By Goat staff with files from Lee Onslow

Gazebo volunteers from the Blue River Fire Department L to R: Prince Saini, Andy Boughton, Dustin Deuling, Tom Onslow, Dan Rossi, Bruce Myers, Albert Venor. /SUBMITTED

The Blue River Community Garden has a new feature: a mosquito-free zone in the form of a screened gazebo.

The Blue River Volunteer Fire department donated their time and expertise to build the gazebo, say garden coordinators Lee Onslow and Aimee Venor, and the project was supported by many other organizations: the North Thompson Communities Foundation gave a substantial grant towards building supplies. Other donations rolled in from the Blue River Powder Packers, the Blue River Improvement District, and the Beer in the Garden fundraiser. Wells Gray Home Hardware gave a large discount on the building materials and delivery to Blue River.

“Without the help of these organizations our gazebo would not have become a reality,” Onslow said.

The Blue River Community garden has become a food-producing oasis in the heart of Blue River. Onslow said over the past few years they have increased the number of wooden garden beds from eight to 25, using cedar from Midget Mills in McBride. Volunteers plant and maintain the seven community garden boxes for anyone in town to come and harvest some fresh vegetables.

“The beautiful garden is now an inviting and inclusive space, transformed from an old tennis court,” Onslow said. “Climbing vines grow up the chain link fence, flowers grow in a feature rock garden, and three spectacular Maple trees welcome visitors at the gate.”

Their volunteer base has increased from six people to 30 in three years. Onslow and Venor say they look forward to seeing things evolve and grow in the future.