Gary Hee with some of the election signs from the Oct. 24 B.C. election and some of the planter boxes they became (Courtesy Gary Hee)

Gary Hee with some of the election signs from the Oct. 24 B.C. election and some of the planter boxes they became (Courtesy Gary Hee)

B.C. election signs transformed into planters by Langley recycling advocate

Gary Hee thinks signs shouldn’t be dumped in landfills

Some of the signs that went up during the Oct. 24 provincial election in Langley have found a new life as planter boxes, thanks to a former Langley council candidate who can’t stand waste.

Gary Hee has recycled 4,500 square feet of election signs donated by MLA Mary Polak, transforming them into sturdy planter boxes with one-inch thick walls, to be given away free to anyone who can use them.

He has enough material to make 24.

As of Sunday, Nov. 15, all but “five or six” had been spoken for, Hee told the Langley Advance Times.

One recipient was a Langley daycare, which already has a set of Hee-built planters from a previous election, that are used to help educate children about planting.

“It’s educational,” Hee enthused.

“They can see how vegetables grow.”

The daycare took five this time.

Hee said production is easier this year because Polak had the signs cut up into two-foot squares before he picked them up..

He builds the sturdy two-foot-square boxes by layering several signs together with screws and duct tape, keeping them blank side out.

Hee, 76, started looking for ways to re-use campaign signs to keep them from ending in landfills after an unsuccessful run for Langley Township council.

READ MORE: Proposal to use recycled campaign signs for homeless shelters attracts interest

He’s also experimented with building a variety of “prototypes” including sleeping mats and emergency shelters for homeless people, dividers for students and a six-foot tall tool shed.

He’s hoping he can convince candidates in the next municipal election in Langley to donate their signs, but he hasn’t had a lot of luck getting commitments this early on.

“I think they’re pretty busy,” Hee commented.

Hee’s idea came to the attention of National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States in 2018, when he was contacted by a producer for NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” a show devoted to off-beat news stories.

A business owner who lives near the Surrey-Langley border on the Cloverdale side, Hee got involved in Langley politics when he began campaigning for improvements to the stretch of road that crosses the Langley-Surrey border following a number of serious accidents in the area of 72 Avenue and 198B Street.

He’s also campaigned for free parking at Langley Memorial Hospital, a petition drive that succeeded, in manner of speaking, when the province announced fees would be suspended during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Free hospital parking announcement didn’t go far enough, critic says

Anyone interested in the remaining planters, especially those interested in helping put them together, can contact Hee by email at gary.hee@gmail.com.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicsLangleyRecycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Riders will need to don face coverings to ski and snowboard at Manning this winter. (Manning Park Resort photo)
Manning Park slopes open early

Early season snowfall allowed for opening this weekend, 56 centimetre snow base recorded Nov. 30

Mr. Bergen, a statue of a working man, was stolen from a porch in Popkum on Nov. 18, along with a marble statue. (Submitted photo)
Heavy statue and fountain thieved off porch in Popkum

Rightful owner has had statue for 27 years and wants it returned

The winning home of the 2019 Hope Christmas Lights contest was on Cypress Street. Residents have until Dec. 5 to sign their street up for this year’s contest. (Submitted photo)
Holiday cheer, even in a pandemic year

Here’s what is happening in Hope and area as the holiday season kicks off

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read