Plan for Campbelltown to champion rooftop gardens

Lead the way: Campbelltown councillor Ben Moroney believes rooftop gardens could be a thing of the future in Campbelltown. Picture: Simon Bennett
Lead the way: Campbelltown councillor Ben Moroney believes rooftop gardens could be a thing of the future in Campbelltown. Picture: Simon Bennett

Deck the roofs with bounds of flowers, ferns, shrubs and vegetable gardens.

It’s an plan Campbelltown councillor Ben Moroney believes would be perfect for the region.

And he wants locals’ support to get the idea off the ground.

With the precincts surrounding Campbelltown’s train stations set to become a haven for high rise-buildings, rooftop gardens would provide benefits aesthetically, ensure residents were aware of how to grow plants, and put the unused roof spaces to good use.

Cr Moroney said Campbelltown Council could establish one on the roof of a council-owned building and champion the concept.

“Green space is going to be an absolute premium with the intensity of new development coming through, so any ability we can find to retain or invest in new green space in creative ways is going to be important,” he said.

“In order to push for making rooftop gardens more common in new or existing developments, we need a test case, an example to show that it's possible and show what benefits it could have in Campbelltown.

“Council is well placed to do that, with both the buildings and the expertise to implement it.”

Leroy Ledbetter, front, maintains the gardens on the rooftop of the City Hall building, in Chicago, May 19, 2011. Picture: Sally Ryan/The New York Times

Leroy Ledbetter, front, maintains the gardens on the rooftop of the City Hall building, in Chicago, May 19, 2011. Picture: Sally Ryan/The New York Times

Cr Moroney said once council proved its design was effective, it could be shown off to developers who could consider incorporating it into new and existing buildings.

He said there were several benefits that a rooftop garden could bring.

“One of the major impacts of green roofs is on the heat island effect. Green roofs are both insulating and pull heat away through respiration,” he said.

“This can cool down the local environment and allow people to save money on cooling. It can also open up the ability to operate productive gardens, growing food and supplementing grocery budgets.”

The rooftop garden of a public housing complex stands in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. As part of government-led efforts to keep food on Venezuelans' tables, the Ministry of Urban Agriculture offers city dwellers training and funding to grow their own crops. Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg

The rooftop garden of a public housing complex stands in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. As part of government-led efforts to keep food on Venezuelans' tables, the Ministry of Urban Agriculture offers city dwellers training and funding to grow their own crops. Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg

The idea has the backing of mental health advocate and avid gardener Sandra McDonald.

Mrs McDonald is the founder of Beautiful Minds – an organisation which helped establish Campbelltown's mental health recovery centre Harmony House.

The charity recently established a garden in the Birunji youth mental health unit at Campbelltown Hospital. Mrs McDonald – who along with her husband, Rick, was named the 2015 Campbelltown City Garden Competition grand champion – said gardens played a vital role in mental health.

“They are hugely important,” she said.

“Most people who have a mental health condition like being outside – that’s where they feel most comfortable with the wind in their hair and sun on their face.

“Gardens give people a sense of wellbeing … and it’s always beneficial in our natural environment.

“Gardens are food for the eyes and food for the soul.

“I’m a gardener and I would love to see this happen.”

Anyone who wanted to provide feedback about the idea can email ben.moroney@campbelltown.nsw.gov.au

Chris Thomson and Kylie Kwong in the wayside community in the rooftop garden of Wayside Chapel, who supply things like greens and honey to the Billy Kwong kitchen, on April 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Anna Kucera/Fairfax Media

Chris Thomson and Kylie Kwong in the wayside community in the rooftop garden of Wayside Chapel, who supply things like greens and honey to the Billy Kwong kitchen, on April 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Anna Kucera/Fairfax Media