Green Communities Canada is celebrating the accomplishments of a 40-month Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Grow Grant for our Depave Paradise program.
Depave Paradise is a fun and engaging multi-community program that brings communities together to rip up unused asphalt by hand and replace it with locally sourced native plants.
The program provides community-based, hands-on educational opportunities on effective stormwater management, flood risk, and green infrastructure as a means of adapting to climate change. Additionally, Depave demonstration projects make permanent positive changes to neighbourhoods and encourage others to take action.
Over the past three years OTF funding has enabled GCC to install 32 permanent depave demonstration sites across Ontario with the help of more than 4,000 volunteers.
Sites have been installed at schools, alleviating localized pooling of stormwater, and creating outdoor classrooms and opportunities for nature-based education.
“It has enhanced the area tremendously as far as aesthetics are concerned, but more importantly has created additional safe and dry play space for students to learn, play and socialize in. There has also been a lot of positive community feedback about the space!”- Sheppard Public School, Kitchener, ON, Principal Christy Webster. Site depaved by REEP Green Solutions, 2018.
Sites have been installed at parks, expanding opportunities for local food production.
“With the generosity of this funding, we were able to turn an old tennis court into a community garden. We currently have 30 plots with room to expand. Not only has this space provided fresh food, it has also become a social gathering ” – City Staffer, Tiny Township Community Garden. Site depaved by Environment Network, 2019.
Depave projects have also found their way into downtown locations. In 2018, GreenUP depaved a “road to nowhere” adjacent to a downtown No Frills, connecting to and expanding Millennium Park in Peterborough, ON.
“Public Works (City of Peterborough) has received positive feedback from the community with respect to the Depave project and generally the naturalized area provides for habitat creation, social benefits for our community, a minor reduction in winter control operations, and generally an ecological catalyst for discussion and education within our community. Thank you for your efforts!” – City Staffer, City of Peterborough. Site depaved by GreenUP, 2018).
In 2021, a section of Daniel St. was depaved in Smiths Falls by REAL and transformed into beautiful pollinator gardens that will beautify a new bandshell installation in the town’s core.
Depaves have taken place at community centres, churches, and universities as well!
Edudeo Ministries, Hamilton ON, Depaved by Green Venture, 2020
Confederation College, Thunderbay, ON, Depaved by Ecosuperior, 2021
Church of Incarnation, Barrie ON, Depave by Halton Environment Network, 2021.
In all, the OTF grant funded the depaving of a total 8,599m2 of hard surfaces which were replaced with permeable green spaces, including 126 trees and 3466 shrubs and native plants. These spaces are instrumental in supporting wildlife habitat. In addition, the depaved spaces divert a total of 9,250m3 of stormwater run-off, removing 1,500 kgs of pollutants from waterways annually!
GCC is grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its support and looks forward to continuing the Depave Program over the next year when 15 new sites across Canada will be depaved using funding from a private trust.