Veterans of the Grande Prairie region, as well as the surrounding community, will soon see the Veterans Memorial Garden bear the fruits of its volunteers’ labour. The half-acre pocket garden is dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers and regional veterans who were from Grande Prairie, as well as the surrounding municipalities.
Renee Charbonneau, Executive Director of the Canadian Motorcycle Tourism Association, says she took over the project from ANAVETS in order to see it to completion.
“We ended up taking over the project for them and they basically said if we really wanted to make this into something special, that they would donate the land to us once we got water, sewer, power, and gas in,” she explains. “We’re just waiting for [the] title to transfer now.”
Volunteers were assembled and coordinated through Tree Canada. Pembina Pipeline, according to Charbonneau, sponsors Tree Canada to ensure edible trees are planted regularly in urban areas. She adds Pembina also sponsored the garden renovation, contributing many of the crew for the labour, as well as committing $3,500 to the project.
Other volunteers representing organizations such as Brandt Tractor, RCMP, and Alberta Sheriffs also came out to help with the garden.
Plum trees, apple trees, pin cherry trees, haskap berries, and buffalo berries were included among everything planted. Charbonneau says once the plants begin to flower, the surrounding community will be able to benefit from the fruit as it grows.
“The whole idea is as kids come through here and they’re doing field trips and that kind of thing that we’re going to be able to have them come in [and] enjoy a plum or an apple as they walk through the gardens,” she says.
Charbonneau adds the garden will be maintained by the community once it is fully developed.