REAL is developing its Environment Centre on the 85 William St. site to feature practical environmental solutions that people can model in their homes and communities.
Environment Centre Beginnings
In 2008 the REAL Deal Reuse Store moved to its current location, a former Public Works building no longer needed by the Town of Smiths Falls. The building happened to be located on a three acre naturalized parcel of land, adjacent to a significant wetland known as “The Swale”. REAL saw the many possibilities the site offered for introducing the public to environmental concepts by providing information, demonstrations, opportunities and workshops all in one place, creating an environmental centre for the region.
|REAL Deal Reuse Store. The most well-known feature of the site is the REAL Deal Reuse Store , which accepts and sells gently used goods, ensuring that reusable and restorable items are kept out of landfills. Read more.|
|Electronic Waste Collection. On site is an OES (Ontario Electronic Stewardship) electronics waste collection bin. Materials are accepted during store hours and shipped to OES facilities for proper recycling. You do not need to be a resident of Smiths Falls to use this service. Read more.|
|Other Waste Materials. The REAL Deal Reuse Store also accepts other waste items such as batteries, print cartridges, scrap wire and metal, mercury thermostats, and milk bags for recycling. Read more.|
|Native Garden. A garden planted along the front of the building demonstrates the benefits of native gardening.|
|REAL Community Garden. Eleven garden plots are available to individuals or groups who want to plan, plant, maintain and harvest their own plot. One plot, the Stone Soup Sharing plot, is for the community to access. Read more.|
Heritage Fence. Four workshops over 2011 and 2012 demonstrated heritage fence building techniques. The three styles of cedar rail fence provide an attractive enclosure around the community garden. See some photos.
|Park ‘n Pedal. A secured bike cage will make it possible for residents living outside of town to leave their bike at the site for the season. They can then park their cars at the REAL Deal while they use their bike in town.|
|Recycled Junk Art. Six panels of junk art by local artist Val Hudson are displayed on the north exterior wall. Some panels will be removed temporarily in 2016 for repairs. Read more.|
|Mural. An attractive mural by local SFDCI high school students portrays the environmental past, present and future of their community.|
|Rainwater Garden. A rain water garden was established on the property to demonstrate this gardening technique that slows down runoff, allows more rain water to percolate into the ground to be filtered and recharge groundwater, effectively reducing the pollutants that enter our waterways.|
|Thermal Solar Panels. The latest addition to REAL’s Environment Centre is a solar thermal wall at the rear of the REAL Deal store. Two thermal panels on the south wall trap heat that is blown into the building, supplementing the existing heating system. It makes a big difference on cold, sunny winter days. Some interpretive signage will be added in 2016.|
|Workshops. Workshops are offered periodically on topics such as repurposing, energy conservation, urban water protection, and garden issues. These are usually free or very low cost. Watch the events listing on this website for upcoming workshops.|
Features to Come
Additional features are in the planning stages, and will added as funding and circumstances allow:
- Compost demonstration site
- Osprey nest
- Nature walking path and interpretive signage
- Picnic spot
- A wildlife viewing platform
- Video cameras for remote wildlife viewing
How You Can Help
We welcome your input and participation, and invite you to come see the features as they are added. Donations are gratefully accepted; a charitable receipt for income tax purposes can be provided. Find out how to donate.