A new community garden set to open in Langley this spring will be designed so that everyone, including disabled residents, can get their hands dirty.
The Kreiter family are prepping the first version of the garden, to be dubbed Opportunity Landing, on a gravel parking lot at Trinity Western University right now.
“For now it’s just some garden beds, and hopefully, some trees,” said Tim Kreiter, a retired RCMP officer.
But his wife Janet Kreiter, who works at TWU, said they hope the final version will be up to 10 acres in size on land the family is planning to buy through a non-profit somewhere in the Township.
“This is what our dream is,” Janet said, indicating a model Tim has been working on. It shows a circular arrangement of elevated garden beds, set in wooden troughs held up off the ground.
The garden is to be open to anyone, but the elevated planting beds are so people with mobility issues, including wheelchair users and seniors, can easily garden at a comfortable height.
“As barrier-free as we can possibly make it,” Tim said of the plan.
“This will be a really wonderful thing for anyone with mobility issues,” Janet said.
They noted that there’s a shortage of gardening spaces in general in Langley, with community gardens tending to have wait lists. Many people who have downsized or never had the room for a garden in the first place want somewhere to plant and grow flowers or vegetables.
The family was inspired to create a fully accessible garden as their eldest daughter, Erin, uses a wheelchair. Erin is hoping to be one of the first users of the new temporary garden at TWU.
Janet and Tim are particularly grateful to TWU for authorizing the one-year garden so quickly. Janet said she put in a request, and 12 hours later the idea had been approved by the university’s president.
They’re getting help from TWU, but also from multiple businesses, including Home Depot, Lee Valley Tools, Burnco Landscape Supplies, and Rainbow Nursery in Chilliwack. Individual donors have also contributed to get the garden up and running.
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Opportunity Landing is expected to have plots available to community gardeners around the second week of May. That should be in time to allow people to do their planting on or around the Victoria Day long weekend, the traditional start of serious gardening season in Metro Vancouver.
The TWU version of Opportunity Landing will run from May to the end of October.
The Kreiters are hoping by next year they can find their permanent site and start setting it up.
Tim, an avid model-maker, is in the midst of creating a detailed model of the site, with concentric circles of raised gardening beds connected by paths, along with several support buildings such as small greenhouses, sheds, and support buildings.
The project has a website at Opportunitylanding.ca. The project is still accepting donations, and this month is particularly looking for cedar fence boards – used ones are fine.
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