Angela Doro, president of Freybe, and Township Mayor Jack Froese, announced Freybe's $70,000 donation towards a garden at the new Salishan Place by the River. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Fort Langley project gets garden courtesy of Langley meat company

The new museum and cultural centre will have a garden of native and drought-tolerant plants

A $70,000 donation by a Langley food company will fund gardens at the Salishan Place by the River, now under construction in Fort Langley.

The donation, by Freybe Gourmet Foods, was announced on Tuesday.

“We felt it was a great opportunity for the community to learn more about the native species around our area,” said Angela Doro, the president of Freybe.

The gardens are to feature native plants from the local region, with a section devoted to plant species connected to Indigenous culture, traditions, and medicine.

When completed, the gardens will have interpretive signs equipped with QR codes. Visitors can use their phones to look up more information on the plants.

It’s also an opportunity to work more with Indigenous communities on their lands, Doro said.

“As our organization learns more about our relationship with Indigenous peoples, we hope to push other businesses to support these initiatives as a way to support dialogue and learning,” she said.

It’s a way to take part in activities that move towards truth and meaningful reconciliation, she added.

READ ALSO: $711,000 tourism grant goes to Langley arts and culture centre

Salishan Place by the River is the new arts, culture, and heritage centre being built by the Township.

When complete, it will feature the Township’s new museum, replacing the Langley Centennial Museum’s 60-year-old structure, but will also contain dedicated community and Indigenous gallery spaces, a library, and a convention centre with amenities to include a 167-seat theatre, a reception/banquet hall with commercial kitchen, and a rooftop gathering space with views to the Fraser River and Golden Ears mountain.

The Township is building the facility in partnership with the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui, and Semiahmoo First Nations.

That partnership will extend to the gardens, said Peter Tulumello, director of arts, culture, and community at the Township.

The gardens are being designed by Township staff, in collaboration with an Indigenous consultant.

Another portion of the gardens will feature plant species that are linked to the objectives of the Township’s climate action strategy. That will mean plants found in B.C.’s coastal rainforests, as well as drought-tolerant varieties.

Between the two gardens will be an open air space designed as an outdoor classroom and venue for speakers, walking tours, and arts and culture events.

The Salishan Place by the River is expected to open around Canada Day of 2023. The gardens are set to be installed by the fall of next year and be available for viewing by the spring of 2023, so visitors will be able to walk through them before the facility is open.

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