It was a modern archeological dig at the Evergreen community garden on the southside in Terrace last week as nearly four tonnes of scrap equipment metal were extracted from the ground near the north fence.
The metal was discovered while a contractor the garden society had hired was digging trenches for a new water system.
“We had no idea what we were going to encounter,” said Green Thumbers president Barb Tetz.
“Last time when we dug in the water system for the first five hydrants, it was all river silt with rock. This time when I saw what they had to dig through to get that first curbstop in, I panicked. Because I looked down and it was boulders all the way down…What are we going to encounter in this one [I thought]?”
What they encountered was a large collection of metal, origins unknown, and more than they’d anticipated when the first bit was discovered—when it was finally extracted the pile was taller than Tetz herself.
“Pieces and pieces of bulldozer track, wheels, an engine,” she said, noting that they are keeping an old gasket, a gasket ring and one of the wheels to use for the fire pit setup.
The rest of the metal is being salvaged, with the money returning to the garden.
“It was a collaborative effort to get it out, which is absolutely wonderful,” said Tetz.
“There’s also more metal being donated and that money will go back to the gardens too,” she said.
Gopher Contracting, West Point, ABC Salvage and Finning Cat, which is adjacent to the garden, provided the equipment and labour to get the metal out.
“It’s out and I’m glad,” said Tetz. “This is the beauty of what’s happening within gardening in Terrace, people are pulling together to make it happen.”
The extraction process, which lasted all afternoon on April 24, was a sight to behold, with a large piece of equipment used to extract the find tipping up on its nose at points.
“The tracks were so jammed down in there under the earth and interwoven with each other, you’d pull one out that was up at the surface and then it would hook onto another one,” said Tetz.
Two tracks, about 10 or 11 feet down, needed to be left in the ground because removing them could have broken the new water system—but they’re down so far and metal leaches down, so they don’t pose a problem.
A handful of garden society volunteers, on site working to complete the garden and ready it for the growing season, got to witness the extraction, with plenty of jokes to go around.
“We’re really good at growing caterpillars at this garden,” laughed one in reference to a heavy equipment manufacturer’s name.
“Oh yeah, and look at how nice the soil is, just full of iron,” replied another as the work went on.