REAL completed its first Depave Paradise project in 2021. Volunteers participated in removing a section of Daniel Street in front of the Smiths Falls Public Library, and planted two pollinator gardens within that space.
What is Depave? Depave projects are hands-on initiatives that demonstrate how communities can create green spaces to divert water from our sewer systems and allow it to filter into the soil before entering our waterways, keeping our water cleaner. Revegetating the site not only beautifies the space, but provides shade, cooling and habitat for birds, pollinators and animals.
Our Depave project was supported by Green Communities Canada, and funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation and a donation from the late Tom Foulkes. About 60 Depave projects have been completed across Canada since 2012. See some examples.
Town of Smiths Falls. This Depave project coincided with the Town of Smiths Falls development of a Town Square between the town hall and the Smiths Falls Public Library. Central to the greenspace will be a bandstand funded by Tom Foulkes, a former REAL member, and enthusiastic community supporter, who passed away December 2020. Benches, paved pathways and lighting will also be incorporated. REAL will be contributing four native trees to the space, Monarch Way Station status will be pursued for the garden, and a plaque will commemorate the project.
Participants. Volunteers are what make Depave projects special. Community members signed up for one of four shifts on June 19 to break up and remove a 100 square meter area of pavement. Another group came out on July 3 to plant 196 plants and 8 shrubs in the two beds that had been prepared by volunteers the week before.
Check out these videos of our terrific volunteers in action!
Below are some photos of the project. See our Facebook page “REAL – Rideau Environmental Action League” for more.
Before. This block of Daniel Street was not being used much. Town Council passed a motion to close Daniel Street, and barriers were put at either end.
Getting Ready. Public Works removed part of Daniel Street, and left a 100 square metre piece at the Beckwith St. end for us to remove by hand. Lashley and Associates, who designed the Town Square, also did a plan of the two gardens.
Depave Day June 19, 2021. We arranged for four shifts of volunteers to come break up, pry up and removed the pavement.
Preparation for Planting. The Town removed the pavement chunks. The beds were marked, and the one bed dug out, and soil put over the length of Daniel Street. REAL had triple mix brought in from Landscape Products Depot for the two beds. On another day, we took delivery of six boulders and placed them in the beds, as well as a delivery of mulch. Donna and Marje marked the location of the various plants on sticks for the volunteers to follow
Planting Day July 3, 2021. Two shifts of volunteers planted the beds, with Marje and Donna each supervising a bed. It was all mulched and watered thoroughly as well.
A Few Weeks After. The two gardens are doing well, although we have been having a little trouble with aphids on the milkweed. The area surrounding the beds has not been grassed yet. That will have to wait until the construction (paths, bandshell, benches, lighting) is complete.
August 29, 2021
Mid September 2021
Late September 2021