Cottonwood Fire

$10,045 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 16 months
Created July 7, 2017
At 2 am on July 3,2017 there was a fire at Cottonwood Community Gardens and our greenhouse and the attached tool/bee shed burnt to the ground. Many of the nearby plants, shrubs and trees were burned and scorched and may not survive the damage.

Nothing was salvageable from the fire and apart from the building itself, the largest loss is the beekeeping supplies. These include a community honey extractor, protective clothing for lessons and beekeeping tools, boxes and frames. We have a thriving apiary and a thriving bee team. Strathcona Beekeepers Association and the Cottonwood Beekeeping Coop are two of the groups that use the garden.

This shed also held our "good" and more specific tools and equipment: sets of loppers, a long-handled pruner, a weed eater, construction and irrigation tools and supplies, plus ladders, including 2 aluminum orchard ladders that melted in the fire. The greenhouse had a sink which is no longer usable and all the shelving, seedlings and plants were destroyed in the fire.

Cottonwood Gardens is an Eastside Vancouver oasis in Strathcona, a neighbourhood with few public green spaces. Cottonwood is a volunteer organization that operates on a shoestring — our funds come mainly from our yearly plot fees. We have dedicated gardeners who represent a diversity of residents with a common love of gardening and sense of community.

What needs to be done? The burnt remains of our tool shed and green house will have to be hauled away. We'll need a structure to replace them. Replacing the beekeeping equipment is a priority and then we need to replace the tools we lost that we use on a regular or seasonal basis.

We're asking for your financial support to help us to keep the beehive operation running and to get the garden functioning well again. And to keep it as an oasis!

Please let us know if you would like a tax receipt for your donation.
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Dear donors and friends of Cottonwood Community Garden,

Earlier this year, we reported that the Vancouver Park Board had given us approval to rebuild the secure-storage tool shed we lost in the fire last year, as long as it was no larger than the previous shed and in the same location. The Park Board offered to help us get a building permit, which we needed to start construction. They had previously offered to give us a 10-foot steel container to complete our storage needs.

We were told this week that the Park Board cannot allow us to go ahead with rebuilding our tool shed at this time, because there's been no decision on where the new east/west arterial should go after the viaducts come down. To reach a decision, the City has hired a consultation firm, which will begin a public consultation process, via a Community Panel, on the options for a new arterial this fall, after the civic election. The Panel will present its recommendations to the new mayor and council. (For more info on how the process will work, see https://fcfcommunitypanel.com/)

In the meantime, the Park Board has offered us a 20-foot shipping container, instead of the 10-foot container, which would allow us the room to house a tall orchard ladder and also store our good tools and beekeeping supplies. The 20 ft container would be placed in the garden on a temporary basis, until the arterial issue has been settled, at which time we would be permitted to rebuild our shed, as originally planned. The container would be on loan to us and would be placed in the garden at no cost to Cottonwood. We accepted the Park Board decision.

What this means is that we will have to postpone our tool shed rebuild. We are disappointed, but undaunted. Thanks to your help we have the funds, thanks to a fellow gardener we have the architectural drawings and we have the Vancouver Park Board's promise.

We will set aside your donations in a separate bank account and keep the funds there until the time when we can rebuild as planned. We will also continue our work to protect Cottonwood from being paved over by a widened Malkin Avenue. (The next step is to participate in the Community Panel - please see our Facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/SaveCottonwoodCommunityGarden?ref=ts)

We remain grateful for your generous support of Cottonwood at a time when we really needed it. We are hopeful that, before too long, we will be able to apply your donations to the purpose for which they were intended. We will keep you posted and look forward to any comments and questions you may have.


Cottonwood Community Garden
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We have reached our fund raising goal of $10,000.00. We are over the moon! We appreciate very much indeed all of you who helped us get here!

Last week, gardeners voted to accept the Vancouver Park Board's offer to purchase a 10-foot steel container, transport it to Cottonwood, prepare a site for it in the garden and place it there, at no cost to us. We estimate the value of this offer to be at least $2,300.00. When we add it to the $7,700.00 already raised, we arrive at the total of $10,000.00.

We are very happy and grateful.

We had originally planned to purchase a 20-foot used steel container and use it as our new tool shed. (Wouldn't burn down!) We later found out that the Park Board is only giving approval for a 10-ft steel container to be brought into community gardens on Park Board land as a tool shed. We explained that we needed to recover the storage space we had lost and a 10-foot container wouldn't do that for us. After a fairly long conversation over the past couple of months, the Park Board has given us approval to rebuild the building we lost — no larger than the previous shed and in the same location. Once we submit the plans and get a building permit, we can start construction. We hope to begin rebuilding the toolshed in early Spring 2018. Also, the Park Board has offered to give us a 10-foot container. We are content with this compromise and appreciate very much the Park Board's assistance.

Thank you for all you have done to help us recover from the fire. Because of your support, we now have the funds to start rebuilding and replacing what was lost.

The next step for us is to start on the rebuild of our toolshed and greenhouse. (We will contact those of you who offered help with construction — we haven't forgotten.) And to work with the Vancouver Park Board to find a suitable place in the garden for the 10-foot steel container. We will post progress reports on our Facebook page.

Warm regards,

Cottonwood Community Garden

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We have now received $7,457.00 in donations and are close to reaching the three quarter mark of our $10,000.00 goal. This is amazing to us. Many thanks to all of you who have helped!

We are sorting out whether to rebuild the storage shed we lost - it was a solid, beautiful building built with sustainably grown lumber - or go with a used steel shipping container. There are advantages to both. We will keep you posted. In the meantime, if you have a way to help us raise the final $2,500.00 by sharing our appeal with friends or by considering a second donation, we would be grateful indeed.

(Photo of Dharm from Village Vancouver visiting our information table at the Strathcona Harvest Festival. Credit: Mary-Ann Charney)

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We have passed $5000.00 and are encouraged and hopeful that we will reach our fundraising goal. We are now half way there and have begun rebuilding in a small way, starting with our greenhouse. We feel very, very grateful to all of you who have taken us this far. Grateful too to Figaro's Garden http://www.figarosgarden.ca/ (see photo) for helping us spread the word and letting people know that our campaign continues. We hope you will do the same - please share our story far and wide, and let friends and family know how they can help Cottonwood rebuild. Tax receipts are available on request. (Photo by Mary-Ann Charney )
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$10,045 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 16 months
Created July 7, 2017
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