PepperTree Place, in the heart of Coburg, is a wonderful little creatively-designed community green space which exudes warmth and inclusiveness.
Framed by a historic bluestone church and stables, it is an oasis of gardens, chooks, a café, a home-grown nursery and a multitude of community programs.
Kildonan Uniting Care (an entity of the Uniting Church), which established PepperTree Place about 15 years ago, recently merged with some 21 smaller disparate Uniting Church agencies to become “Uniting”.
Uniting informed the staff and volunteers on August 9 that the site would be closed to the public in four weeks and that they had six weeks’ work left.
A group of concerned Moreland residents, who do not want to see this unique space lost, have jumped in to try to secure PepperTree Place’s long-term future, and ensure the community programs have a permanent home.
“It is extremely shortsighted of Uniting to close PepperTree Place,” Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton told Green Left Weekly. “PepperTree Place plays a unique role in the community: it offers respite from the world, as well as being an open and safe green space.
“It is especially important right now given that there is a sea of high-rise [constructions] planned for the Pentridge development. We can already see nearby open spaces, like Lake Reserve, are becoming overcrowded in summer. “PepperTree Place is the only service in Coburg that distributes emergency relief so it is incredibly important that this service remains.
“With more than 100 volunteers, PepperTree Place has literally been a lifesaver for some people, helping them after hardship. “If Uniting doesn’t keep PepperTree Place open, it is essential that the land is not sold off so that we can keep the space as an independent community organisation,” Bolton said.
[For more information join the Save PepperTree Place Facebook group.]