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Supporters disappointed with loss of community garden shed


AMHERST – Supporters of the Amherst Community Garden are disappointed that someone could have burned down a shed at the East Pleasant Street property.

(From left) Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu, Lisa Emery and Colleen Dowe look over what’s left of a shed at the Amherst Community Garden project on East Pleasant Street. The shed was destroyed by fire on Monday night. The cause has yet to be determined, but supporters of the group are disappointed with the thought it might have been deliberately set.

“It’s infuriating, actually,” Colleen Dowe said. “If this was done on purpose it shows a complete lack of respect.”

Amherst firefighters were called to the property just after 5 p.m. on Monday night. Chief Greg Jones said the cause of the fire is undetermined, but remains under investigation. He said it’s too early to say if it was set intentionally or if it was an accident.

The shed is a complete loss. It was used to store equipment that was also lost in the fire.

Garden supporters have grown concerned that the garden property has become a dumping ground for garbage by young people while the shed had become a bit of a clubhouse for young people, who may have been using it as a place to smoke away from the nearby high school.

Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu, who lives nearby and has supported the garden project through CANSA, said she’s extremely disappointed because the garden has been a success story.

“I’ve had discussions with police about people walking through the property and dumping garbage there and we’ve also talked to the high school and they’ve in turn talked to students,” Cooke-Sumbu said.

Cooke-Sumbu said the school has been very supportive of the garden project and its students have volunteered there.

Lisa Emery, who co-ordinates the garden project, said losing the shed hurts because it provided a place for people to store gardening tools as well as seeds. She’s hoping it can be replaced in time for next spring.

“If it was set intentionally hopefully someone will come forward and tell police what they saw, someone had to have seen something,” Emery said.

Emery said the gardens have been well used by people in the community as well as by Cumberland Mental Health.

The shed was donated several years ago by Joe LeFurgey to Maggie’s Place and used in a Christmas parade. After, Maggie’s Place donated the shed to the community garden and it was placed on the property by Bill Dowe.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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