Community Gardens are closed to the public. (Langley Advance Times files)

Greenthumbs forced out of community gardens amid COVID-19 closures

Rental plots barred as Langley Township cracks down on gatherings in public parks

Langley’s community gardens have been shut down to help slow the spread of COVID-19; the decision comes alongside countless park space, playground, and athletic equipment closures.

Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) operates 15 gardens throughout the city and township, but both council’s announced that the spaces would be barred to the public as part of a wave of shutdowns to discourage large gatherings.

The gardens are comprised of roughly a dozen individual plots each and are rented out yearly to gardeners who are free to plant veggies and various greens for the year.

While planting season is on the horizon and many plot renters have been prepping their space, people will have to wait.

Even though gardening has been a pastime encouraged by B.C. Health Officials to get fresh air while social distancing, since the community gardens are in a communal, public area that people share and even touch.

The decision was made by Langley Township on Monday, March 22, and Langley City on Wednesday, March 25 to make them off limits.

Nichole Marples, executive director of LEPS, said the temporary closures mean no one is able to work or visit the green spaces – potentially even LEPS volunteers who regularly maintain the site.

She added that the disruption could potentially affect the scheduling system as there is a large wait list for plot rentals.

“I believe that the majority of the garden plots are fully rented out, but we always take names on the wait list for those hoping to join,” she said.

READ MORE: Brae Island Regional Park closes to public

After a lengthy assembly over the fall and winter, LEPS was readying to debut their newest community garden at Douglas Park – now, it’s proper unveiling and inaugural use will have to wait.

Conversations about a new garden at Rotary Centennial Park in Langley City have also stopped, meaning approval for yet another space will be delayed.

A spokesperson for Langley Township said the parks department is currently working out a plan for those who have rented a plot and could miss out on the use of their space for the foreseeable future.

People can visit www.leps.bc.ca/community-gardens for updates.

Gardens currently listed at LEPS include:

Aldergrove Community Garden at Aldergrove Athletic Park;

Derek Doubleday Arboretum, at Fraser Hwy. between 216th & the 208th Bypass;

Fort Langley Community Garden at Fort Langley Community Park;

Linwood Community Garden at 201st St. and 55A Ave.;

Michaud Community Garden at Michaud Cres. east of 201st St.;

Murrayville Community Garden at the corner of 224th St. and Old Yale Rd.;

Northeast Gordon Community Garden at 6690 – 210th St.;

Nicomekl Community Garden at 20050 – 53rd Ave.;

Routley Community Garden at 19833 – 70th Ave.;

Topham Park Community Garden at 21555 – 91st Ave.;

Trinity Western University Community Garden at 7600 Glover Rd.;

U Grow Organic Community Garden at 8181 – 252nd St.;

Walnut Grove Community Garden at Walnut Grove Park;

Willoughby Community Garden at 20525 – 72nd Ave.; and

Yorkson Community Garden at 20542 – 84th Ave.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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