Volunteers a key part of Doubleday Arboretum

A small but committed group of volunteers is making the Derek Doubleday Arboretum a reality.

There are many groups of people who work in relative obscurity for the good of their community.  We call them volunteers, because they work for the good of others, without expecting public recognition or financial recompense.

One such group is very close to seeing some real results from many, many hours of work. It is a small group consisting of fewer than a dozen people, who over the course of the past couple of years have assisted the Township of Langley in planning and developing a public park.

This is the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, which is located on the border between the City and the Township of Langley, along Fraser Highway, just west of the airport.

Here are the highlights of their achievements thus far:

— They took on the responsibility to work with the Township of Langley to develop the park;

— They formed a society to which the public can belong;

— They involved many members of the Rotary Club;

— They were granted funds from the two municipal governments to start developmental planning and design, as well as significant construction;

— Through the efforts of two students, and many donations from the public, a walkway of remembrance has been almost completed, with a total of 158 trees to be planted. A  gravelled walkway wends its way along the trees through the arboretum;

— Many hours of volunteer labour has been contributed;

— Thousands of bulbs, plants, trees and shrubs have been donated and planted;

— Many donations of labour and materials have been received;

— Public access from the highway and parking space for 80 cars has been completed; and

— Two viewing platforms have been constructed.

It is important that the public be aware of the efforts of this small and dedicated group.

People need to know what has happened and what the future holds for this developing park.

At present, the following is being planned:

— A number of benches will be ordered that will placed appropriately around the park;

— A cenotaph will be completed this summer, partially funded by the federal government;

— Public facilities are planned:

— An education centre is planned:

— Explanatory signage will be placed throughout the park; and

— Additional walkways and plantings are planned.

Over time, it is the intent that this park will serve as a place for citizens to relax, to learn if they wish about plants and trees, and to enjoy the colours and textures of different foliage throughout the year.  Above all, it is meant to be a convenient place for people of all ages to enjoy.

The volunteer efforts have been effective, and more volunteers who are interested in this project are always welcome.

For additional information or to take out a membership in the Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley, and or to make a financial donation, people can access the web site, abslangley.org, or call Les Clay, president, at 604–530-5188.

— Bent Hansen, Times contributoir