Vancouver, BC, community gardens – a gift from developers who get tax break
Chris Reid is the executive director at Shifting Growth, which sets up community gardens in undeveloped properties throughout the Lower Mainland. Reid is pictured Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Alma community garden in Vancouver, B.C. Jason Payne / PNG
An unexpected offshoot of the initiative is the success of their pre-fab raised garden boxes, which are set on pallets for drainage
By Denise Ryan
Apr 14, 2017
“The site has been empty for many years and we thought this would be a great way to give back to the community and do something useful while we go through the development process,” said Kevin Cheung, Landa’s CEO in a statement.
Shifting Growth doesn’t solicit developers because there are enough developers willing to assume the risk and responsibility for the garden projects in exchange for a tax break from the B.C. Assessment Authority. If a vacant lot houses a temporary community garden it will be taxed at a lower rate than on a business site.
Reid said the situation is a win for both the community and developer. “We try to keep it really local, so we put up a notice right by the property, in the hopes that we will get people from the neighbourhood who might live in condos or basement suites, who don’t have another option to grow their own food.”
Reid said their land use agreements with corporations range from one to five years. “If we can get one season out of it, it’s a great engagement piece for the community.”