space. In the process I’ve had 8 conversations with neighbours, 4 of which have been about behaviour change that would reduce their ecological footprint, one of which has involved a neighbour to growing her own food.

And that’s just in one week, with no actual plants growing yet. Imagine what will happen once they do and I’m able to share my produce!!

If you happen to be walking by, you can check it out where it runs off Brennan Street. If I’m around and you’re interested in chatting about how I did it (especially if you want to make you own!) or you’re interested in maybe doing some food swaps, I’d love to talk to you.