What started as a green oasis has become a dumping ground for rubbish.
For the past eight years, Annie Beattie has run community gardens in Coquet St and Trent St.
The purpose was to cultivate fresh produce and distribute it to the community through her “give-take-swap” stalls.
But after continous dumping, Ms Beattie is taking the stalls down.
Over the years they had been vandalised and were becoming increasingly overrun by rubbish, and the crops damaged.
Vegetables were continuously being pulled from the earth and discarded, while other vegetables were harvested before they were ready, Ms Beattie said.
“It’s just destructive.”
People would leave partial furniture, cardboard boxes, clothing, empty bottles and miscellaneous garbage at the stalls.
Ms Beattie put up signs to discourage dumping to no avail.
In February, she raised the issues in an Oamaru Mailarticle and asked the community to report any suspicious behaviour.
However, there had been no change since.
Sick of cleaning up broken glass, empty bottles and soggy old clothing, Ms Beattie decided to have the stalls removed.
“I’m so tired of it.”
The Trent St stall was dismantled earlier this week, and a fresh pile of rubbish was left where it used to be the following day.
“It is sad to see them go but let’s hope [people] learn to be responsible and learn the art of reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
Even though the stalls were dismantled, Ms Beattie would not stop giving out fresh food and would donate it to food banks.
“People are always grateful for a gift of fresh veggies.”
At the end of the year, Ms Beattie planned to retire and the gardens would be taken over by a new custodian.