Halifax urban farm has shed smashed by alleged impaired driver

·2 min read
The Common Roots BiHi Park on Bayers Road had its storage shed smashed last Friday by a motorist.  (Jack Julian/CBC - image credit)
The Common Roots BiHi Park on Bayers Road had its storage shed smashed last Friday by a motorist. (Jack Julian/CBC - image credit)

A community farm in Halifax is looking for help after an alleged impaired driver smashed through its storage shed early last Friday.

Members said it's lucky the incident didn't happen later in the day, when the garden gets busy.

"It could have been catastrophic. It would have been horrible," said Sara Burgess, co-ordinator of Common Roots BiHi Park site on Bayers Road.

The driver careened from an on-ramp to Highway 102, sped across roughly 30 metres of grass, "missed our water tank which has 10,000 litres of water in it, missed the trees, and hit the shed," said Burgess.

A vital part of the farm

On Monday, plastic fragments of a maroon vehicle were scattered in the grass near two dirt tire tracks.

Halifax police said a 22-year-old man has been charged with impaired driving after the single-vehicle crash. There were no injuries.

Burgess said the shed was donated to Common Roots by the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank, which built it as part of a carpentry training program.

"We store harvest in there, things that don't need to be refrigerated, we have our tools in there, we spend a lot of time in there doing office work," Burgess said.

She said besides damaged equipment, about $100 of tomatoes destined to be sold or donated were "pulped" in the crash.

Common Roots
Common Roots

Bernie Leonard, who lives in a nearby apartment building, was surveying the remains of the shed Monday afternoon while checking on his plot where he and his wife grew a crop of carrots, peas, squash, tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers.

"The pile of wreckage is frightening to see," he said. "And thank heavens there was no one around at the time because the shed is a very busy place, where the workers are going, where volunteers go."

The farm is so busy because it's not just about gardening, his wife Annette said.

"For us it's a place for us to come over and we mingle with the staff here, the volunteer staff. And a lot of my friends will come over here. We have lunch ... It's an excuse to get out of an apartment. We just sit here. It's nice," she said.

Jack Julian/CBC
Jack Julian/CBC

Burgess said insurance will pay to haul away the remains of the old building, and eventually build a new one.

But right now the farm needs somewhere to store its surviving gear.

"We need a small shed where we can store our shovels and our hand tools so that when people come to the farm, they can still be participating in and working on the farm," Burgess said.

Burgess said she'd welcome either a loan or a donation of a wood or plastic shed.

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