Believe it or not, this used to be a gas station. I have passed by here often. And while I have enjoyed the greenery and glancing at the plants – there are approximately 100 plots – until today I have never stepped inside.
Since the City of Vancouver announced its goal to be the Greenest City in the World by 2020, many undeveloped or abandoned public spaces are being converted to neighbourhood gardens. In 2008, when it was first made known that the land where the ex-Shell Gas Station once stood would become a community garden, I immediately wondered how safe veggies grown there would be.
Extensive tests were conducted and the contaminated soil was removed to a depth of six meters. The owners of the site never advertised the green space as an urban farm, but rather a place to grow flowers or ornamental vegetables.
Because the Davie Village Community Garden is actually owned by a private company, it is not subject to city community gardening plot guidelines. This also means that this particular green space is temporary – the property owner intends on commercially developing the site at some point in the future.