The large orange sign at Grant's Farm in Port Coquitlam says it all - there is no pumpkin patch this year.
And the owner of the farm is pointing the finger at a fill site across the street as the culprit. Della Grant has been operating a pumpkin patch on the farm, at the corner of Burns Road and Dominion Avenue in PoCo, during the Halloween season for a couple of generations.
Each year, the farm yields thousands of pumpkins, much to the delight of kids and families around the Tri-Cities - but not this year.
Grant has pulled the plug on the patch. And she blames dust from the fill site for ruining this year's crop. Specifically, the work being undertaken by a company called Conwest Contracting.
Grant suggested the dust has limited bees' abilities to pollinate the plants properly.
She claims she's been battling the dust for the last three years, but when the latest pumpkin crop failed, she decided to pack it in.
"I said, 'That's it, I can't fight this anymore,'" she told the Tri-Cities NOW, noting the operation as one of the only patches to cater to tots and disabled seniors.
"I felt really bad. A lot of people are disappointed."
In a given year, the farm would produce thousands of pumpkins and net more than
Grant has contacted a lawyer to discuss her situation, but said she doesn't think it will be worth taking legal action.
Beyond the dust, she's also worried about increased traffic at the corner of the two streets from all of the development in the area.
Grant believes the intersection is just an "accident waiting to happen."
She said she reached out to city officials, but got no help.
The Tri-Cities NOW contacted Conwest for comment and was told the person who has authority to comment was not available.
The City of PoCo did offer a response to the Tri-Cities NOW.
In an e-mail from the city's engineering and operations department, a city spokesperson noted the fill site on Dominion has been active since November 2008.
The city said access to the site was originally from Dominion Avenue, but was relocated in July 2013, "eliminating hauling to the site via Dominion Avenue."
"As stipulated in the Soil Removal and Deposit Permit, it is the contractor's responsibility to implement and maintain any approved means for dust control including but not limited to power sweeping, water spraying of hauling routes, truck wheel wash station, etc.," the statement said.
"This site had a truck wheel wash station off of Dominion Avenue which was constructed by the contractor and subsequently relocated once the access was relocated. In addition, the contractor had had a power sweeper on site and a water truck to spray the site and roads as required. Dust control is often most problematic in the dry summer months. During this time, the contractor would sweep the roads at least once a day and at some points up to three times per day."
The city said its engineering department responded to a number of inquiries from Grants Farm regarding airborne dust coming from the fill site.
"Our engineering inspector would review the site conditions and direct the contractor as required," the city said in a statement. "The inspector also often visited and reviewed the site conditions and instructs the contractor if there was an issue. As of today, the filling of this site is nearly complete and there is minimal activity at the north end of the site."
While this season is gone, Grant said she's not sure what the future holds for the pumpkin patch.
"It's just like starting all over again," she said.
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