Louise Neveu, one a group of volunteer gardeners at Cairnsmore Place, a long-term care facility, stands outside the storage shed where thieves stole valuable gardening equipment on Feb. 2. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

What you said (back before COVID-19): Garden tool grabber sparks frustration on Facebook

The accompanying Facebook post had members of the community fuming.

In the Feb. 16 edition of the Cowichan Valley Citizen Robert Barron reported thieves lifted $600 worth of garden tools from the volunteers’ garden shed at Cairnsmore Place, a long-term care facility in Duncan.

Louise Neveu, a spokeswoman for the approximately 18 gardeners, said the group’s weed whipper and hedge trimmer, worth about $600 in total, were taken after the thief or thieves climbed the property’s fence on Feb. 2 and entered a “secure” area.

READ MORE: Garden tools stolen from Cairnsmore Place in Duncan

The accompanying Facebook post had members of the community fuming.

“Shame on you who took these tools,” wrote Laura Williams Ridley. “These lovely people that volunteer at Carinsmore are giving so [much] joy to all those that live, work and visit. Peace is knowing karma has a GPS.”

“That is reprehensible!!” wrote Jill Lendrum Benwell.

“These volunteers are amazing and keep the residents at Cairnsmore connected to community spirit. I’m so disheartened about the impacts of theft in our community,” added Amanda Marchand.

A great many similar comments echoed those sentiments, but the good shone through in the end, with offers of new gear being made.

“I would be willing to help out replacing some of what was taken,” wrote Cathy Schmidt.

Alex Spezowka offered the same.

“I am willing to contribute a couple of items to replace what’s needed. If more people pitch in we can make it work again until the culprit is found and the tools are recovered.”

It wasn’t long before Neveu confirmed some good news, in the comment section under the Facebook post.

“Thank you to all for the generous comments. At 9:15 this morning [Feb 20] a very generous business man from our community found us while we were gardening and wrote a cheque for $600. Great heart!!!”

While the specific situation was rectified relatively quickly for the Cairnsmore volunteer gardeners, some pointed to the ongoing trend of crime in Duncan.

“A friend used to rent a garden plot on the St. Andrews Church property near there. Gave it up because all the plants were getting stolen. One of those unfortunate realities in today’s Duncan,” wrote Mark Anderson.

“Good lord…..its getting bad in Duncan….and what the hell are they doing with the tools they steal? Not pruning that’s for sure…..sorry this happen[ed],” added Jo Ann Christie.

Vanessa Bramhill noted her husband was recently in downtown Duncan when he was threatened with a knife “by a person who is evidently struggling”.

“Very scary times,” she wrote. “We need a better plan.”

“It’s not the first time we’ve experienced intrusive or threatening behaviour… but I thought it had subsided. I’m worried that it’s picking up again,” Bramhill added. “Its nuts! and I think our politicians (all levels) should spend a good amount of time in the downtown in order to get a true appreciation for the issues. Other homeless folks are also vulnerable to these more aggressive and intrusive individuals.”

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