Woman turns Olympic Village eyesore into a garden; City of Vancouver says it has to go

A Vancouver woman is hoping city officials will have a change of heart and won’t uproot the garden she’s built near Olympic Village.

“You have no idea how many people pass by this and they say thank you. They thank me for making the garden. What a beautiful garden you have,” said Eklas Miller, the woman behind the garden.

Her garden sits on the land that used to be home to a piece of public art. Back in 2010, a bulldozer made of compostable material was constructed following winter Olympics, work by a pair of Berlin artists, with the city of Vancouver’s blessing.

The intent, according to the artists and the city, was for the installation to be temporary — the materials would break down over time. They did and became something of an eyesore, says Miller.

In 2013, she said she tried to get permission to turn it into a community garden. Instead, Miller said she got the runaround from city hall.

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“Finally, I says OK, they don’t know what I should do and who I should speak to…they better get their act together and I’m doing a garden this year,” said Miller.

Over the years, she said she’s spent about $1,000 of her pension on the garden.

However, this week, an official with the city’s real estate services sent Miller a letter explaining that she didn’t have permission to erect the garden.

“It was always intended that this would be a temporary art project. It is finally time for the installation-turned-garden to be removed,” said city spokesperson Amanda McCuaig, in an email to Global News.

“The area continues to transform as the City is now mobilizing on projects such as the expanded dog run in Hinge Park, seawall improvements and a general clean up of the property.”

Miller insists getting rid of the garden is a mistake.

“Why would you want to destroy a garden. A beautiful garden that’s not in anybody’s way?”

According to the letter, the garden will be demolished on or around Nov. 15. Miller has been granted access to the site for now to save whatever plants she can.

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