An aerial view of the are around the old McCaffrey Alternative School on Dogwood Road, which the Agassiz Community Garden Society hopes to make its new home. (Google Maps)

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

The gardeners with Agassiz Community Gardens have been looking for a new home since they were evicted from their plots on Pioneer Avenue in October. Now, they’re hopeful they may have found one.

Garden society president Laurens van Vliet made a presentation to the Fraser-Cascade school board Tuesday (Jan. 15) asking the board for permission to turn the old McCaffrey Alternative School property into a horticultural paradise.

“We have looked at different properties without any results in the Agassiz area,” van Vliet said after his presentation. “So this is something we have our hopes on right now.”

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

Located on Dogwood Road in Agassiz, the two acre piece of land would be ideal for the garden society, van Vliet said. The gravel area that formerly housed the school could be used as a parking lot, and the surrounding land turned into fertile gardens.

The society has already tested the soil, he said, and the surrounding area would make for an excellent setting.

“It is right among agricultural land,” van Vliet said. “It’s a little bit out of town … but not far out of town.

“The back of it is all fields, fields, fields.”

Agassiz Community Gardens has been without a home since October 2018, when the property they had been gardening for the last 15 years was sold. The garden was one of the largest of its kind in the province, with 60 members each using a 20-by-20 foot plot.

This garden society is separate from the one that is starting behind the Legion building on Highway 9. That garden project is geared towards seniors, offers more mobility-friendly plots than the Agassiz Community Gardens former facility and is set to open in the spring.

RELATED: Agassiz Harrison Legion’s new senior-friendly garden set to open in spring

Van Vliet said he had approached the District of Kent about the possibility of using the McCaffrey school property for the garden’s new home. Mayor Sylvia Pranger provided the garden society with a letter of support, which was brought to the school board presentation.

“Ideally community gardens are located within the urban area of the community,” the letter reads.

“However, there is limited land available in the Agassiz town-site to accommodate a community garden of this size.

“Although the Dogwood Road property is located outside of the urban area, the proposed site offers high quality soils and a sizeable amount of land, making this property a very suitable alternative.”

The school board members asked van Vliet a number of questions about the community garden, including whether they had given thought to security concerns at the McCaffrey property and when they would be hoping to move in.

Further discussion of the proposal by the Fraser-Cascade School District will be held in-camera, as it pertains to the use of school district property.

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