Homeowner fighting to keep community garden, library on front lawn
CAMBRIDGE -- A homeowner in Cambridge is taking on city hall in order to keep a community garden and library on the front lawn of her home.
The home is known as Bee's Bounty to many in the neighbourhood. It includes a garden that anyone can add to or take from, a little library and even a free pantry.
Owner Beatrice Caskenette, or Bee, set it up in 2016 because she said she knows what it's like to need a helping hand.
"We've utilized food banks, we've utilized outreach programs," Caskenette said.
Earlier this month, the City of Cambridge said it received a complaint about the property.
"It feels very spiteful, I took it a little personally at first," Caskenette said.
She said she was ordered to take it down by bylaw officers.
"The building materials, all of the tires, all of the weeds that they say are growing, which are vegetable plants, are to be gone by the 14th," she said.
Caskenette about 90 per cent of what's in the garden is recycled. The tires were leftovers from a garbage day and the library is a repurposed fridge donated by a neighbour.
The family said visitors drop by daily to check it out.
"This is about recycling," neighbour Karen Destun said. "Reduce, reuse, recycle, that's what's happening here, as well as giving it back to the community."
Caskenette said she started an online petition to stop what the city is asking for.
"Hoping it was a misunderstanding," she said. "When you look at it and you're looking at it as junk, it is easy to see it as junk."
She had reached out to the city and didn't hear back until Thursday.
In a statement to CTV News Kitchener, the city said the manager of bylaw has since met with Caskenette and visited the site.
"The concern was not with the community garden but some areas in the backyard in terms of maintenance," the statement said in part. "This has been clarified with the owner. We certainly appreciate the efforts and community spirit of the home owner."
Caskenette said that wasn't communicated at first, but said she's grateful the previous deadline of Aug. 14 has been waived.