Water

From Grey to Green: A Permeable Parking Lot Story

Depave Paradise has officially wrapped for 2017! We’ve had our most successful year yet Depaving 5 sites for a total of 594m2 asphalt removed! One of our community sites, New Horizons Thrift, Vintage & Collectables, challenged us at Green Venture to a new post-depave vision – a permeable parking lot.  With the majority of our Depave Paradise projects being at schools, we’re used to planting trees, rain gardens, native plant gardens and outdoor education spaces, but this particular community group had a different idea in mind! In Fall 2017, residents from the North End community and Welcome Inn Community Centre – New Horizons Thrift Store partnered with Green Venture to Depave. The New Horizons Thrift Shop on James St. North was all broken asphalt and chipped compacted stone. Jen Kellner, Executive Director of Welcome Inn Community Centre and Suzanne Foreman, Manager of New Horizons brought the idea to life in partnership with Green Venture Depave Paradise coordinator, Laura Anderson. Several months of researching, planning, community engagement and volunteer recruitment went into the parking lot transformation project. The goal: create a permeable, sustainable and green parking lot that will be functional and environmentally friendly. With the help of contractors including Groundhog Excavation, Avesi Stormwater and Landscape Solutions, Fern Ridge Eco-Landscaping and LID Permeable Pavers, we came up with a plan to remove the asphalt, excavate out the compacted gravel and stone, add a drainage base layer of ¾ clear stone and high performance bedding, and lay down 2000 square feet of EcoRaster. Volunteers from the community came to help lay the EcoRaster, as the simple interlocking system easily fits together. We chose Ecoraster E50, a commercial grade permeable paver ideal for parking lots and driveways with snow conditions. The Ecoraster was filled with a mixture of premium garden soil and high performance bedding, custom mixed by The Dirt Depot, to provide drainage and soil for seeding. The permeable pavers have been seeded with clover, sheeps fescue and a mixture of eco lawn seeds. In the Spring, the community will reseed the system with creeping thyme and sedums. The secondary goal of this Depave Paradise project was parking lot beautification to increase pride in the North end. As a result we partnered with the Hamilton Tool Library to build 10 planter boxes that are installed along the back of the parking lot. Built by volunteers and planted with donations from the community including members of the Sunset Cultural Garden, these boxes will serve to add biodiversity and life to the parking lot. Over the course of the project, including our  volunteer planning committee, depave helpers, garden box builders and permeable paver installers, we had approximately 35 committed volunteers connected to the project.

 

Many thanks to the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund and City of Hamilton’s City Enrichment Fund for their funding support for this project.

New demonstration item at EcoHouse: the LifeStraw personal water filter

Green Venture recently received a donation of Lifestraw Personal Water Filters. The personal water filters, which look like a baton tube with a filter camp on the end, remove bacteria such as E.Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium from water in a natural setting. Each filter has the capability to make up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water safe to drink. They are used in third world countries to provide access to clean drinking water.

In Canada, the most likely application is use in a natural setting (hiking, backpacking, camping, etc.), permitting one to drink directly from streams and lakes or from any container. They also have travel and emergency preparedness applications. Apparently you can buy a specially-designed water bottle to enclose the straw, although ours didn’t come with that.

Green Venture staff used the Lifestraws during the 2017 summer camp season, as part of our off-site emergency supply kits.

By reducing fuel consumption necessary to boil and purify water, the filters also have the possibility of reducing one’s carbon footprint, especially in area without a municipal water filtration system.

It’s a very interesting contrast to a water filter we actually built here at EcoHouse in 2008- as part of a CAWST workshop.  In those days, the workshop instructors showed everyone how to make DIY concrete forms to hold water filters for a village water treatment system.

2008 CAWST water filter building workshop at EcoHouse

The Lifestraw company also contributes a portion of proceeds of sales of the Lifestraw to providing clean water to schools in Kenya and India.  http://followthelitres.com/

If you’d like to see the Lifestraw, please visit EcoHouse and ask one of our education staff to show the new demo item.

 

Four Shades of Green

An update on our grass alternative beds

EcoHouse is getting greener — four shades greener to be exact!  Last summer we established four small test plots for different types of lawn alternatives, right in our own front yard.  We wanted to understand the benefits of each type firsthand, and be able to show visitors exactly how each would turn out.  This has been an exciting project right from the get-go.  There was much debate amongst staff and board as to which alternatives we should choose, and the four finalists that made it into the exhibit were: Continue reading

Green Venture and R.A. Riddell team up to Depave Paradise

December 2, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Green Venture and R.A. Riddell team up to Depave Paradise

Hamilton, ON – This year, we’ve launched something special to help give back to our community project and address some of our most complex and overwhelming environmental challenges. We are excited to announce the launch of our 2015 crowdfunding campaign for ‘Depave Paradise’ on Small Change Fund! Continue reading

Go Green this Halloween with our EEK-O-Friendly Tips!

In just a week, the trick-or-treaters will be out but celebrating Halloween doesn’t have to be a bellyache (unless you eat all that candy!). This year, why not swap one of your traditions for something a little more eco-friendly, say making your own decorations or mixing up some homemade face paint? Here are 10 ways to green your Halloween: Continue reading

Vendor Profile – Eat Industries Inc.

As many of you know, Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration UpRoot Hamilton is rapidly approaching – this Saturday Oct 3rd at EcoHouse. UpRoot Hamilton is a platform to showcase local food and drink in a beautiful heritage setting while celebrating 20 years of community outreach, education and making the Hamilton region a more environmentally-friendly place to work, live and play. Continue reading

Veevers Park – Clean and Green

On June 20th Green Venture set out to Veevers Park with a mission of ‘planting and beautification’. Several times a year, with the help of staff and volunteers, we head to our adopted park to do some tidying. These projects can include litter collection, planting, weeding, graffiti removal, painting, and anything else that the area might need. We adopted Veevers Park in 2013 to connect and contribute to the local area and community surrounding our office, Ecohouse. Continue reading

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

This week, we updated the green roof demo at EcoHouse with some Sedums! A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. Green roofs are a beautiful and cost-efficient way to conserve energy, manage storm water, and insulate a building. Continue reading

Putting our Waste to Work

The 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. A familiar phrase and usually exhibited by any environmentally friendly program or event. We often talk about recycling more and consuming less, but today we wanted to focus on reusing. Continue reading

We Love our Laneways!

After a great weekend cleaning up Hamilton’s alleyways with the Beautiful Alleys Clean Up Project, we were feeling a bit inspired to brighten your day!

Alleyways are a defining feature of older urban neighbourhoods. Such extensive networks of passageways and open spaces offer easy access to homes and businesses with minimal car interference. Rather than developing alleys for the benefit of the community, they have become forgotten, underused and abused public spaces.

Does Your Alleyway Need a Makeover? Do you have an alleyway in your neighbourhood that could use a little help? 

Meet the GALA Alleyway Project

map of alleyways in GALA neighbourhood

Beautifying community spaces by adding green space and removing unnecessary asphalt and concrete not only renews the space, but has been proven to improve our community’s water quality, build neighbourhoods, increase bicycle and pedestrian connections and increase natural habitats for birds and butterflies. Through our GALA Alleyway Project, Green Venture is working to transform these spaces to include native species gardens, solar lighting, local art, natural playgrounds and games, and so much more.

We want to hear from you! Do you know problem areas and heavily travelled alleyways that could benefit from a little beautification? Let us know here by filling out our short survey. Contact deirdre.connell@greenventure.ca for more info.

Listen here to our recent interview on CFMU 93.3 about the project

Need some inspiration? Here are some Laneways we Love! 

image

Montreal’s Ruelle Vertes/Green Alleys

image

San Francisco’s Living Alley Project

Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia

Graffiti Alley

Toronto’s Graffiti Alley, aka Rush Lane

Detroit Green Alleys

Five Points Alley, Cincinnati