depave paradise

Depave Paradise: Dundas community transforming schoolyard into vibrant, green learning space

Yorkview Elementary School students, parents and members of the community, in partnership with Green Venture, removed 172m2 of old asphalt by hand on Saturday, September 29 as the first step in their schoolyard revitalization.  Local MPP Sandy Shaw and Anne Tennier, an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer, were on hand to see how a three-year, $740,000 province-wide OTF grant awarded earlier this year is starting to have an impact. This funding will support 36 projects by 2020.  Other cities who will be leading Depave Paradise projects in Ontario include Peterborough, Kitchener-Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Collingwood, Kingston, Ottawa, Mississauga and York Region.

“Thanks to the funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, transformational environmental projects across our Province and right here in Dundas are made possible,” said Sandy Shaw, MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. “It is truly inspiring to see what can be accomplished when students along with community partners work together to enrich where we live, work and play.”

The revitalized schoolyard offers benefits to both students and the broader community including greater biodiversity, reduced storm water run-off and cleaner water. Designed in consultation with the students and community, support from this Yorkview Elementary School Depave project was generously provided by OTF through Green Communities Canada, the Raingers Rain Garden partnership project with Bay Area Restoration Council and Dougher Community Fund and Tree Canada Greening Canada’s School Ground.

The new space will include two storm water management rain and pollinator gardens, native trees and shrubs, naturalized seating areas, and cedar garden boxes for each classroom. The input of more than 150 students and members of the community informed the garden design.

“This depave project has been a great journey for our school so far, says Brian Gauthier, leader of the Stewardship Team of Yorkview’s Parent Council, “It has been an opportunity to draw on the amazing and diverse talent we have across our school community. When we are done, Yorkview will have this amazing monument to the passion and skill of our community that will educate and delight our students.”

Managing storm water more effectively is a key element in the green space design. Hard impermeable urban surfaces like asphalt interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground. When rainwater flows over pavement it picks up a wide range of polluting materials, including motor oil, anti-freeze, tire residue, pet waste and cigarette butts. Green spaces help filter and absorb polluted storm water.

Many partners from the community have committed in-kind support including Groundhog Excavation, Dougan & Associates, Play Think, Brent J Clark Designs, Turksta Lumber, City of Hamilton Urban Forestry and many parents, community members, school administration and teachers.

And coming up on Saturday, October 13th between 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., the Dundas school community will plant hundreds of native plants and trees, build garden boxes and create a new environmental learning and play space. Volunteers are needed! This family friendly event is happening rain or shine! Please dress for the weather and be ready to get your hands dirty! Don’t forget to wear sturdy, closed shoes. Reusable water bottles and gloves are encouraged! Everyone is welcome to help to transform this paved area into a beautiful, functional garden that will encourage people to recognize the benefits of protecting water and air quality for human health.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects this year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. www.otf.ca

 

For more information, please contact:

Laura Anderson, Program Coordinator, Green Venture 905‐540‐8787, Ext. 158   laura.anderson@greenventure.ca

Green Venture is a community-based, non-profit organization committed to helping Hamilton-area residents live more sustainably where they live, work, and play.

www.greenventure.ca    Twitter: @Green_Venture    Facebook: GreenVentureHamilton

Photos by: fehn foss www.fehnfoss.com + Alejandro www.instagram.com/onelooseboot