More than a year after being evicted from Pioneer Avenue, the Agassiz Community Gardens Society has secured use of part of the BC Hydro property in Agassiz for a new community garden. Pictured from left to right: Garden society board member Christina Smith, president Laurens van Vliet and board member Louisa van Vliet visit their new Morrow Road location on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Agassiz Community Garden plants roots on BC Hydro land

Garden society hopes to get new Morrow Road location operational by spring

The Agassiz Harrison Community Garden has finally found a new home.

After several failed attempts to get a property since being evicted from Pioneer Avenue in October 2018, garden society president Laurens van Vliet told the Observer they have secured use of 1.8 acres of the BC Hydro property at 7595 Morrow Rd.

“Over the past year, we have been pursuing several leads for a new site for the community gardens, without any success,” van Vliet said. “Then, the District of Kent suggested to consider the BC Hydro property located on Morrow Road, between Tower Road and Industrial Way, which we agreed to.

“The district has now secured a long-term lease with BC Hydro for the property to be used by the Agassiz Community Gardens.”

RELATED: No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

Director of development services Darcey Kohuch said the district originally requested a 15-year or longer lease of the property for $1 per year, for the non-profit garden society.

BC Hydro preferred to start with a five-year lease of the property for $10 per year, Kohuch said, which the district agreed to in correspondence that took place between December 2019 and January.

In turn, the district leased the property to the garden society under the same terms.

“We’re pretty confident that [BC Hydro] will agree to another five years,” Kohuch told the Observer.

He also said he thinks the agreement is a good use for the “encumbered” hydro lands.

“The district thinks it’s very generous of them and it’s just a good use of the property,” he said. “Previously they were thinking of selling it … but because of the hydro lines there it’s really restrictive.

“This is just a good community use.”

According to the district’s application to BC Hydro, the garden society operations will not pose any safety risks under the overhead lines.

RELATED: Uprooted — Agassiz Community Garden evicted after 15 years on Pioneer Avenue

With the new site secured, van Vliet said society board members are working to get the gardens operational by spring.

They will be plowing and cultivating the area, and hope to install around 40 plots, at least 20 of which have already been sold.

More plots may be installed in the future, he said, depending on demand.

While the new site is less private than the garden society’s former location on Pioneer Avenue, van Vliet said they are happy to have found a new home in Agassiz, with lots of roadside parking and a view of Mount Cheam.

“That’s a plus for this new property,” he said.

To donate a wooden shed to the garden society’s new site, or to volunteer or secure a garden plot, call 604-796-1080, or 604-796-1222.

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