Land at the front of NI Railways Yorkgate station is to undergo a transformation.
Landscaping was carried out earlier this year to remove overgrown shrubs and bushes to improve the appearance of the station grounds.
In a first for Translink, it is partnering with Groundwork Northern Ireland to develop a community garden in the station lands, with fruit and vegetables being produced. Wildflowers will also be sown to encourage wildlife including bees and butterflies and promote biodiversity.
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “We have worked closely with the PSNI to remove anti-social behaviour from Yorkgate station and this initiative will take this a step further, transforming the appearance of the station, for the benefit of our passengers and the wider community. As well as Groundwork NI, we are working with local community groups and organisations including the Stella Maris Centre and the local Men’s Shed to develop and maintain the garden. Local school children will also use the opportunity to learn planting and growing skills.”
Chris also said: “We will hold workshops with fruit, vegetable and plant growing tips for local people and commuters who use Yorkgate Station in the Spring and there will be a number of classes around biodiversity.”
He concluded: “Our plans also include hosting food stalls during Bus and Train Week where the produce grown in the community garden will be prepared and served.”
Groundwork NI Chief Executive Paula Quigley said: “This community garden at Yorkgate Station will help the local community to improve their surroundings and increase the confidence and skills of those involved in the project. We are looking forward to working with Translink on an ambitious planting project and to enjoying the fruit and veg yield next summer.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen Burns said, “Local police and our Crime Prevention officer have been working alongside Translink to see how we could best address issues like anti-social behaviour which can happen from time to time in public spaces.
“Translink has taken on board our advice and have been working really hard to ensure their facilities and station are as welcoming and safe as possible so we are delighted to be supporting this initiative.”
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway performed the official “sod-turning”, with representatives of Groundwork NI, the PSNI and the Stella Maris centre.
Plans for the community garden at Yorkgate station, which is funded through the Aughrim landfill fund and managed by Groundwork NI, include a number of raised planters for fruit and vegetable crops and colourful wildflower meadows.