REVE Nourricier worked with community volunteers and partners to depave 105m2 of asphalt in the parking lot of Conseil Sports Loisirs de l’Estrie (CSLE), a sports complex and community center in Sherbrooke, Québec. They planted over a 200m2 area. 

The Project

The Conseil Sports Loisirs de l’Estrie (CSLE) is a community center and sports complex offering various initiatives and recreation opportunities for community members. The site was previously home to a hotel and a medical clinic before becoming the CSLE. While the building had been renovated and updated, the parking lot was installed in the 1970s and was never repaired, resulting in old, cracked asphalt that was in desperate need of rejuvenation. Volunteers were able to depave the site easily by hand.   

The project incorporates various examples of green infrastructure, including a Miyawaki mini forest, bioretention ponds and pollinator gardens. The design plan integrated natural elements throughout, such as fencing made of cedar pillars and marine rope and using large rocks as seating throughout the space. Over 400 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses were planted on the site.  

The site was designed through a design workshop, leading to a conceptual plan that was created by Gabrielle Rondeau-Leclaire, the Executive Director of REVE Nourricier. The conceptual plan was further refined by a landscape architect, and a local landscaper helped prepare the site for planting and installed the other features such as rock formations and prepared the bioretention basins.  

Lessons Learned

The community engagement process was one of the biggest successes of this project. Community members were involved in six different workshops throughout the planning and planting process. 

“Volunteers were very happy to participate in a one-of-a-kind event such as the depaving of the parking lot. They also mentioned learning about new planting techniques, about dense planting in the Miyawaki method, and enjoyed the selection of indigenous plants for the design.” Gabrielle Rondeau-Leclaire, Executive Director 

Final Thoughts

This project has inspired REVE Nourricier to think about future opportunities for green infrastructure on the site. A proposed second phase of the project would involve building another rain garden on the site, to direct and slow down water before it reaches the sewer basin.  

This project was supported by Green Communities Canada’s Living Cities Canada Fund. 

To find plants that are adapted to grow in your region, or plant nurseries that sell native plants, visit the Network of Nature website at the links provided.