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Couple planting in plot near school require police, FBI check

The city has forbidden Jacob de Raadt from gardening in a plot beside Nicomekl Elementary. Photograph by: Les Bazso, The Province.

Red tape trips up green thumb in Langley, BC

By Cheryl Chan
The Province
May 25, 2011


All Jacob de Raadt wants to do is plant some vegetables.

Instead, the 68-year-old Langley gardener’s visions of a bountiful harvest are getting nipped in the bud by what he calls “absurd” bureaucratic requirements.

When de Raadt and his wife Lydia paid $15 for a community garden plot beside Nicomekl Elementary near their townhouse in March they were told they had to undergo a criminal record check for the last five years.

Aside from the Township of Langley -where the couple lived for 11 years -and White Rock, the de Raadts also lived in Arizona, where de Raadt worked for the state department of transportation, for almost two years out of the last five.

But after applying for a check, he was told Arizona is a “closed record state,” meaning criminal records are not public and that he’ll have to go through the FBI. The application costs $18 per person and takes six weeks -too late for planting season.

Read the complete article here.


1 Lisa and Robb { 05.25.11 at 5:45 pm }

That’s completely insane. Why do we assume that the world is crawling with child-harming criminal tomato gardeners, anyway?

2 Greta { 05.25.11 at 8:24 pm }

I am a parent and also a teacher. I know it is frustrating and seems stupid, but I have seen so many tragedies come from assuming that that”nice person” is ok. I would rather know that my children were asking questions about gardening from someone that has been checked out and ok’d rather than find out that the city could have prevented a tragic situation and failed to.
I commend Mr. Raadt for going ahead with the FBI background check and that he is making sure the city pays for it.

3 Rick { 07.17.11 at 1:11 pm }

As a parent and former school district employee (facilities and safety director), I am continually frustrated by the stupid ways people use to feel safe in their communities. The facade of safety that is promoted by requiring these types of background checks creates a false sense of security for a small handful of people. There is no evidence that these checks will prevent the tragedies many people are afraid of.

I would argue that the very people we are trying to protect are at greater risk from the teachers who work in the schools and from close family members than they are from well-behaved neighbors who want to plant some vegetables.

I sympathize with Mr. de Raadt and hope he finds some reasonable and timely solution to his problem.