Gary Hee with some of the election signs from the Oct. 24 B.C. election and some of the planter boxes they became (Courtesy Gary Hee)

Gary Hee with some of the election signs from the Oct. 24 B.C. election and some of the planter boxes they became (Courtesy Gary Hee)

B.C. election signs transformed into planters by Langley recycling advocate

Gary Hee thinks signs shouldn’t be dumped in landfills

Some of the signs that went up during the Oct. 24 provincial election in Langley have found a new life as planter boxes, thanks to a former Langley council candidate who can’t stand waste.

Gary Hee has recycled 4,500 square feet of election signs donated by MLA Mary Polak, transforming them into sturdy planter boxes with one-inch thick walls, to be given away free to anyone who can use them.

He has enough material to make 24.

As of Sunday, Nov. 15, all but “five or six” had been spoken for, Hee told the Langley Advance Times.

One recipient was a Langley daycare, which already has a set of Hee-built planters from a previous election, that are used to help educate children about planting.

“It’s educational,” Hee enthused.

“They can see how vegetables grow.”

The daycare took five this time.

Hee said production is easier this year because Polak had the signs cut up into two-foot squares before he picked them up..

He builds the sturdy two-foot-square boxes by layering several signs together with screws and duct tape, keeping them blank side out.

Hee, 76, started looking for ways to re-use campaign signs to keep them from ending in landfills after an unsuccessful run for Langley Township council.

READ MORE: Proposal to use recycled campaign signs for homeless shelters attracts interest

He’s also experimented with building a variety of “prototypes” including sleeping mats and emergency shelters for homeless people, dividers for students and a six-foot tall tool shed.

He’s hoping he can convince candidates in the next municipal election in Langley to donate their signs, but he hasn’t had a lot of luck getting commitments this early on.

“I think they’re pretty busy,” Hee commented.

Hee’s idea came to the attention of National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States in 2018, when he was contacted by a producer for NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” a show devoted to off-beat news stories.

A business owner who lives near the Surrey-Langley border on the Cloverdale side, Hee got involved in Langley politics when he began campaigning for improvements to the stretch of road that crosses the Langley-Surrey border following a number of serious accidents in the area of 72 Avenue and 198B Street.

He’s also campaigned for free parking at Langley Memorial Hospital, a petition drive that succeeded, in manner of speaking, when the province announced fees would be suspended during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Free hospital parking announcement didn’t go far enough, critic says

Anyone interested in the remaining planters, especially those interested in helping put them together, can contact Hee by email at gary.hee@gmail.com.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicsLangleyRecycling

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read